Our newest group of Tinkers is one quarter into their mentorship. Here are 20 observations from their mentor, Jeff Smith:

– We were looking for people that wanted to expand their mindset and skillset as entrepreneurs as they looked to move into higher levels of thought and performance. Tinkers put it better: “Farmers work on the business, Tinkers work on themselves.”

– We must regularly evaluate how you are doing in the four key areas of life (Finance, Fitness, Freedom, Family). If we don’t evaluate, we don’t improve.

– Get your financial house in order; personally and in the business to maximize growth. This is where many Tinkers need the most education, but the least regular accountability. A lot of this is long-term “set it and forget it” planning.

– When you surround yourself with people doing high level endeavors, it creates energy that challenges everyone to step their game up and improve. When you spend a weekend with millionaires, you dress like a millionaire; you eat and exercise like a millionaire; you begin to think like a millionaire. The lens through which successful people see the world can be shared.

– You are your number one asset and need to protect yourself as such. Your cognitive health, physical health, and time spent in “Flow State” go from the bottom of your list to the top in the Tinker phase.

– Be focused, effective and deliberate in your work, be disconnected and present in your downtime. It takes training to “turn off” after years spent building a business. Practice.

– Work on your leadership constantly. As John Maxwell wrote, “Everything hinges on leadership.” Tinkers are on stage most of the time. They must be deliberate in their actions, language and responses.

– Plan your legacy to live beyond you and set it up to serve what’s important to you. This is the first step into Thief Phase, and some of the Tinkers are really crushing it. 

– Control your time. Measure and plan; learn to not react.

– Habits matter. What habit are you starting this quarter to positively impact your life?

– Scaling and opening new locations is happening. There were very few proven examples of gym owners who owned multiple locations successfully out there. Usually, owners would react to an opportunity (or threat) before being prepared. But Tinker phase entrepreneurs have the knowledge, systems and time to replicate their businesses over and over.

– Entrepreneurs have a tendency to take on too much, saying “no” strategically is one of the most important skills you learn. Even saying “not right now” is better than trying to kick off multiple projects at once.

– Model your behavior after those you aspire to become. Find models and be like them instead of trying to reinvent every part of yourself all the time.

– Leverage the skills of others to help you achieve your goals, whether it is in regards to your team or future partnerships. You don’t have to build every solution from scratch.

– Surround yourself with people that will hold you accountable. We’re gym owners. We should know this one. But few people do it for their business.

– What truly brings you joy? How can you do more of that?

– Build a high performing team to support your highest levels of work. In the Tinker phase, you’ll begin to cultivate a management layer for the first time. Finding the right people takes time, but the hardest part is releasing your grip on important tasks. 

– Have a plan, work the plan. You’ll always have more work than you can handle. You’ll always have a dozen great ideas. Pushing your flywheel forward means working in one direction. Pave the street that lies before you.

– In general, our goals fall far short of our potential. When we look at the achievements in the Tinker Group in the first quarter of 2019, we see many have achieved goals they set for the year already!

– Take your financial goals(business/personal) and add an additional one zero (i.e. $10m=$100m, $100m=$1b).
Know what it would take to build THAT business or THAT life!


“You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with” is a common heuristic in business. The Tinker group proves that it’s true. These folks are running at a brand new pace.