Author's Note: This four-part series will share the commonalities, traits and strategies among successful fitness professionals that carry over to prosperous leaders in any field. The commonalities won't serve as steps, asking you only to put one foot in front of the other. Instead, they'll ask you to challenge convention, to harness and utilize your own power and to recognize that the choices you make in this moment will, in part, determine where you land next week, next month, next decade. We, as fitness professionals, can become the greatest catalysts for change the world has ever seen, and those who connect at a level where excellence meets passion deserve boundless reward.

Behind me, waiting to ride the XLC Extreme Roller Coaster at King's Dominion in Virginia, a thin twenty-ish dude with an Aerosmith t-shirt appeared anxiously excited. His girlfriend looked... well... nauseous. As we neared the front of the line, the nauseous girl pleaded for escape, but Skinny Dude wouldn't hear of it. His urgings were beginning to appear cruel... but in the moment, his argument had some odd logic to it. "Baby, this is an amusement park, and you're going to be amused whether you like it or not!"
When the ride ended, nauseous girl trotted off like a spirited child, and with her hair all messed up, she giggled four words, "Let's do it again!" The lesson? Only a commitment to the enjoyment of the experience can lead to an appreciation of the ride yet to come.

Finding Effortless Prosperity
Your career comes with guaranteed ups and downs. But a commitment to see it through and a mindset of appreciation will ensure true fulfillment. And where such fulfillment meets financial reward, you find effortless prosperity. In order to grasp the concept of "effortless prosperity," think of resistance being the inner voice that almost talked nauseous girl out of experiencing a thrilling ride and Skinny Dude as the voice of determination. At first, the emotional process of working toward the height of the ride is grueling. But once you're in motion, if you enjoy the journey itself, the next hurdle seems not only resistance-free, but thrilling. While we tend to associate prosperity with money, prosperity comes, in great part, from perspective. How sad that so many of us leave the line before even getting on the ride itself. Therefore, to effectively find true prosperity, control over one's attitude and perspective is a prerequisite. These attitudinal perspectives will help to reinforce an appreciation for every experience that awaits you in the course of growing your personal success story.

1. Be a part of something bigger than the job — In college, I worked a part-time job as Quality Control Engineer for an athletic goods company. However, the job was a little less glamorous than the title may sound. Essentially, I laced on their gloves, beat the daylights out of a dummy and then had the quality control inspector check the seams to make sure they held up. "Punching dummies" may not sound like an important task, but my job was of pivotal importance. When I watched Alexis Arguello or "Boom Boom" Mancini fight in championship bouts, I knew I was somehow a player in the event taking place. It may sound silly, but it was my perspective more than the job itself that allowed me to meet boxing legends and to attend some of the most exciting boxing matches of all time. If I was able to find "something bigger" in a job as odd as "punching dummies," you can easily recognize that you're not "servicing
members," "doing assessments" or "prospecting" as much as you're changing lives for the better.

2. Approach the "work" fully engaged — Full engagement is a term utilized by sports psychologist Jim Loehr to describe the state of being physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with the organizational mission. Very simply, it means when you're at work, remain focused on "something bigger" and direct your energies, emotions and thoughts toward being "on."

3. Smile inwardly, radiate outwardly — What's the best way to get someone to smile at you? You know the answer. Smile first. You should also know that physiology dictates emotion every bit as much as emotion dictates physiology. In other words, when you smile, you feel good. Imagine if everyone you came in contact with smiled at you. There's one simple way to make that happen.

4. Recognize and monitor your self talk — "Nobody wants to be bothered" is a sentiment I often hear among professionals who feel they need to search out for interested prospects. "I can't earn a living as a fitness trainer" is another common self-defeating sentiment. When these expressions escape verbally, it's clear an inner voice has been repeating them ad infinitum. Think of a prospective client who repeatedly thinks, "I can't get fit." This thought becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. If "can't" is cemented in the brain as perceived reality, effort becomes energy expended with no hope of payoff. Under those circumstances, nobody would adhere to an exercise routine for any length of time. Change your inner voice, and radically change your outcome.

5. Find a fulfilling balance of reward and energy — Remember, it isn't the absence of energy that will make prosperity seem effortless; it's the enjoyment of the ride. If financial and emotional rewards exceed perceived resistance, effortless prosperity is the outcome. Give your career your all, but ask for what you deserve in terms of compensation and demand that your clients commit to themselves as much as you're going to commit to getting them to their desired destination. An ever-escalating bank account, an endless stream of referrals and the repetitive words, "Thank you," hitting your ears again and again will ensure that you feel wholly fulfilled.

6. Make a difference — We all want to leave our mark. Some people fail to summon up the courage to try, but trying shouldn't be a goal. Commit to make a difference, and if you better only one life in the process, it matters. It really matters.

There are more opportunities than ever, and with a commitment to making a difference, opportunities will find you. I'm simply suggesting you align your heart and your career, and place your focus where the seeds are most likely to bear fruit. When prosperity becomes effortless, you're not the harried professional trying to pay the bills, seeking out the explosive payday; you're the passenger on the roller coaster, and each experience leads to a joyous sensation, emanating in the words, "Let's do it again."
Phil Kaplan is a fitness professional committed to helping personal trainers establish lucrative and rewarding careers. Find a vast resource of fitness truth for consumers and fitness professionals alike at Look out for Part II of this series in the March issue.