To be successful in whatever you do you have to be obsessed with it. I will use the fitness industry and my own experience in it as a good analogy of being obsessed with something and how it will ultimately lead to successs. I remember when I came in the fitness industry in mid-2008 and I wanted to make a difference and make a mark in the fitness industry. I didn’t know how I would but I was going to figure it out some way or another. When speaking to decision makers when I first came in the game I was turned down by a quite a few magazines and some of the responses from them were the following: “He doesn’t have that all-American look”, “We can put him in the magazine but I can’t put a black guy on my cover”. “Black covers typically don’t sell very well and we haven’t tried it in a long time.”
“We may have to wait a considerable amount of time since we already put a black person recently on the cover.” All of these emails I saved and I’ve never deleted it because it gave me an incredible chip on my shoulder that I still have today. I thought to myself wow this is going to be very tough to succeed in this industry with those type of responses particularly because there wasn’t really a prominent black male fitness model in the industry. I figured that was my goal was to see if I could break those color barriers that were still out there in the industry and hopefully be that prominent person of color as a male in the fitness game. I knew that if I ever was going to do this that I had to be obsessed with this fitness industry and I really cut out a lot of personal things in my life. And so what did I do? I cut out parties, women, family and basically a real social life for a couple of years because I really was obsessed with succeeding in this fitness industry and I knew that it was absolutely necessary for me to do those things.
I knew that no cover, endorsement contract, feature was going to be dropped on my lap and I was going to have to hustle, beg, climb, scratch and do things outside the box to obtain that type of success. I figured if I could really focus and block everything out from the outside and put my money, time, energy and passion in this fitness industry that I knew I could break that color barrier wide open and be considered one of the best in the world at this. I remember vividly having many sleepless nights trying to figure out what I can do outside the box to succeed in this indsutry.
Sometimes when you are obsessed with something and all your time, money, energy is put in this you can lose a lot during that process whether it be relationships, family, friends, etc. and I can say honestly I’ve lost a little of all this collectively in the process. But when you are obsessed with succeeding sometimes you have to cut off the negative energy if you really want to succeed in life particularly if the odds against you to succeed are slim to none.
When some of the major U.S magazines turned me down when I first came in the game and the reasons had nothing do with physique or looks I said well I am going to be obsessed with putting all my energy in proving those magazines wrong. I remember vividly one of the emails from one of the fitness photographers who were an ethnic photographer that told me I am sorry man for some reason the magazine rarely puts blacks in the magazine or on the cover. He said to maybe when this decision maker retires maybe there will be more opportunities for ethnic models in future for this magazine. This was his email back to me from my first fitness model submission email. I told him point blank in an email in 2008, “Just watch within the next 2 years I am going to be a household name in this fitness industry in the near future and that magazine is going to be very sorry they turned me down.”
Some of those magazines eventually did turn around and gave me that opportunity but it took a lot of hustling, climbing, scratching, begging and more importantly an undeniable obsession in putting all my time in the fitness industry with the hopes of hopefully having some prominent success. The moral of this article is to really succeed in anything in life at the highest level of your profession you have to have an obsession and sometimes in that obsession you have to sacrifice a lot of things in your life that are enjoyable to get to that ultimate goal. I can honestly say if I wasn’t obsessed with this fitness industry I never would have made it nor had any success. What led to my obsession was proving everybody that turned me down that they made a big mistake and that an African-American fitness model can succeed at the absolute highest level in the fitness industry.
If you use examples of some of the best athletes in the world such as Jerry Rice and Michael Jordan who were the best in their respective sports they were obsessed with their craft. Jerry was obsessed with football and that obsession led to him being the greatest receiver ever in the NFL. Michael Jordan was obsessed with basketball and that obsession led to him being the greatest basketball player ever.
To succeed at the highest level in your profession you have to be absolutely obsessed with it and I can guarantee you that obsession will eventually lead to great success. After 3 years of landing covers and writing fitness articles I was blessed to land my own tv show called, “Whole Body Boot Camp” and it will launch very soon on the Health and Wellness Channel. The press release to this tv deal is http://www.lifelovelongevity.com/?p=171 If I wasn’t obsessed with succeeding in this industry and putting all my money, time and energy in this I can honestly say I never would have landed this tv show.
Great article Obi! So glad you posted it! I was just thinking the other night “Am I too old to be STARTING my fitness career now??” Then I thought ” Cool maybe I could be the oldest to start their career and still be doing it in my 50s!”
What do you think you did that was so out of the box that made you so successful… other than being obsessed??lol
Thanks Healther for those nice comments!
AWESOME…. when the world turns around to you and says ‘you can’t’ Obi turns around and says ‘watch me!!!’
A fantastic, inspirational message – PRESS ON!!! xxx
Thanks for the kind words Lauren!