Category Archives: leadership

Your Goals + My Plan + Your Execution: Our Team’s Formula for Success

Don’t compare. You have no idea where that other person is at. You have no idea how far you can go. You and I have enough to worry about just dealing with our own stories. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

When I am coaching clients I often use this equation: your goals + my plan + your execution is our recipe for success. Don’t waste your time with anyone else’s goals. What do you want to accomplish? What will it take to get there? What will you do when you experience an injury or a set-back? Do you have an expert plan in place? And then can you execute that plan? That’s where a coach and/or a team come into play.

Before you retire for the day, get a notecard and a pen and write down your goal for the end of the year. Of course you know I preach long-term pursuit, but we need to start with a short term goal to build momentum. My goal is to finish two triathlons and finish the year with a new understanding, appreciation, and pursuit of nutrition and strength training. So far, so good.

Consuming and creating more than ever

Through the first five months of 2017 I’ve consumed and created more content than I have in all of last year. It has been a wonderul start to the year and I’m excited where it may go. While I certainly planned this out, I didn’t see it unfolding the way it has and I can only credit dedication (publishing a vlog every Saturday) and hard work (editing takes lots of time!) to my success thus far.

As my health and fitness career evolves, I’ve found myself asking new questions.

How do I help more people? What conversations need to happen to make people healthier? Is my social presence telling the story of fitness?

In January I started a weekly newsletter, From The Training Desk of Hans Schiefelbein. Each week I read a lot of articles and find myself chatting with clients throughout the week about them — why not share more formally! Two added benefits are (1) I would be kept accountable to keep reading and (2) I’d be forced to really know the articles I share because if clients bring it up you need to be able to have a discussion or clarfy the author or my position. For years I’ve subscribed to similar newsletters and finally this year I decided that I could produce the same content and value for my tribe.

At the time I started the newsletter, our church was starting a new year-long series called Love This Book (LTB). The idea is to read through select portions of the Bible. We did a similar challenge in 2012 but we read the entire Bible! So in December and January I had been getting into vlogs (“video blogs”) related to the fitness industry and entrapraneur/small business owners in general. A topic that bubbled to the top for me was “document, don’t create.” Since I started blogging in 2006, I’ve constantly felt pressure to blog and create content. But with the two of the biggest aspects of my life (faith and fitness) the story plays out better when you document your message rather than create content in the traditional sense of end-user material. So I thought to myself: what if I documented how I was reading and processing LTB? After two weeks of pondering, I decided to start the LTB vlog. Daily vlog posts seemed unpractical so I settle on a weekly episode. I haven’t missed a Saturday for 21 weeks.

The goal here today isn’t to describe any more details than what I’ve already shared. The goal is to get up to 30,000 feet and look at the landscape. I want to educate and inspire people and that doesn’t happen when I consume content. Consuming content is part of the equation but the impact happens when I create content, start a discussion, and help people pursue their healthy and disciplined lifestyle.

While all this consuming and creating hasn’t been without its challenges, it’s been worth it. I look back at my portfolio with pride in what I’ve been able to publish. That’s what people see. What people don’t see is the footage sitting on the editing room floor, the hours editing, but also (and this is closest to me) what I’m learning about publishing and building a business. I have objectives above and beyond hitting publish on the vlog and the newsletter and that is to create a tribe of followers and a brand of purpose that will sustain my business and life in the near future.

Giving Back

For 15 weeks this spring (college “spring semester”) I had Colin with me at Pinnacle as a practicum student from UW. It was very nice to be on this side of a practicum/internship experience having spent plenty of time where Colin was. Not only did I get to work with Colin but I also got reconnected with Ronnie Carda, an old instructor of my undergraduate days.

Colin is going to physical therapy school next year and he’s going to do very well. Since his practicum experience didn’t exactly line up with his career (or at least schooling) goals, it was a challenge to make his time at Pinnacle as relevant as possible. As a graduate student myself, I took every opportunity to customize my schooling to get the most out of the experience as I could; I took that same approach with Colin. This spring Colin grew in his comfort level working one-on-one with clients. He also put a nice program together for one of my clients with Parkinson’s.

Coaching my clients is fun and rewarding but working with peers, training new trainers and giving back is an under-appreciated part of my job. I know I added value and perspective to Colin’s experience and it kept me at the top of my game. It’s easy to get into a rut and not challenge yourself in this industry. Having my workflows in place and assessments and communications updated was a great thing for me and my clients.

I look forward to updates from Colin – I’m proud to have worked with him as he moves onwards and upwards to Northwestern.

teaching technology

For the past two years I developed a plant health care program at H&H Arborists. It has a certain level of complexity and organization to it (what good programs don’t!). Additionally it increases our efficiency while minimizing mistakes in the field. This week I trained a co-worker on my workflow for the plant health care program. Josh picked it up right away and was not only eager to learn but also went looking for ways to improve it. He immediately recognized why I used apps and the workflows that I did. Earlier this week I presented a new social media strategy at Pinnacle Health + Fitness. It was easy for me, was well received, and we’re seeing progress already. Yesterday one manager had already drafted his first few blog posts. This morning the owner took steps to implement his department into the strategy. 

I love coaching. I’ve become the resident expert in both of these situations and it’s easy to apply my skills and ideas to improve our business. Technology is often the common thread in my workflows. I spend a lot of time in tech and when I can apply it to business, it hardly feels like work. I’m constantly asking the question “how can we do this most efficiently.” With the plant health care, I had to think ahead to when I wouldn’t be with the company anymore. Could I put together a system that an average non-tech person could take it over? Could I create a system that minimized mistakes even with multiple employees involved? Could I create a system that would scale from $40,000 in sales or $400,000 in sales? 

Each time I build a product, strategy or even a simple workflow I gain experience for the next project that will end up on my desk. Sometimes I have to sacrifice time on the front end just to gain experience to get the project out the door. I learn from what went well and what could improve so that I’m more versatile when the next problem presents itself.

All is Quiet on New Years Day 

January 1, 2016
9:16 AM

First thoughts on the New Year:

As I wake this morning, I am thankful for the life the Lord has given me. What a great time of year, to reflect on the past and to plan the future. I love to reflect and I love to plan. Each year I grow in this process. This morning a few things are coming to mind as I begin to plan for 2016:

  • servanthood: how can I serve those I love and that need me?
  • craftsman: master the process, execute and deliver
  • leadership: roles and responsibilities require my stewardship

This is one of my favorite days of the year.

Discipline Defined

I’m leading a book study for guys on Wednesday mornings. We meet at Barriques in Fitchburg and we’re reading Four Pillar of a Man’s Heart. A couple weeks ago we were talking about discipline and one of the guys said he has a negative feeling with the word, with the concept. Of course I went right to a sports analogy to demonstrate that discipline is good. In the Bible discipline is a good thing, but we were discussing it in the context of spiritual disciplines and the difference between legalism and authentically following the commands and laws of the Lord.

Discipline is a fundamental component to my blog: “In pursuit of a healthy and disciplined lifestyle.” I think especially in the church we shy way from “discipline” because we don’t want to be labeled as a legalist. But the world works on discipline. Sports teams are successful when they are disciplined in their practice and their execution. Jim Collins, in his classic business book Good to Great, talks about ruthless discipline as a distinguishing characteristic between business that fail and those that succeed. I think discipline is an essential quality that should be pursued by anyone who whats to make a difference in this world. In business, in your family, or in social services, discipline means having a plan and sticking with it. Sure, you can make changes but that only comes after disciplined thought and planning takes place.

And this is where the rubber meets the road for me right now. I’ve found that is critical for me to leave margin in my week, even in each day, to process my obligations, my contracts, my goals. I need room to work, I can’t jam-pack my schedule and still be agile enough to make these adjustments. I need to constantly challenge the process and reconsider what I’m doing and why. This disciplined thought is the only way for me to operate my family and my work – and I don’t always do this well. This isn’t the best post I’ve ever written but remember, sometimes I write this stuff more for me than for you (wink, wink). I’m writing this today to remind myself that discipline is important, we’re all in different places, but we all are looking for ways to move the ball down the field. I’m trying to simplify my week and only schedule the things I want to get done. And it’s been a successful exercise. I’ve thought of three other posts that can work off this one, and the whole thing has cleared my mind and empowered me to start the week off right.
How about you? Are you disciplined? If you became more disciplined in one area of life, how could you move the ball down the field?

Three Reasons I Blog

I started blogging in 2006. Wow! That was 13 years ago. I remember walking to the coffee shop and writing that first post. Sure, my writing has changed a lot but I’m happy to report that this initial set of thoughts are still very applicable today.

I wrote about having a game plan, reflecting on life, learning from successes and failures, and growing stronger for the sake of my family. I still have a long way to go, but I appreciate the journey that I’m on.

Today I read a Facebook update from Michael Hyatt asking why we blog.


The post inspired me to reflect on why I blog.  Interestingly enough, John Saddington recently tweeted a similar thought:


So in this line of thinking, here’s the three reasons I blog.

Process life with words
I’ve always kept a journal. I process so much of my life when I take time to be disciplined in thought and reflect on things that have happened, thoughts or ideas I’ve had, and the results which occurred. I believe being an active thinker and reflected are essential to being successful in life. I don’t think I’ll ever stop blogging for this reason alone.

Telling a great story
People are looking for encouragement, purpose, and connection. I do not have a huge following on social media or my blog, so this is not a humble brag. I believe our story needs to reflect God’s story. I am a part of that story and I want my blog to demonstrate it. I want to help people pursue a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. Those are biblical principles; it’s the narrative God has given me. Blogging helps me tell the story, then I want the story to continue and build after a post goes out, so the process becomes cyclical. I want the posts to become a living narrative and thus a significant source for inspiration to live a great story.

Digital Coaching
I have always coached. I’ve always had a leadership role or mentoring relationships. As I’ve grown my professional life, that coaching has continued and my blog is my home base for this. To be clear, my blog is still evolving and I need to continue to prune away and develop my niche. But part of my thought process in writing on my website is to create a resource of people to help them lead a healthy, active, disciplined life. As I said – people are looking for all kinds of motivation and step-by-step guides. They want a project. Healthy living is my project, and I thoroughly enjoy creating this content for people to consume for themselves and hopefully share with others (hint hint).

Question :::  Have you ever thought about blogging?  


What I Am Telling My Kids About Boston

As a parent it is my responsibility to form the lens through which my children see the world.  Thankfully my kids are four and and two, so the world’s events don’t affect them as much as they will in the future.  So what am I telling my kids about Boston?  Nothing.  I am relieved that I don’t have to tell them anything about what happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about planning and preparing and I’ve been processing that on this blog lately.  Exercise training – gotta plan.  Graduate degree – gotta plan.  Parenting?  Oh my!  If you don’t have a plan for raising your children, the world will raise them for you.  Let me be clear: my plan is to guide and encourage without micromanaging my kids’ childhood and upbringing.  But I believe there are explicit instructions and conversations to be had when it comes to certain life situations and events.  Monday’s terrorist attach is one of those events.  If Sorin and Norah were a little older, here’s what I would say to them.

Run towards, not away

When tragedy happens, evaluate the situation as much as you can and then be a first responder.  Run towards those who need help.  You will be equipped to handle the stress, the difficulties, and uncertainties.  Don’t run away.  People need you, assume they have no one else.  This requires some critical thinking, but the attitude should be of a first responder.  Think to yourself, “What can I do to help?”  There’s a visual image floating around the Boston finish line of  an explosion and then there’s a reaction by the bystanders.  Be a person who runs toward the emergency.

It’s not a good world, it’s an evil world

One prevailing thought after this tragedy has been that the world is essentially good, there’s just a few bad apples.  Unfortunately this is not what the Bible says.  The Bible says that we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  It also says that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  Our pastor, Chris Dolson, says we are crooked like a bent stick.  This doesn’t mean we’re all capable of terrorist attacks, but we are a sinful people.  At the same time God equips us for doing good works.  We need to know that evil exists in the world and it is our job to bring light and hope to the world.  It also means we are to help those in need if we are able.  Often we are, in fact, able and even called to help.

There’s nothing you can do

Would I run the Boston Marathon next year?  Absolutely.  Would I have attended the Olympic Games after the bombing in Atlanta (1996)?  Absolutely.  We cannot live our lives in fear.  We need to be smart, even strategic.  But we cannot let these events affect our lives.  Is there additional danger in the next Boston marathon?  The next Olympic Games?  The next sold out Packers game?  The next never-sold-out-Bucks game?  No.  There’s no rhyme or reason to these kinds of attacks, so we cannot live in fear.  Know the world we live in, be prepared, and trust in the Lord.  What else can you really do?  There’s nothing else you can do.  But our hope and our strength?  It comes from the Lord.  If He is our light and our salvation, whom shall we fear?

Run in their shoes

I don’t do well with grief.  Franky I struggle with it a lot.  But I know that and I’m actively moving towards it, trying to be more sympathetic and connected to those in need.  I don’t know anyone hurt at the Boston finish line.  But I had a runner friend, and I can imagine the support his family would need if he had been hurt or killed.  Being able to run in the shoes of people going through a tough time or tragedy is a life skill.  It allows us to care for them if we are side-by-side.  It forces us to run towards them if they need our help.  Right now I can’t do anything for the people in Boston.  But I can pray for them and their families and I can increase my compassion for them so that if I had an opportunity to help firsthand, I’d be more likely to step up and contribute.

I Love You

Is there anything more important to tell a child?  At the end of the day, what is more powerful than love?  I hug my kids a little tighter after tragedies.  I make sure they know they are loved and it flows from the love I’ve experienced from God.  God loves me, I love you, now go out and show the world love and hope.



Tipping Point

What will be the tipping point for this country to value and pursue their health? You can’t refute (a) the health status of our country (33% overweight, another 33% obese) or (b) the science of how we get healthier. It literally blows me away that our country, the most powerful one in the world, is this unhealthy! It’s embarrassing and it needs to change. I think one of the most powerful arguments for why we need people in this country to exercise and be healthy was written by my friend Spence. Basically, he says you need to be healthy because your friends and your family need you. And they need you to be focused and working like a champ.

Continue reading

Three Words (2013)

I’ve been doing 3 Words since 2009.  I saw Chris Brogan do this on his blog and I immediately thought it was a great idea.  My interpretation is that I don’t want to just pick three words that are self-explanatory.  I want them to be a little bit cryptic and a little abstract.  I want them to beg deeper meaning and contemplation.  They deserve a story.

Because that’s what I want to be about.  Donald Miller has taught me that a good life is a good story.  A great story is compelling and life-giving.

The point of this blog post is to reflect on my goals for the new year.  I have a lot going on with grad school ending right at the same time Katie and I are expecting our third child.  Of course the grad school this is meant to launch me into a new job.  Lots of stuff going on.  That haste is well-represented in my three works for 2013.


When I think of research, organization, professionals, I think of Jim Collins.  In his seminal book, Good to Great, Collins demonstrated to me how meticulous he and his lab were in researching what difference between good companies and great companies.  I had never heard such detailed analysis of companies.  Collins knows his stuff, and many would consider him an expert in the field of business and management.  That’s where I’m going.  I’ve got a huge passion for exercise as medicine, and I’m very much inspired by the work of Collins and how I would replicate his work and research philosophy to my own.

But Collins to me also is about that book I reference: Good to Great.  There’s a distinction between the two, and I need look at that every day this year.  It’s very easy for me to focus on the good things and not ever get to the great things.  The good things make you feel good, probably because they’re easier than the great things.  I need to cut the fat, I need to streamline the process, I need to focus on the great.


The main component of this word in 2013 for me is in reference to Coach Lombardi’s famous quote: “There are three things important to every man in this locker room. His God, his family, and the Green Bay Packers. In that order.”  He was obviously talking to the team, so #3 was their job, which came after faith and family.  I know in my heart this needs to be true, and in 2013 I need to make bigger strides so that it becomes a reality.  It’s very easy for me to say, “take care of business, support the family…”  But it’s entirely different to lead each day putting faith absolutely first (lucky I’m a morning first) and family right there at #2.

Coach also is about what you first thought about – coaching athletics.  I’m a personal trainer, exercise specialist, cardiac rehab specialists.  It all comes down to coaching.  And as I launch my new business this year I want the ethos of coaching and athletics to be a strong component.

Lastly, I feel I’ve been coached in a new and exciting way via someone I met on Twitter.  His name is Jon Swanson and he runs a blog called 300wordsaday.  His writing has been inspiring and introspective.  We’ve connected numerous times via email also and his coaching has made for an excellent end of 2012, and I want that to springboard into this next year.


One of my favorite books of all time is Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart.  It’s all about Christian manhood.  It’s extremely educational and motivations.  I think in this world we need much better and stronger men in homes.  Wives need us, kids need us, other members of the family need the men to step up.  Good things (great things!) happen when men are doing what they’re meant to do – lead.  I want to examine the meaning of being a pillar in my family.  The author (Stu Weber) breaks this down in the book – so there’s a lot of room for learning with Pillar.


So there you have it.  The goal for this post isn’t for everyone to know what my three words are – what are yours?  It’s still early in the year – skip the New Year’s resolutions.  Identify three goals or three words to drive how you spend your days this year.