David Osgathorp is the founder of “Can Do Health & Fitness” and works with Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team as a human performance coach.
Two years ago David contacted me because he was on the brink of selling his personal training business due to exhaustion. He wasn’t making enough money, felt dissatisfied with the work, and felt trapped.
Two years later his personal training studio has been voted “Fitness Team of the Year” and he donates 5% of the profits to a charity inspiring young people from under privileged backgrounds. He has also just published his first book, “The Trusted Trainer”, and last year was able to take a full 8 consecutive weeks of holiday from his business to sail, write and reflect on the new opportunities that were coming his way. One of them was the role at Red Bull Racing as their human performance coach.
We have worked with each other during much of this period and here are his thoughts on how coaching has helped him gain a different perspective and better results.
Where were you before you started coaching with Johnny?
Before I started coaching with Johnny I had been running my business for 9 years and felt lost and exhausted. I was desperate for the business to be successful, but had no real idea of what success looked like. Each time there was a problem I would simply work harder and take on more responsibility. Leading a business can be very lonely because there are so few people who truly understand what it is like.
On the outside it looked like the business was doing well, but there were a number of big problems that I was struggling to address alone.
What was the moment when you knew you needed to start working with Johnny?
I guess I started to think coaching may be an option for me due to the loneliness of running a business. As I mentioned before, so few people actually “Got” what it was like to be your own boss and have to take responsibility for so many things and people.
I had worked with another coach before meeting Johnny, and didn’t really feel as though they understood the day to day challenges of running a small business. They seemed very keen on labelling me as having a certain problem and then trying to “fix” it with a model. I never felt as though they truly understood the challenges I faced and as a result never seemed to get results with them.
Eventually I connected with Johnny and immediately felt that he understood the challenges that Entrepreneurs face. His coaching was simple, direct and had immediate results for me.
Right from the first conversation I felt as though I was making progress.
What were the early wins?
I remember the very first call we had where Johnny asked me to describe the very worst case scenario I could face with my business. As I described it, I remember thinking this was actually the best case scenario! It felt so freeing to realise that I could let go of the business and get my life back.
It helped me realise that my identity was about more than the business, and that the business was what I did, not who I was.
That conversation also gave me a real vision of who I was, and ultimately what I wanted. The business and work became the means rather than the end.
This was a powerful thought for me. I’d never really thought of it that way before.
What differences can you see in the long term?
As I began to let go of more of the business I realised that it started to change. I started to see it as something that could serve others rather than just me.
As I began to risk letting go of more of the business I started to see some bigger opportunities move into the space I had created.
The whole focus of my life, and consequently business, changed.
Rather than trying to inspire other people all the time, I focused on keeping myself inspired. At times, this was risky.
I subsequently chose to let go of a number of trainers that were not inspiring me, but simply draining me. Those staff were creating £7000 a month income for me. That’s how seriously I took staying inspired.
I remember Johnny asking me, “Are you leading or dragging your team?”
That stuck with me. I had been constantly trying to drag people along in my business but this behaviour wasn’t inspiring me or them!
I also remember realising that I was actually hiding behind my business. I was using the business as an escape rather than a means to serve.
I have now let go of the day to day management of the business to focus on my consultancy work with Red Bull Racing. I’m inspired again and I hope I am now more able to inspire others.
I don’t think these opportunities would have come along without me letting go of the business.
I realised that the skills that had helped me build the business to where it was, were also the skills that were stopping me grow it, and myself, any further.
What do you think you would have done differently if you weren’t working with a coach?
Without the insights I gained form coaching I guess I would have continued to see the problems as being with the business rather than with me.
As a consequence of this I would probably have looked for more investment and have got even more deeply involved with the business.
The business may have improved slowly with more capital but I’m not sure where the rest of my life would have ended up!
Before I started working with Johnny I solved every problem by simply giving more and working harder.
Now I solve problems by thinking differently.
I’m making more impact with less stress this way. I’m also having more fun.
Why do you think that coaching works so well for you?
Before working with Johnny I would spend a lot of time reacting to problems. A regular coaching session gave me more time to reflect and think about challenges rather than simply make snap decisions.
I also really appreciated the support from someone 100% on my team.
I hadn’t realised just how lonely it could be running your own organisation and the support was invaluable.
Lastly the accountability I received made sure that words turned into action. I got more done in weeks than I had previously done in months. Not only that, I was working on much of the stuff that I had previously been ignoring or oblivious too. I can’t recommend working with Johnny highly enough. He has the ability to understand the real cause of your struggles and challenge you with simple but incredibly effective techniques that create an immediate change in your outlook, your happiness and your results!