This hidden "spin cycle" high performers fall into

“Wow! You look amazing!”

It was said at least 5 times in 10 minutes while I waited in the lobby of a popular salon on a sunny Saturday morning - pre-lockdown and a decade ago.

The average client comes into the salon every six weeks and the average diet and fitness regimen starts to show results at about the same time, so...

The ambient music was replaced by clients in varying states of shock and awe blurting out the now de facto greeting, “You look amazing!” at the salon owner when he'd appear to walk customers back for their service.

“What’s your secret?” I asked.

“I hired personal trainer.” He replied.

It looked like he’d hired a magician.

It's not like he'd looked bad before, but now he looked like a Greek God.

As he opened the door for me, his now much bigger muscles rippled under a new shirt which he probably had to buy to accommodate his new personal trainer-induced form. Wow.


Leading a career strategy workshop at big company you've probably done business with, 40 or so recently promoted managers quietly worked through an exercise I gave them.

Suddenly, a young woman sitting in the front row looked up and said out loud to no one in particular:

“I wanted to be a marine biologist!”

This was not a room full of marine biologists or even close.

It was a room full of conventional professionals with conventional certifications on a clearly marked corporate path.

Her declaration sparked a discussion among the group.

She said her parents gave her three colleges to choose from and "approved" three possible majors.

They all led the way to formulaic, dependable career paths.

She’d met every challenge and now had a good job with a big company.

But it wasn't where she wanted to be.

The “How did I get here?” epiphany is usually followed by a question:

“Can I fix this?”

You can.

Fair warning: this is where the death by spin cycle yawns before you.

And many a great talent has fallen in.


When you begin working with a personal trainer for the first time, chances are you'll hear one word a lot in the first few sessions and then never hear it again.

The word?


You were holding your breath and didn't realize it. It's a common thing.

You can imagine how limiting holding your breath during workout is, yet until someone points it out, you don't realize it's one reason things were so hard.

After hearing, “Breathe...” a few times, you not only stop breath holding, you become aware of your breath and use it to your advantage.

The professional version of holding your breath is...

Mimicking. Copying. Reverse-engineering.

Because you’re smart.

You’re problem solver.

You think," why do I need to pay someone to count my jumping jacks?"

You can figure it out all on your own!

You see a profile or a bio you like, you re-purpose what resonates and leave out what you think doesn't matter.

In that spin cycle of "I'll just figure it out" you lose time and opportunity and something even more fleeting and precious, motivation.

Here's why you spin:

Mimic misses the meaning and people can tell when you're just going through the motions.


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