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This business coaching lesson teaches about facing and overcoming adversity.

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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1


-Well, you said another statement. You said that you bought the crummy house in the nice neighborhood, the bad house in the good neighborhood. You bought the worst home, let's say, in the nice neighborhood, and now you've turned it into this tropical paradise.

And really, again, you're saying that ties into your mindset of overcoming adversity, that you thought, hey, we could buy this property and turn it into something magical. You didn't have to go find the perfect home. You could build whatever place into that perfect home.

-The foundation and the land is already there, whether it's a home, whether it's your apartment, or whether it's your life. See, the philosophical side, for me, is always about quality of life.

So it's not, we'll buy the good house in the good neighborhood, or will buy the cheap house in the good neighborhood and we'll make the investment. My mind wasn't there. My mind was always based on quality of life-- and has been based on that from I think the day I faced adversity for the first time.

-And the third thing you said that's profound-- I want to go back-- is you say, always moving forward. You never stop. You just keep moving forward. You just keep moving forward. But you said your pattern is you go down to the bottom, and then you move forward? Has that sort of been your pattern, where if it gets bad, once you hit the bottom, you just keep moving forward?

-Well, life takes you to the bottom. Like here, feel this trophy-- my pacemaker.


-So I get a virus in my heart. That's the third thing that happens on the journey of life. And amid the height of my career, I get taken down to the ground.

The way I overcome this injury, to make it from a bedroom to the kitchen, to make a sandwich and the independent, is by taking one breath at a time. If there wasn't the belief that I could take that breath to get from the bedroom to the kitchen, I wouldn't be on the path to recovery today.

So whether-- again, this is unbelievable. So you had a heart virus you said-- a heart virus?

-At the height of my career, I had a 12 mile event in Russia on the Spinning bike. The following weekend I had one in Brazil. The following weekend, 12 miles on the bike in Miami. And then last weekend, to finish the circuit, was in Los Angles at my world headquarters.

We believe from Russia, or from Brazil to Miami, that I got this virus, this idiopathic virus in my heart. And within three months, we were completely done. I was done. The immune system was done, my endurance, my claim to fame as one of the top endurance athletes in the world, finished.

-And just so the Thrivers can understand-- because I mean, I am just in awe of the success in some of the things you've been able to achieve, and you're going to continue to achieve, and you're achieving now. But at the peak-- when you describe the peak of the career there, how many people were using your products at that point, on a daily basis?

-Well, let me sort of preface it. In 1987, I took on the world's toughest, most grueling ultra distance challenge in the world, at the time. It was called The Race Across America. This race was from Las Angles to New York City.

And it was 3,400 miles with no timeouts. So I slept two hours a day for 10 days, which is 18 hours. And I was on the bike for 220 hours.


So if you figure working out three times a week or five times a week, this craziness, this race, is 220 hours with 18 hours sleep. Talk about adversity, talk about facing headwinds in life's dragons in isolation for that amount of time.

When I came back from The Race Across America, it hit me. What hit me in The Race Across America was that I could take the principles that worked for me in The Race Across America and share these principles in a different format.

So I built a stationary bike. I had my friends come over to my house and ride this stationary bike. My wife, Jody, was pregnant with my daughter. So I didn't have to train on the road. I could play on this stationary bike.

And I came up with a name for this program. And I called it Spinning.

CLAY CLARK: Spinning.

-And Spinning became one of the fitness phenomenons in the 90's. It hit 72 countries, about 5 to 8 million people a day participated.


-And it changed the way we talked about fitness.


Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2


-I want to-- I want to take this big-- I mean, now you have five to eight million people a day at that point. Five to eight million people a day are using your product, using your experience. I mean, they're part of the culture. It's awesome.

Now let's go back to you selling Ginsu knives. You're on the street. You're hustling, selling Ginsu knives. Right?


-What's that like, trying to sell a Ginsu knife on the street? I mean, you probably don't want to point it at somebody. I mean, what'd you do? You knock on doors? Did you? How'd you sell knives?

-Walked into a shop, said, "Hi, I'm Johnny. Do you have a few moments? I have a tool.

I have something to show you." Very tough, yet I sold my personality, South African accent, big physique.

I'd been training in the gyms. Sweatshirt, these things weren't common. People in 1979 weren't running around dressed like that.

I was, like, Rocky Balboa, walking into somebody's shop. It was a spectacle just seeing me. I was different.

Plus I had some long hair because I was very passionate about the martial arts. So I had this long hair. And I actually had a little bit of a ponytail. So it was a very unique look for the time.

-Did you get rejected a lot?

-I did.

-I mean, did people ever tell you to "Get out of here. I'm not interested. Go away?"


-And so whether it's selling Ginsu knives, overcoming being robbed, whether it being having, basically, heart disease. It's was a heart infection.


-You've been through it. But you just keep moving forward.

-That's right. Because-- well, because is actually a weak phrase.

-OK, because is weak.

-Because is weak. Because of what? I got distracted.

I was thinking that it's not as much having the adversity. It goes back to believing in yourself. The adversity is one thing.

Rejection is another. Believing in yourself is really important. So it wasn't about the money with the Ginsu knife. It wasn't about the money with spinning. What I was doing was I was focusing on the most important thing I could focus on at the time. And that was my own well being.

-And we're going to have a training on Thrive 15 here, about just believing in yourself. But you're saying that if you don't believe in yourself, if you didn't believe in yourself, you could have fought through that adversity.

-That's absolutely true.

-Johnny, I appreciate you letting me come out here to your dojo. And I realize that aesthetically, I'm bringing the mojo down a little bit when I come into the dojo. I don't have that aura that you have.

But I appreciate you letting me come here. And hopefully some of that'll wear off on me over time here, my friend.

-If you weren't in the dojo with what you have to bring in the dojo, you know why?


-This wouldn't be possible.


-So you make things possible for people that can't make these things possible. You provide the opportunity for somebody like me to be in a situation to have a few minutes to talk to someone else. So actually, when I grow up, I want to be sitting in your chair.

-Hey, thank you so much.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3

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