My Own Path to Mastery

Upon reflection this morning, I’ve figured that in the the areas that I have MASTERY, this is the process I continually go through and repeat…


1) STUDY. Most often and effectively with a mentor who guides me through the process.


2) APPLICATION. I go out and use it, and as a natural consequence, get results. Some great, some not as great.


3) STUDY AGAIN. I review my results and, most effectively with a mentor, adjust my plan for the next application.


4) APPLY AGAIN. I go out and use it, and as a natural consequence, get results. Some great, some not at great.


…and so on.


Here’s where I have found I’m less effective, and have a level of competence:


1) STUDY: usually myself or with an “info product,” a low end online subscription program, or something like this

2) APPLICATION: go out and try to make it work

3) APPLICATION: try again

4) APPLICATION: try again… and so on.


And here’s where I found I get NOTHING DONE:

1) STUDY: read a book, watch a free webinar, read a website, because with all the information on the internet I can “do it myself”

2) STUDY MORE: keep collecting more information

3) STUDY EVEN MORE: I’ll get it one day because I need to “get all the info”

…and so on.



I don’t know if this is helpful to anyone else, but it sure was helpful to me.


Now to find a ukulele teacher…

Lessons from Having a 21-Year Old Cat

I have a cat named chocolate.  This dude is 21 years old!

I was at the vet yesterday and I asked them how old their oldest pet is.  They said 22.  So my boy is almost a record holder!

There are a few things he’s got going for him that have led to his long life:

  • He’s Siamese
  • He eats 3 shrimp a day
  • He’s treated well, not spoiled
  • He goes to the vet for regular check ups

The same thing can help keep your clients a long time.

He’s Siamese

A Siamese cat, genetically, tends to live longer.  Chocolate has this advantage built into his genes.

OK you don’t need Siamese or Thai clients… but what you DO want are the best customers (we call them students).  This is client selection.  When you know exactly who your ideal client it, they are much more likely to stick with you longer.

All clients are not equal.  If you just sign up any person who writes you a check, you may find that they may not be the right fit for your program.

When I was a younger business owner, I took students into my martial arts school.  I taught primarily families: usually 2 parents and their kids.  On occasion I’d get the young 20’s guy who wants to take martial arts.  And sure I could sell them on the initial membership but retention on these guys was always abysmal.  Not because they weren’t cool guys, or that my program was not good… it was that we just weren’t a good fit for one another.

Get clear on who your ideal clients are, and when someone comes to your door, you’ll know whether they are a good fit or not.  This is dramatically help your retention.

He eats 3 shrimp a day

So Chocolate, since we got him in Thailand, has eaten pretty well.  The village we lived in had a farmer’s market every Tuesday night, and one of the stalls sold fresh fish.  My mother bought some for dinner one night, and Chocolate wouldn’t stop following her around.  It turned out that this little cat LOVED these fish!  So every Tuesday Mom would get fish for dinner, and a fish for him.

Today, he’s not eating fresh fish but we have moved him to frozen shrimp.  Yeah, the same kind from the grocery store seafood section.  And it’s not just any old shrimp, it’s Argentinian wild-caught shrimp.

What’s important here is that he has a high-protein diet, which is what cats need.  And he’s had this for most of his 2 decades.

Your program should be the same way.  Are you giving your clients what they need?  And this is real substance.  Are you giving them what they truly need to be successful working with you.  This comes down to one simple word: results.  If they came for fitness, are they getting more strong and less fat?  If they came for confidence, are they showing that?  If they came of better grades, is your program teaching this and are their test results better?

The true secret to retention is progress in the core areas of competence they need.  Make sure they get it.

He’s well-loved, but not spoiled

There’s a lot of talk about the “wow” experience for your customers, and some of that comes in the form of sending them presents, cards, gifts, and things like that.

This is great!

But if the core areas of competence aren’t being met, then these aren’t that important.

Could you imagine if I fed Chocolate only kitty treats, and not good quality protein?

He DOES get the occasional treat, we also make sure that we don’t give him too many.

Same goes with your clients.  A WOW experience needs to be tempered, or else the “wow” goes away.  If your clients expect a WOW all the time (and this is not to say you shouldn’t have a high standard of service), then a WOW is no longer a WOW… it’s mundane.

Under promise and over deliver part of the time, so that, when those occasional hiccups DO occur in service delivery (which they will), you still are able to deliver with your high standard.

He goes to the vet for regular check ups

It’s not enough that I just feed Chocolate good stuff, brush him, and take care of him.  I need to make sure he’s all good and healthy.  He goes to the vet for a check up regularly.  This way, if something WAS to come up, I could address it.

What about your clients?  How often are you checking up with them, in a formal way?  Reviewing their goals and outcomes, their progress so far.  Oftentimes our clients and students are shy to tell you when things are not going well… but trust me, they won’t be shy about telling other people! 

Be sure to stay ahead of the game with them, keep them moving forward, and help them progress.  If there’s anything “wrong,” address it ASAP.  Get it out of the way so you can do what you were meant to do together… make magic happen for them!

And who knows, maybe you’ll have a client for 21 years!

No-Stress Scheduling Hack

As part of having a stress-free life, looking at how you structure your day is one of the most important things to do.

When your school gets busier, and you have more people coming in, or you’re spending more time communicating with your students, you may (and probably will) find yourself setting more appointments and quite possibly bumping up against each other.

Have you ever experienced this (or been in a class like this)?  You start class.  Then for some reason, you go over by 5 minutes.  No big deal, it’s only 5 minutes.  Then you start the next class, and you go 5 minute over there too.  But it’s not 5 minutes now… the NEXT class is actually TEN minutes late.  And it happens over and over.

Yeah…me too!

So ONE solution (and much touted) is simply to STICK TO THE SCHEDULE.  If you’ve got 60 minutes, you have 60.  Either a) you gotta become more efficient, or b) you gotta cut off the appointment.

A) definitely makes sense.  But b?  How does THAT help build relationships?

Knowing myself, I learned that one of my most powerful strengths is conversation and taking with my students and clients.  So I knew that I could teach an intro lesson in 45 minutes, but if I signed them up, it might be as long as an hour, maybe even 75 minutes.

I remember a consultant teaching me that “it’s great to make your next appointment wait, because that makes you seem like you’re in demand!”  Sure… but it also results in people getting pissed off and leaving!  (He would give the example of being at the doctor’s office and having to wait… but don’t you get irritated at the doctor’s as well?)

So I added one simple thing to my appointments, called “fluff time.”  Fluff time is a buffer of time that can serve for me to “go over” my scheduled appointment time if necessary.  Or, if I don’t, give me time to do less important tasks.

Here’s an example.  When I ran a martial arts school, I would typically book appointments on the hour, so at 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

But if my 5pm appointment signed up I would typically not start my 6pm until 615.  And if I had a 7pm, I usually ended up calling them telling them to come at 730.  (better than making them wait, but still inconvenient).

So instead, at a 30 minute buffer of “fluff time.”

Appointments at 4:30, 6PM, and at 730PM.

Sure, you have 2 less appointment spots in the books each night.  But because you have more time in between, there’s no way of being stressed because you’re running “late,” or making the other appointment wait.

If you start to notice that you keep all of your appointments under 75 minutes, you can book them at 1:15 blocks:

4:00, 5:15, 6:30, 7:45PM

That recovers one more appointment spot.  By the way, if you’re booking 4 appointments a night, you’re likely to sign up at least one person a day!

This also works well for your daily appointments.

For example, I take calls or appointments on 90 minute blocks.  I start my day at 6AM.

6, 7:30, 9, 10:30, noon, 1:30, 3, 4:30, 6

Almost all of my activities during the day fall in this structure.

Example: this morning, I need to:

  • Drop the cat at the vet
  • Work out with my trainer
  • Take 2 client calls
  • Do one Podcast Interview

With these major appointments, I block them out.  Now in the “fluff time” I can schedule other things I need to do that I know won’t take long, such as shower, make lunch, etc.

7:30AM Take Cat to Vet (15 mins)

9:00AM Work out with Trainer (60 min)

10:30AM Client Call (60 min)

12:00PM Revolution Call (60-75 min)

1:30PM Client Call (60-75 min)

3:00PM nothing scheduled

4:30PM Podcast Interview

I know that I’ll need to shower-20 min (10AM) have lunch-20 or 30 min (11:30AM), pick up the cat-30 mins to talk to the vet (most likely between 2PM and 4:30PM.

This has removed the “rush” of going from appointment to appointment, or at the very least, needing to make anyone else late.

So here are some action steps for you:

  1. Daytime appointments: 90 minute blocks.  Set a schedule where you, for the most part, put your appointments on this schedule.  Client calls, doctor appointments, whatever.  Sticking to this plan may be tough at first but is very doable.

Example: 9AM, 10:30AM, Noon, 1:30PM, 3PM

2) Evening appointments in your business.  These blocks will depend on how long you typically need.  Even though some appointments are shorter and some are longer, block off enough time that both are covered with some fluff.

If you KNOW your appointments are rarely over 45 minutes, book 60 minute blocks (4,5,6,7,8)

60 minute appointments, book 75 minute blocks (4, 5:15, 6:30, 7:45)

75 minute appointments, book 90 minute blocks (4:30, 6:00, 7:30)

Notice on the 75 minute blocks, I centered around the prime time of 6-6:30.  We want to have that as an available time as most of our clients can do that time,

In terms of class scheduleing, you can do the same thing with a little fluff time as well.  Keep in mind that for the most part, a 200 person school can be supported with 20 classes a week (4 classes a night M-F or 5 classes a night M-Th)

If you’re running 45-50 minute classes (recommended) you can run them 4,5,6,7,8, or on the 1/2 hours with a little time in between.

Do You Treat Your Business Like Tinder?

Lately I have seen a LOT of posts about “dismissing students,” “kicking kids out of my program” and “asking people to leave.”

And while this really is a sign of having an handle on your business, I gotta ask…

“How’d you get there in the first place?”


It’s like going on a date (or, a bunch of dates) and telling the people you’re going out with “hey, this sucked, let’s not do this.”  Or ending the date early.  I mean, yeah, if the date is really that terrible, feel free to end the suffering.

But it seems that business owners are treating their businesses like Tinder.  You know, the dating app where you swipe left and right if you like someone or not, and if you match, then you get to talk.


Well, here’s how a lot of guys run tinder:

Right swipe, Right swipe, Right swipe, Right swipe, Right swipe, Right swipe, Right swipe, Right swipe, Right swipe, Right swipe, Right swipe, Right swipe.


Let’s get as MANY people in as possible, then weed them out.

Which may be GREAT if you have a lot of time, money and resources.  But if you get a lot of matches, and a lot of dates, it’s also very likely that you’re going to go out with guys or gals that, with just a little bit of research and time, you would have easily found weren’t a good fit for you.

Have you ever been on a date and been like “damn, this is NOT what I expected!”  With a bit of time and energy you could have avoided the encounter completely!

Now what, Alex, does this have to do with business??


If you’re cramming people onto your membership roster, taking presales by the boat load and enrolling people at low cost to “get them in” then a simple natural consequence is that a number of those people are NOT going to be a good fit (financially, culturally, whatever).

And while YES our business is a numbers game, we DO also have to trade other currencies, namely time and emotional energy.

Instead of messing around with those “trouble clients” (aka MFers), why not avoid them completely?

Just like on Tinder, you can have a bit of a screening process…

In business, we can look them up on Facebook, or see what they’re up to.

In business, you can talk to them, have them actually come in, meet them, and be sure it works.

In business, you can control who registers with you by INVITING THEM, and NOT having an online registration.  Hey… I get online registration is cool and I LOVE getting money online. (and seeing my lights turn green).  But if someone pays you money, no matter HOW MUCH it is, you are still OBLIGATED to serve them.  That’s called… service.


Let’s put it another way… if you invite ANYONE who looks at your Tinder profile to set up a date with you, then guess what… YOU OWE IT TO THEM TO GO ON IT.  Even if they’re ugly, unattractive, boring, or completely opposite from who your ideal date is.

If you take money from ANYONE who wants to frequent your business, then guess what… YOU OWE IT TO THEM TO SERVICE THEM.  Even if they’re the biggest MFer on the face of the planet.


So the solution?  Stop taking money from MFers.  Engage with your prospects, talk to them, be selective.


Hey… its very possible that by being selective you’re not going to “build an empire.”  But you might just end up building Dubai.

Pre-Travel Rituals

Do you travel much?  Then you have probably dealt with one (or more) of the following:

  • Scrambling around to get packed
  • Getting frustrated because you have a refrigerator full of food that will spoil
  • Or, you get home and there is a fridge full of rotten food!
  • Dealing with a messy house when you come home
  • Getting home from vacation and feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation
  • Feeling stress during the last few days of your trip

Have you ever felt any of these?  Me too.

I travel quite a bit, oftentimes 2 or weeks out of the month.  And over the years, I’ve come up with some “Pre-Travel Rituals” that help me AVOID these feelings of overwhelm associated with traveling.


Laundry and Packing Cubes

Three days before traveling (or at the minimum, one full day before), do your laundry.  This way you’ve got everything you need for your trip clean.  Go ahead and start putting stuff away that you want to bring… this way you don’t have to worry about it being dirty because you wore it the day before you travel.

I really like packing cubes.  You can get them from Amazon Basics or eBags.  They are little nylon zip up bags you can put your clothes in to fit in your suitcase more easily.  They make your packing a LOT easier!


Taming the Fridge

The week before you travel, you’ll want to start considering your food.  When you shop, start cutting down on the perishables like fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy.  Figure out your usage and start reducing your shopping for that shopping trip.  If you’re eating out a lot, consider that you may have leftovers.

I personally like to have an almost-empty fridge when I leave (hey, consider I’m a single guy).  The only things lefts in there are non-perishables.

You can also cut your grocery buying and get prepared meals from your grocery store or have them delivered in from a meal service.  While these DO cost more ($6-$9 per meal) consider the cost of wasted food that goes bad when you’re out of town for a few days or a week.


Avoiding “Mess Stress”

There’s this interesting phenomenon called “end of vacation anxiety.”  (also known as end-of-trip anxiety).

It goes kind of like this: near the end of your trip, you start to get anxious or stressed out.  Oftentimes you’re not sure why.

Here’s the culprit: if you’ve left your house in disarray; with laundry to be done, dishes needing to be washed, or a mess to deal with; somewhere in your unconscious mind, you’re already thinking about what you have to look forward to: cleaning the house.

This causes the last day or two of your trip to be more stressful, as your focus is divided.

A simple way to overcome this is to leave the house in order before you leave.  Now it doesn’t matter if YOU do it or someone else does it.  It’s totally fine to have a cleaning service tidy up your home before (or during) your trip.

Because my place is relatively manageable, I do my pre-trip cleanings myself.  This includes:

  • Laundry being done (in conjunction with packing above)
  • All dishes being done and put away
  • Trash taken out (ain’t nothing as disgusting as coming home to trash you forgot to remove that got to fester for a week)
  • Floors swept and carpets vacuumed
  • Bed linens changed and bath towels replaced

It’s almost like you’re feeling you’re coming home to a hotel!  This gives you the chance to relax and unwind after the inevitable toll taken on your body from a trip in the car or on airplanes.


BONUS: Skip the store

Want a bonus to take one more thing off your plate when you return home?  Come home to groceries already packed for you.  There is NOTHING like having to deal with Trader Joe’s or other grocery store on the weekend.  And when you DO come home and have an empty refrigerator, it IS great to have fresh food.

Many supermarkets now have a service that, for a few dollars, you can pre-order your groceries and have them ready for you to pick up.  This saves your the time and effort of dealing with shopping after a long trip.  You can also have groceries delivered to your doorstep with Amazon’s variety of offerings, or other similar services.

I’m lucky enough to have a great neighbor, Kelly, who usually fills my fridge with the basics whenever I return from a trip!  If you have someone minding your house while you’re gone, this can be a HUGE help.



So next time you travel, remove the stress and anxiety in the back of your mind with a little planning, and enjoy your trip even more!

What You Do Is Pretty Damn Cool

Having the opportunity to meet new people and get to know them, I’ve been asked “what exactly do you do?”

Back when I ran a martial arts business, I pretty much played it off… “I teach martial arts.”  It wasn’t a big deal to me.

Key phrase: “to me.”

EVERYONE whom I met thought that was the awesomest thing in the world.

Today, I typically talk on the phone all day, or chat on Facebook.  But when I look at what I REALLY have done over the past few days, I:

* Have helped seven people become best-selling authors

* Helped bring a complete rebrand of a martial arts organization to life

* Witnessed my clients have HUGE impact on their communities and businesses

* Met with the leaders of a WORLD CLASS Krav Maga organization

* Coached a gentleman who is transitioning from something he did for money to something that he is PASSIONATE about

* Presented to an elite group of entrepreneurs who are going to have a huge IMPACT on their markets

* watched one business owner who was struggling really build momentum to take her school forward to where she wants it

* helped strategize with a gentleman chasing not just his business dreams but his LIFE and relationship goals

* all while still going out to dinner and hanging out with friends, and enjoying the chill lifestyle I lead

I do some pretty damn cool stuff.  I just didn’t take the time to stop and recognize it.

So… what is it that YOU do that is pretty damn cool?

“INVESTMENT” – IS IT WORTH IT? (aka “are you worth it?”)


(aka “are you worth it”)

Are you concerned about paying $500, $1000, $2000, $5000, $10000, $20000+ on consulting or training?

Then read on…

When I was 19 or 20, I attended my first business training seminar, which was $199 (maybe 249?). I paid it out of my own paycheck from the martial arts school I was working at as a part time program director. (probably making $600/month). I took that information and knowledge and went to WORK to implement it and get a return on my investment, and soon made the decision that I wanted to own a business.

When I was 21 my instructor / “boss” offered to let me attend a higher end business training, at an investment that was far more than anything I’d paid for and close to a SEMESTER of in-state tuition at UNC Chapel hill – $2495, and I had to pay 1/2. I took that information and knowledge and went to WORK to implement it and get a return on my investment, and was able to start my business off on the right foot to be making MORE than I had previously thought was even possible.

As time went by, I found myself making investments into myself and my business that were FAR higher than my peers, and many people thought I was “crazy to pay that kind of money.”

Between 2010 and 2012 I invested over $25000 in my personal development. The result was an understanding of who I am, what my true gifts are to this world, and a honing of my my skills. These led to major shifts in my career and my relationships.

(now THIS was craziness… “why would you pay $5000+ to attend a ‘seminar?’ Especially one where you walk on fire?! They’re just trying to take your money.”)

In 2013 I ALMOST paid $15k for a training with a dude who, frankly, reminds me of a slick used car salesman. But I’m glad I didn’t. Because a few months later I invested $50k to be in a mastermind after listening to a “teleseminar” and having a phone call (in an old beat up truck I was borrowing, over labor day no less). Why such a ballsy move? Because I believed 110% that with this man’s help, I could build the business I really really wanted. And I’ve invested another $30k+ in this mentor.

What’s the point?

I’ve invested a DAMN lot of money in my development one the past few years. I’ve gone from working in a career I was great at, but unfulfilled, to being able to help people every day.

I’ve gone from making literally $500 a month, to growing a business that earns me a magnificent income, but more importantly, a lifestyle that I enjoy and love.

And I couldn’t do it alone.

You can buy online programs, or download them from the torrents, or collect all the free info, or attend every free “master class” out there… but unless you are INVESTED in yourself to make your life magnificent, it will be a waste.

I hired the FINEST mentors, surrounded myself with the GREATEST peers, and immersed myself in environments that helped lead me to my own version of success.

People ask me “how did you do it?” or “how can I do that too?”

Here’s the answer: If there was something I KNEW was right, but I was afraid, or I wasn’t sure if I could “afford it,” I did it.

(btw If I WASN’T sure, I didn’t do it)

I invested in myself, THROUGH trainings with Tony Robbins, Steve Linder, and Kevin Nations.

And I got to work. To transforming me. To transforming my business.

If you KNOW that a training or program that is $500, $1000, $2000, $5000, $10000, $20000+ is RIGHT for you, and you are committed to getting to work… DO IT.

If you’re not willing to get to work… then forget it, and find something that will work for you… or just stay where you are (that’s okay too).

Just Because It Feels Better Doesn’t Mean It’s Better

Sometimes you don’t have to do anything… and things get better by themselves.

Other times… you don’t do anything… and things get worse.
(aka take action NOW)

Three years ago I tore my hamstring at a martial arts event I was attending. It hurt like HELL. I could barely walk, especially on the plane ride home that same day.

And… right at that moment I thought that I needed to have it looked at. But as time went by, it felt BETTER. I put some arnica gel on it, the color went from BLACK to a blue, then back to normal.

And it was all better… all by itself! Right?


Three years later, and the thing still hurts like hell when I get into intense kicking, or running, or legs day. And it’s taking MORE WORK and MORE THERAPY to fix it today that it would have been three years ago.

Same goes in your business, or your relationships, or your finances.

If things ain’t right… DO SOMETHING. Read a book, take some action, find a mentor, make a sale. TIME WILL GO BY AND IT WILL FEEL BETTER. Just because it feels better doesn’t mean it’s better!

If your business isn’t where you want it, and you feel an URGE to do something about it… DO IT. Before it gets worse.

If your body isn’t feeling right and you feel an URGE to do something about it… DO IT. Before it gets worse.

If your finances are where you want them to be and you feel an URGE to do something about it… DO IT. Before it gets worse.

And then… you won’t just FEEL better… you’ll BE better.

The Moment

It’s in our moments of decision that our destiny is shaped.”
– Tony Robbins

It was something like 1998 at a ATA Regional Tournament hosted by Master Jewell Allen.  I had been living overseas in Thailand, and every summer I travelled back to NC for the holiday.  I was entering my senior year of high school, with plans to go into Foreign Relations of Economics.  You know, serve our world through international politics.

And Claire changed that all.

Claire was 5 years old, a “tiny tiger.”  She did her taekwondo moves, probably at the most 8 or 9.  And every kid who attended that tournament got a big giant trophy, probably bigger than her.  She did her thing, got her trophy, and ran up to me.

She said, “Mr. Changho, it’s because of your help that I won this trophy!”


That was the moment.


It was the moment that changed it all.  The moment that I said to myself, “no matter what, no matter where I am, what I do, where I’m living, I’m going to be doing martial arts.  Because THIS is the impact I’m having on kids, and on the world.”

I had no idea I would run a school, have leadership in a chain of schools, go on to help martial arts school owners life magnificent lives while doing what they love to do.  But I knew that I had a God-given purpose to impact the world through martial arts.  And it all came together on that day.


So… what was YOUR moment?

If You Want Them As A Client… Take Their Damn Money!

My friend just called me on the phone.  “You got a minute?”

“I was just in this CrossFit gym.  There were three of us in the lobby.  One person just wanted a brochure, and two of us were there to sign up.”

“They got my money, but the other guy wanted to go ahead and pay and sign up, but wanted to start in 2 weeks because he’ll be out of town.  But he wanted to go ahead and commit to starting… just not be billed for a couple of weeks.  But they said they couldn’t figure out how to do that… so he left.  He was pretty disappointed.”

[insert the emoji with the big WOW eyes]


If you have a person that you want to be your client, and they want to give you money… TAKE IT.

See, here’s what has a VERY good chance of happening: The dude is going to totally forget about CrossFit after his 2 week vacation, or life is going to get in the way, or he’ll just get busy.  And he won’t sign up.

Sure, he MIGHT come back.  But if this box had actually taken his money and gotten him enrolled, he would DEFINITELY be coming back.  The dude was TOTALLY committed to signing up today, with money in hand.  To not be able to take his payment and defer his membership is asinine.

The guy left disappointed.  He had in his mind the excitement of being able to sign up for something, something he had been looking forward to starting in a couple of weeks.  That disheartening might prevent him from coming back.


Here’s what the box COULD have done:

  1. Asked for a post-dated check.
  2. Had him fill out all the paperwork, written the CC# at the top, and ran it when he comes back.
  3. At the very least, filled out all the paperwork, scheduled his foundations class, and ran his card when he’s back.

If that guy signs up, and lets say stays fro just 6 months, at $140/month they’re making $840.

So $840 might have walked out of that door all disappointed.


The question is… how many times is that happening at that box each month?  How many people are they disallowing to enroll because of a lack of capacity to take payment or enrollment?


And furthermore… are there any ways YOUR business has reflections like this one that you can improve to make sure $840 doesn’t walk out of YOUR door?