What Happens When Gym Owners Let Emotions (Like Fear, Hope) Guide Decisions?

by | Apr 27, 2023 | Coaches Corner, Fitness Business Owner, Leadership | 0 comments

(Last Updated On: March 14, 2024)

Are you letting fear (or other emotions…like hope) guide the decisions you’re making in your business?

As always, who better to ask than actual certified Fitness Business Coaches?

This topic came up as a part of a discussion in our weekly Success Coaches meeting this week.  We were discussing some struggles we’re seeing with hiring recently, and found a common theme. 

The issues we’re seeing gym owners have right now seem to be situations where they are letting emotion, primarily fear, heavily influence their decision-making.

So the Success Coaches have some insight to offer you as to how you can overcome that to make good, sound decisions that move your business forward.

Asa: Many times we see fear creep in and business owners make emotionally based decisions to 1) hire people who do not meet their qualifications and expectations based upon staffing scarcity, 2) deviate from your pricing structure just to nail that sale, 3) allow staff members to take advantage of time off or deviate from expected protocols in order to retain them, etc., etc.  The problem is if you continue this cycle you are going to wind up with so many holes in your bucket that it’s going to burst and lead to burnout.  

The first step is to acknowledge the driver of the fear based decisions.  Are these decisions based on 1) fear of losing finances, 2) fear of losing staff, 3) fear of not being liked, 4) fear of conflict?  Maybe a combination of a few of those.  

Then the next step is to look at your protocols already established within the business, for example new client pricing, new hire qualifications, staff expectations, etc. and be sure that with your decision making process you are adhering to these protocols.  OR if these are NOT established you need to begin the process of creating these and communicating them to your team.

Luke: I often see situations where emotions find their way into business decisions. On the surface, it makes sense, right? We care about our businesses, our clients and our team members…a lot. And a lot of the time, the way we feel influences what we choose to do. There are many times that is and can be a positive thing. But if you make your decisions based on emotion without including logic or reason, you can be handcuffed by the choices you make. And that will slow down your growth and drain your mental energy way faster than taking your time and making good, sound decisions.  

Emotional decision making can look like signing a lease that’s a little too expensive and a little too big, but hoping that you’ll grow into it faster than your proforma indicates you will. Or another example I see so often is hanging onto that staff member that you know just isn’t a good fit because you’re afraid you won’t be able to replace them (sound familiar??).  

It can be really challenging to put those emotions aside and approach the decision with logic first. This is one of the many reasons that having a coach can be so valuable. 

Sometimes you need someone to help you remove or separate the emotion (or at least help you see where you’re letting emotion drive the decision). I find the best way to do this is to 

1) take your time making a decision. Give it the thought and attention that it warrants. Taking a few days to sleep on it, give it some dedicated thought and have a conversation or two about it is super helpful. 

2) Start your decision-making process out with logic and then give the emotions you’re feeling some attention. 

I think it would be unrealistic (or even unfair) to expect that decisions shouldn’t be affected by emotion at all and I’m actually not suggesting that. But I do think you need to recognize your emotions and be sure you’re aware of how they are impacting your decision making process. 

Pamela: Removing emotion from decision making as an entrepreneur is challenging but also necessary in order to make decisions that are best for the future of the business. 

Since this isn’t the easiest thing to do without having reps under your belt, it’s often helpful to know and review your Long Term Vision on a regular basis, and to have your Core Values clearly written. You can often use these two to help guide you in your decision making. 

Asking questions like, “Does this support where I want my business to be in two years?” “Do the actions of this person align with our Core Values?” They can be really tough questions to ask, with even more challenging answers to honestly give, but doing so can prevent making decisions that move you backward in your fitness business. 

Hesitating to let go of an employee who does the opposite of your Core Values on a regular basis can start to change the culture of your team and ultimately your fitness community. The avoidance of giving feedback to staff members based on the fear of their response doesn’t help you keep your service deliverable high for your clients. Saying yes to every opportunity doesn’t necessarily mean you are growing your fitness business if you aren’t focusing on developing your core offer. When you can minimize the amount of emotion in your decision making you move your business in the direction that supports your vision. 


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Author: Nick Berry

Nick Berry is an accomplished entrepreneur, CEO, mentor, and author, with a track record which includes founding and leading numerous companies to success since his first venture in 2002. Nick Berry is the Founder and CEO of Fitness Revolution.

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