Why starting a new business is like doing Insanity. ‘You can do it Y’all!’ - Part 1

Updated: Apr 28

10 things new business owners can learn from Shaun T’s Insanity Workouts


Apologise this is quite a long one, but hopefully a useful share for people in the same position. Since being recently furloughed, I wanted to make a few positive changes in my life. One of which is to get fit.


Since my early twenty's I have always tried to achieve one challenge a year - nothing major, just something to keep a moderate degree of fitness, keep the belly at bay and raise some money for charity, mainly to make me look like a ‘decent human being’. You know the sort of thing, half marathon, mud run, palace to palace cycle etc. The challenge aspect not only provides the physical and mental health boost but also keeps me focused and motivated when I would rather have a beer and a Big Mac than complete a cold, rainy run or soulless trip to the gym.

In January of this year I started Insanity but due to the demands of modern life I was derailed. I have hilarious twin boys aged 3 and have always worked in a pressurised role that requires the ‘always on’ mentality, which means early mornings and late nights with limited quality time with my family or time to indulge in such luxuries as a social life or daily workouts (I know we can all find our excuses and violins). Anyway I lasted an embarrassing 21 days of big 'Shauny T', got sick and didn't pick it back up again.

Right now, I have no excuses! With 'Mr T’s' dulcet tones ringing in my ears ‘You Can Do It!



This new exercise plan happily coincides with my recent career predicament and after much consultation, I have grasped the nettle and taken charge of my current situation. This means that I am now looking to practice what I have been preaching for the past 20 years, taking all of my experience and the inspiration gained from working with some fantastic characters to take the plunge and launch a 'modern agency' one that i think will provide exactly what people want and need at this 'unprecedented' time of change.


The agency will include a select, but very knowledgeable, group of people, who, by chance have found themselves in the same position, every cloud…


The concept is simple, think big data, cloud tech, or open-source, but instead of using data, servers or code to make the magic happen we will be using our collective network of multi disciplined talent, to deliver high quality, bespoke, services to a global audience, when and how they want it. The clue is in the name: Agency On Demand.

Anyway for others in a similar position, whether you are starting Insanity or your own venture, here are some thoughts coming into the halfway point! 'Be prepared for pain Y’all'

  1. It takes balls to start! - If you have ever considered taking the plunge, at some points in life, you need to grow a pair and go for it. Prepare well, get your head in the right place and look for the support from those close to you. At some point you will most certainly need it. Then run at it as hard and fast as you can!

  2. Recognise your shortcomings - You are probably a little out of shape, but that's ok. You will improve. For me, as you move up in seniority, you get detached from the doing. The trick is to keep grounded and upskill as often as you can. Know your limits and understand the strengths and weaknesses of others. Connect with the experts who can help you along the way.

  3. Commit mentally and physically - this will take all your commitment and perseverance. It's not an easy 'get fit / rich' scheme. You need to work hard, set milestone goals and when you achieve each one, it doesn't stop there. You will start to lose your 'insane abs', so the work and commitment should become the new normal and begin to enrich your daily life.

  4. Other people are younger, fitter and better than you - It doesn't matter how good you think you are, there is always someone better. Just look at Tina ‘the machine’ or ‘must try harder’ Josh, in the workouts videos. They are buff. If you constantly compare yourself with others, you will always be on the back foot. Use them for inspiration, or if possible partner with them to learn and improve. As soon as you think you have made it, you are only one cream cake or failed campaign away from losing your crown. ‘Never give up!’

  5. It's not what you thought it would be like. It's much worse :) - It all hinges on you and only you can make it happen or make it fail. Embrace the unexpected, failures and successes. You will have good and bad days, but be open to change and learn from your mistakes. Adapt with positivity and vigour.

  6. You will sweat! - Whether its dripping half cut from ‘Pure Cardio’, or whether you are awake at night waiting for the first invoices to drop to pay your mortgage, you will have to work hard and raise your game to make this happen. You know the saying ‘There is no victory without sacrifice’ and the feeling of accomplishment awaits once the first project lands, or you achieve your first 30 consecutive training days.

  7. It's already relentless and keeps on coming - This shit is every day! Ok, you get one ‘rest day’ a week, but even then you are that adrenaline fuelled that you feel as though you should be working hard even on that day! On a serious note, I have taken a lot from the ‘rest day’. If I had ignored it and gone for a run instead of taking it easy, it would make the next week even harder. Don't do it. The rest day is there for a reason, to let your body recover and get it ready to fight again! Use this time to sync with your mental well-being. You need to recharge, take perspective and remember what else is important in life. Pressure will always be there, you need to make time for ‘rest days’, not just for your family and the people in your life, but for yourself. It’s important to draw inspiration and a sense of perspective from what and whom you love!

  8. Peaks and Troughs - Sometimes you’re ‘on fire’ and at other times you struggle to start or finish the session. So, you will not always achieve what you set out to do. Embrace failure, accept the lows, but don't give up. It's what makes the ‘highs’ sweeter and in turn injects energy, endurance and confidence, at times when you need it the most.

  9. You need the help of others - You cannot be strong every day. For ideas and inspiration, a fresh pair of eyes, or a funny chat is sometimes all you need. I’m doing ‘Insanity with a pal along with and both my brothers. This keeps me motivated and challenged. Just talking with them, discussing how they are getting on and sharing any tips and advice allows their influence to ground and encourage me. It has also drawn out a hidden competitive streak so there is no way I can give in now! Surround yourself with by people that can positively motivate, challenge and inspire you, with the ability to encourage and see your full potential to succeed.

  10. You’ll start to notice some positive change: 1. Reducing gut & gaining more time - From feeling spread thin, you become focused on what's important and you have the flexibility to prioritise a better work life balance. You start to realise that you can do both by being there for your family whilst growing something you can be proud of for the future. 2. Better mental health - You begin to feel positive by taking charge of your own destiny. 3. Getting into a proactive routine - they say you only have to do things 3 times for it to become a habit. Build a strict plan and use rules that you can stick to. Sometimes that is as simple as how you structure your day.

This is only the beginning and I am sure there will be a number of unforeseen hurdles as the weeks progress. Once you commit to making a fundamental change in your life, you need to have the integrity and guile to see it through. Embrace change, encourage and accept help from others, recognise the lows and celebrate the highs, and remember ‘YOU CAN DO IT!’.

Should you need support, direction and clarity around you and your organisation's next strategic move, or, just need help to drive new business faster, then come work with us. We are looking to support businesses at this critical time by providing in-depth strategic reviews, and practical 'step by step' marketing plans for forward thinking firms looking to adapt to the current landscape. Find out more about our 'Project Phoenix' initiative which aims to support businesses at a time when they need it most.

Alternatively if you're a little unhinged and like the sound of Insanity you can buy the workout video from beach body.com here :)


Let me know how you get on 'Y'all'.


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