You're listening to the Uncommon Life Podcast. Whether you're a startup or you've been in business for 10 years, this show is for you. Each week, you'll get mentored by business leaders who deliver valuable strategies, tactics and tips on how you can pursue your passion without compromise. We’ll show you how to achieve balance while sticking to your core values, so you can have an uncommon life.
Now, here's your host, Jimmy Fullerton.
Jimmy: Hello, everybody, and thank you so much for tuning in to the Uncommon Life podcast, coming to you from Launch Trampoline Park in Columbus, Georgia. Today, I am talking with Marc Heileman.
Marc turned his passion for mountain climbing into a lucrative business. He's the owner of Treadstone Climbing Gym based out of Columbus, Georgia, which includes a climbing gym, along with an American Ninja Warrior training area. It's really cool. His company, Treadstone, also builds rock walls and climbing gyms all over the world.
Now, on this episode, you're going to get to learn about something called “The Path.” It's a unique system Marc has developed to help people set goals, measure progress and basically just live out an intentional life. We go pretty deep here, so get comfy. And here we go.
Marc, how are you doing today, buddy?
Marc: Good morning.
Jimmy: Nice and wet outside, so thank you for coming here, again. I appreciate it.
Jimmy: Let's just start out by talking … I want to talk a little bit about you and your background. And while you're here, why do I want to talk to Marc Heileman?
Marc: Good question. I'm the owner of Treadstone Climbing Gym, which is a one of our two LLCs. We also have a company called Treadstone Structures, where we build climbing gyms and climbing walls around the world. We have an office out in California, one in New York, and what I call an outpost in Kenya actually, too.
Jimmy: Really? Wow.
Marc: Yeah, been there a few times. Love it.
Jimmy: I would like to hear about how that originated.
Marc: It's a good one, good story.
Jimmy: Will you talk a little bit about that for a second, how it originated in Kenya?
Marc: In Kenya? Okay. For that, you actually have to go back further. I went to Berry College and that's how I became a climber. I was on their ropes course, which was sponsored by a Truett Cathy personally.
Jimmy: Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A.
Marc: Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A. Yes, sir.
Marc: Knew him. He spun off a program called Blue Sky that sent a team, me and two other people, out to a place just outside Nairobi, a little town called Limuru, and we built a ropes course and a climbing gym over there about 20 years ago, and [03:00.0] they have since expanded and grown quite a bit. And I've been over there two other times.
Jimmy: Treadstone Climbing Gym, I know about it because I've been there before. My daughter loves it as well. What is your goal at Treadstone Climbing Gym? Why does it exist?
Marc: I love that about it. I love that question because we're not just trying to make people be able to grab small things and pull themselves up. To me, that ultimately is, yeah, the simplest way to describe what climbing is, and it's great fitness, for sure. It's the highest strength-to-weight ratio in all of sports, so all of that is super valid. But, honestly, if it weren't for already being able to use it as a vehicle to learn more about goal setting and becoming someone who's persistent to get to the top of a wall, and all the things that you can learn from climbing, I wouldn't consider it worth it to have this gym.
Jimmy: That's a good point. So, what are some of the things? Touch on a few of those things you can learn from the whole process of climbing and what that does for people mentally? What skills can they develop, besides just the ability to grab small things and pull themselves up?
Marc: Yeah, exactly. I think the best thing that it does is it just teaches people that, first of all, it gives them a true literal summit experience. I don't have to make it up. I don't have to throw a trophy at somebody and it feels like everybody gets a trophy just for showing up. You have to get to the top of the wall and you either do it or you don't. Nobody can give it to you and nobody can take it away from you. It's a very objective measure of, Hey, I did it.
Jimmy: Yeah, it's a good point what you just [said]. You have a certain goal or target up there. You touch it and you're up at the top, so it's a very real, authentic experience that you have. Okay, what are some of the other thing? I know that when I go there, I know y'all are big on goal setting there.
Jimmy: That's a big draw. People participate in that. They set goals to achieve certain levels there. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Marc: Absolutely, yeah. When you walk into a climbing gym and you've never been in a climbing gym before, of course, there are multicolored handholds all over the wall plastered all over the wall and it looks like chaos if you don't know what you're looking at. So, it's very important, like you said just now, it's very important to know what the objective is, because otherwise you just see people moving around on the walls and you're like, Okay, what are we doing exactly? And so, it is about goals.
You would walk in and even an experienced climber might warm up by grabbing anything that's in front of him. But once you start setting goals and saying, Okay, I want to become a better climber. I want to become stronger. I want to become more able to do this thing, then you start finding the patterns and just following the blue handholds to set a certain difficulty level for yourself.
Jimmy: Right. So, how did you get into rock climbing to begin with?
Marc: At Berry College, I learned how to belay, which is [06:00.0] handling the rope. I learned how to belay on the ropes course at Berry College, and that very next weekend, I was on the real rocks climbing with somebody else who was in that course, who was a rock climber already and had all of the gear, and still one of my best friends to this day, almost 30 years later.
But I went to Sunset. We call it Sunset. It's Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. But there are cliffs that the climbers call Sunset Rocks and that was my first climb. It was on those rocks in Chattanooga.
Jimmy: Okay. I know that rock climbing is a unique breed of people that do that. So when you opened Treadstone, you were looking at something different than what a traditional gym could offer.
Jimmy: What was the thing that you were looking at? Was it just a different type of workout or was there more to it than that, I'm sensing, besides just a new kind of workout? Was there a deeper reason?
Jimmy: Yeah, you're actually picking up on it perfectly, because even within the sport of rock climbing 20 years ago, climbers themselves would argue whether or not it was merely a sport. I mean, for those of us who were competitive and who came from other sports and wanted to apply the workout mentality to climbing, there are actually people in climbing who would say, no, it's above that. It's an experience. It's a lifestyle. It's not merely a sport. It's not merely a workout. I think, in the last 10 years, you've seen people embrace that more as we've wanted to become better and better climbers.
But, yeah, it is. It is more than that. It is a lifestyle. It is something that grabs you, and it is something that you do for life. I mean, unlike a lot of sports, you continue to get actually better and better into your 50s, 60s, and even 70s. It's not something that you're over the hill at, at any point.
Jimmy: When you were thinking about starting Treadstone, what were some of the biggest challenges you had to face when you were starting the company? Which is also, the company, like you said, is a climbing gym, but you also build climbing jams for other facilities.
Jimmy: So, what were some of the biggest challenges, two or three of the biggest challenges you had to overcome?
Jimmy: Business, number one. I think I do have an ability to figure out what makes business work. I do think it's something I understand pretty well. But even with that, it's just 10 times harder than you ever thought it would be. You're a business owner yourself and I know you know what I'm talking about. Everyone tells you, even if you accept what everyone says about how hard it is to make a business work, it's 10 times harder than that. And during the startup phase, which I would put it the first two years or maybe three years, there are a lot of utterly sleepless nights.
Jimmy: Ah, yeah, I can remember. It's never exactly what you think is going to be [09:00.0] and I know that when we first started working on launch, it was a bit overwhelming. There was just so much to do, so we just had to kind of bite things off in smaller chunks.
Jimmy: And there were delays and different things that happened. You’ve still got to live life, but I know that what I focused on was maintaining some momentum and that's kind of the way we approached it. We just kept making progress.
Jimmy: And, lo and behold, before you know it, it's here. So, yeah, it's never exactly what you think when you start out. But has it been worth it?
Marc: It's been very worth it.
Jimmy: Yeah, you learn a whole lot of lessons in starting a business. That’s for sure.
Jimmy: Yeah, that brings me to the whole concept of being intentional in how you live your life. I know that you're really big on intentionality.
Jimmy: As am I. So, let's talk a little bit about that, about how you incorporate intentional living into your life.
Marc: I think we were just talking about it yesterday and we're redoing Financial Peace University at our church, and Dave Ramsey was talking just yesterday about how if everyone talks about someday, like someday I'm going to do this and someday I'm going to do that, and it's just not on the calendar. The word “someday” is just not on any calendar, past, present or future. So, you have to put dates to it.
Jimmy: How do you decide, though? Let's talk about what you're intentional with. I get it. You have to figure out what you're going to be intentional about. Myself, I know a few others that this is fairly common. We kind of break it down into some categories like faith, family, fitness and finances, also known as the four F's, so I try to make sure I'm being intentional in those areas in some way, shape or form, because if I don't, if those areas, if one of them gets out of alignment, then I'm not my best self. So, how do you do that?
Marc: It's funny you have those F's. We have three F’s we call “finally, fun fitness,” so it's funny that we came to some of the same things there, too. That happens a lot with you and me. And that goes back to something you asked about a second ago, too, that we are not just like other sports.
We're kind of strange. We enjoy working out. I mean, if we're on vacation, we'll work out because we have more time to do it and we actually enjoy it. But most people don't find it fun. Logging sets and reps in a dungeon is more their perception of what working out is. And climbing allows people to have fun doing it and then they're just getting fit as a byproduct.
But your next question now where you're asking about the intentional part of what we're doing and how we implement that and implement the goal setting, we do have a structure for it. I call it “The Path,” and specifically the Path has taken on. Of course, we have the [12:00.0] 20/20 vision and we're launching into a spreadsheet that will ultimately become an app that I call the Path.
Jimmy: The Path.
Marc: The Path. It's a way of tracking. It's an accountability thing and it's accountability for yourself. And, of course, you can invite other people into it to where they can ask you about it, and I do. I put it out there on social media that I want people to ask me, Hey, did you have a hundred-point week this week?
Jimmy: So, this is called the Path.
Jimmy: I see the 100 points, so the actual name of this process is the Path. I like that. It's very, very simple.
Marc: Simple. Intentional.
Jimmy: All right. Yeah, I've been curious. I've been wanting to know more about this, so let's talk about that.
Marc: And that's the other part of it, too, that for all of our talk about intentionality and all of that, we are also business owners and I can get behind the power curve on dates myself. I mean, I would have loved to have explained this perfectly on January 1 this year, so that people could do the New Year’s resolution thing, but I kind of liked the way it's worked out because I implemented it into my personal life and my personal workouts, and other areas of life as well because there actually are nine areas of life.
Jimmy: I think it's actually perfect that we're doing it right now.
Marc: I do, too.
Jimmy: People start all this stuff in January, and February rolls around and a lot of starting to wane a little bit, so now maybe you can help refresh their energy about their goals, so it’s your chance.
Marc: No, it's true. You're right. And also because I started doing it for myself as sort of a beta test and a couple of other people, it's something that I've referred to kind of obliquely where people will say, Hey, how's it going, Marc? and I'll say, Hey, it's going great. I've had a hundred-point day. I even had a hundred-point week. And they're like, What do you mean? And I haven't really explained it completely.
So, it's been sort of a teaser for the last couple of months whereby now, when I do a complete explanation on a YouTube video on our YouTube channel at Treadstone Climbing, then people will have heard it referred to and it will pique their curiosity enough that now it's explained and here we go. And it is built around a spreadsheet where I put checkboxes in that, if you check the box, as they say, then you get a hundred points for that thing.
And what it is, it’s basically I've got a spreadsheet where I have a weekly planner where I'll put in what we're supposed to do for climbing goals, for cardio goals, for strength training goals, for functional fitness goals, and I put it in there and it automatically populates everybody's score sheet, members of my gym who are using it, and it's scaled for beginners, recreational, intermediate, advanced and elite. So, it is scaled to where you're at, but I can change it and it automatically populates what your goals for your level should be this week, if you're on this path, if you choose this program.
Jimmy: So, this particular program is about fitness, the different categories of fitness, like you said, functional fitness, cardio [15:00.0], strength. It breaks those down, so that you're a more well-rounded athlete.
Marc: Exactly. And it's full body and it's not limited to fitness, but I started with the fitness component as what I know best. I am very intentional about the other things, organizational, intellectual, spiritual and financial, all those other things are in the organization.
Jimmy: Yeah, and apparently this can be applied to those other areas as well.
Marc: It is, but as a gym, our primary vehicle, of course, we talk about fitness and we use fitness as a metaphor for all the other things. So, I started here, but it's not at all limited to here, and if it were, I would not consider it worth it because it doesn't make you a complete person. So, I guess what we're talking about right now is just being a complete athlete.
Jimmy: Right, it’s all about balance in a lot of cases, though.
Marc: It is.
Jimmy: Balanced athlete, balanced life. I know that, as I've gotten older, my fitness goals have evolved from what they used to be. I used to always be more about strength training. Didn't incorporate a whole lot of cardio, stretching and that kind of stuff. But as I've gotten older, I've definitely learned that I need to be flexible or that makes you feel old more than being stiff. So, yeah, the balance between functional stuff, it all starts with strength for me. I mean that's the foundation, but functional stuff is very important. I don't want to have busted shoulders, trying to pick my daughter up and play with her. I want to be able to do functional things.
Jimmy: And then, yeah, the stretching and the cardio, all that stuff is important to me, so I think that's awesome. Your people, your employees are bought into this.
Marc: Oh yeah.
Jimmy: How did you get them bought into it? Are they just naturally wired that way? Do you hire people that think like that?
Marc: We do. It's all about getting the right people on the bus and then putting them in the proper seat for that.
Jimmy: Got to park there for one second. I'm going to interrupt you. But how do you [do it]? That's hard to do, getting the right people on the bus.
Marc: It is really hard.
Jimmy: Is there some particular method you use to get the right people on the bus?
Marc: And since we're ripping off Jim Collins, I should give him credit for saying that. Yeah, getting the right people on the bus and then putting them in the right seat.
Jimmy: There’s also a book called The Energy Bus. It’s not always about Jim Collins, but, yeah, he does say that, get the right people on the bus.
Marc: He does. And that is tough. And we go back to Chick-fil-A again and Ritz-Carlton, and we always talk about the models that were … You should always model the behavior that you respect the most, and so in business and just an intentional life, we think of our culture as very Disney, Ritz-Carlton Chick-fil-A culture, whereby we're always looking for the right people. We pre-select as much as we possibly can for the right personality traits, and then you train along those same lines. You train people along those same lines. That's the approach.
If you look at, for example, the way Special Forces does things, there's an initial assessment that happens before you are even accepted into that training, where they're spending three weeks just deciding whether or not you're the right kind of person for their culture, and I think that's really important. And [18:00.0] there's a mentality shift in the training that happens after that three-week period. The first three weeks, you're trying to see if they're the right raw material, and then once you've decided that it looks like they are, you accept them and then you can plug them into the year-and-a-half Special Forces training.
Jimmy: You'd say it's a rigorous pre-screening in Special Forces, for sure.
Jimmy: But with a Treadstone, is there anything in particular you do differently?
Marc: Yes. I'd like to take that opportunity to tell a really short story.
Marc: We had actually the first … when I first came back to this industry and we built a climbing gym up in Pennsylvania, and we hired a local named Matt, who had a neat story in his own right and that'd be a great one for a later time, but he only worked for us for two weeks, the time it took to build this, the small climbing gym that we built for this university up there.
And yet, almost seven years later, I got a call from him last year. He was interviewing out in New Mexico where he had moved to go live, and he called me to ask if he could use us as a reference on his application. And he said to us, “I know I only worked for you for two weeks, but there was just something so different about working for you guys that was different from anywhere that I had ever been. I really wanted to be associated with that. Your culture is very different.” So, that's the kind of compliment that makes my day.
Jimmy: Did he specify what about your culture was different? Just a general statement that yours is or is there a specific thing you can identify as to what makes your culture unique?
Marc: A lot of things. The intentionality I think comes across quickly. Our organizational structure, which we borrow from … we're here at Fort Benning, so we've got the best leadership school in the world, ranger school, right here at our fingertips. And so, you can really study that model, and see what the nuts and bolts are for how to be a very effective leader in a very effective team, because there are specifics. It's not this nebulous fuzzy thing that people think it is.
They'll say something ... most people will say something like Winston Churchill was just a natural born leader. Not really. We all have things that develop us towards a certain thing, and in a place like ranger school, they’ve figured out after 200-some odd years of studying what they study that there are metrics and there are specific nuts-and-bolts things that can promote that and make it happen.
So, I think the fact that we do that, which dovetails right into intentional living, I think that comes across. Our organizational structure being informed by these things is so unique that people just haven't encountered that elsewhere.
And then, lastly, not lastly, but importantly, just we talk about A-listers a lot. I mean, I've mentioned Jim Collins. I've mentioned, yeah, the ranger school. I've mentioned Chick-fil-A, Disney, Ritz-Carlton. These are all places that are striving for that A-list mentality, and we articulate that.
Jimmy: A-list mentality. Yeah, I like that term. Let's go back to the 100-point [21:00.0] path.
Marc: Yes, sir.
Jimmy: So, how have you tried to incorporate that or have you incorporated that into your life in those areas? Like you said, the whole thing about the different areas of your life of faith, family, fitness, whatever different model you have, how do you incorporate that into your life?
Marc: As you read, when you read other people who talk about intentional living and organizational excellence, they'll talk about the different areas of life, financial, spiritual, relational, emotional, all of those things. I added organizational because I personally can't do any of those things unless I'm organized.
Jimmy: So, organizational meaning to use your methodology for being organized and in your life basically.
Marc: Right. Some people will start their day that way. Some people will call it a quiet time or a reflective period.
Jimmy: Okay, this is the topic I'd love to talk about. I like to talk about rituals and help people start their day, people that are successful especially. For you, for instance, how do you start your day? What do you do?
Marc: Funny enough, that's actually how the Path came about for me. When I started writing this 100-point system. That's really how it started. I looked at it.
And there's another thing. I borrowed it from aviation. We have a thing called a standard day, which is a standard temperature and humidity point that refers to a standard day, standard barometric pressure. It's all based off that. And once you're flying above 18,000 feet, it's all based on that. It's not the barometric pressure of the day. It's something that is considered a constant and a standard. So, they call it a standard day. It's just a term I borrowed.
Jimmy: Is standard day actually the baseline for what you should be doing every day?
Marc: Yes. And, okay, I'm not religious about it, but what resonated with me about the term “standard day” for planning your week is that I started looking at, okay, what does a standard week look like? And then, you start to ask yourself, Okay, what does a standard Monday look like? What is the purpose of Monday? And if you want to go back to the start with the “why” model, or the motivator, as the military would call it, you start with why and say, Okay, what are Mondays for? What are Tuesdays for? What are Fridays for? What is the purpose of Fridays? And that makes a difference.
One of the things, for example, you asked how I start my day, so on Mondays, I don't call people and I don't answer my phone before noon on Mondays because I feel like everybody else is trying to organize their week on a Monday morning. And I generally consider it to be a bit intrusive to call somebody on a Monday morning.
Jimmy: You did answer my call this morning.
Marc: Yeah, [crosstalk] Monday at 09:00.
Jimmy: It was a text, so it’s time well-spent.
Marc: But we had this planned beforehand and that’s a little different.
Jimmy: So, you keep yourself away from all that stuff until 12:00 every single Monday.
Marc: Every single Monday morning. I plan my week on a Monday morning. I mean, it starts with a workout. Mondays [24:00.2] are one of my favorites. Sunday is my day off from doing cardio or any other training besides … Occasionally, I'll climb on a Sunday, but for the most part, Sunday is a light workout day, so I really look forward to the Monday morning run. I usually go down to the Riverwalk and do that because it's my favorite place to run. But it starts there.
But then, after that, I really have to organize the week and I have to organize the day, and all of the other stuff, no matter how good it is, unless I can sit down and put it into a structure and a context, and give some order to the chaos, because that's what keeps life from overtaking my week and getting into what we talked about earlier where people just … I don't like the term “go with the flow” because now you're just floating down the river and you're just going to hit rocks if the river wants you to hit rocks.
Jimmy: That's right.
Marc: So, if you float down, if you float, I mean, people will move to another state for a $5,000-a-year raise without ever asking themselves, Hey, does moving to that other state really fit my life plan? And you know what? They don't think about it because most people don't really have one.
Jimmy: So, you organize, so first it starts with knowing where you want to go when you're planning your week. You obviously have to do that and have an idea about what you want your life to look like. Back to Monday, so on Monday, for instance, how much time do you spend planning the week?
Marc: It’s not long?
Jimmy: Give me a number because I'm always trying to figure out, How much time should I spend planning this and that? What's a reasonable amount of time? How much time do you spend doing that?
Marc: Okay, so this is actually one of my favorite illustrations because people, if you read even the best books from the A-list group, the Seth Godins and all those guys, Simon Sinek, I mean, even those people, when you read that, they'll say things like we have to have a balance between planning and execution, and you can't just sit around and do paralysis by analysis and just plan forever. You have to go out and do.
So, they'll say things like that and I'm not picking on them because I don't know what specifically they say about it, but I just know that I don't encounter often enough people quantifying what that needs to be, planning versus execution.
And it turns out that ranger school does. They actually have said they hear things like that and they say, Okay, well that sounds true and we know this, but what's the math? Okay, you're telling me you’ve got to balance planning versus execution. Okay, what's the math?
Jimmy: What does that look like?
Marc: Yeah. It turns out, we call it the one-thirds, two-thirds rule, right? So, if you have a certain amount of time before you have to complete something, then you plan out, Okay, we have three weeks for planning, and at that point we need to be moving forward and executing, operating.
Jimmy: The one-third rule say, so if you have three weeks to do something, you spend one week planning?
Jimmy: Okay, that's the ratio. Huh.
Marc: And you have to empower your subordinates to say to you at the end of that week, Hey [27:00.0], sir, we're done with this. We're moving on. Even though they're subordinate to you, you've selected and trained the right people and you've told them, Hey, this is your department. This is your area, so you're involved in this mission, if you will. And so, they can tell you. They can say, Hey Marc, you've had your week. Let's get going.
Jimmy: So, on a Monday then, you spend? That translates to how much time on a Monday that you’ll spend planning?
Marc: Right. I mean, if I'm sitting there trying to figure out what I'm going to do that day at two o'clock in the afternoon on one day, then something's wrong, so that's why that balance is so important.
Jimmy: Yeah, something went awry if you're doing that. Okay, so on Monday you take care of your body and you do some planning, and that can vary as far as the time. Then, what else do you do on a typical Monday before noon? I know we talked a little about your faith and your church. Do you have a set aside a certain amount of time for devotional quiet time, that kind of stuff?
Marc: I do and that's the funny thing that I have found, for me, personally, that operationally it makes more sense to do the physical first. Otherwise, I'm too restless, if I try to sit down and try to read something about God.
Jimmy: That's a good point. I've heard something. That's why the whole thing about being too religious, like there are some people that say, the Christians that have the same faith, a lot of them that teach that the first thing you should do is spend your time with God. And I'm not knocking that. I typically do that, too, but there are times when my brain is running on a different speed for whatever reason that morning and I might need to exercise to kind of get it out of my system. So, I'm a big believer in the same thing doesn’t work for everybody, and also there might be times when you might need to alter your schedule a little bit based on what you're going through.
Jimmy: Yeah, sometimes I just need to spend the first 10 minutes just being silent, some form of meditation or just kind of focusing on breathing, because there's just so much going on out there in the world, and especially if you lead busy lives like I know we're busy. But who in the world isn't busy?
Jimmy: Everybody's busy it seems like. “What are you busy with?” is the trick. Are you busy doing stuff that matters? Are you busy doing stuff that really is not going to have an impact? So, I’ve found that having some silence, some solitude in the morning, and having devotional time, all those things, quiet time, exercise, all those things help me to get to a place mentally, where I can really focus on making sure I'm doing things that I think will have impact.
So, yeah, for me, if I don't follow some aspect of my ritual and there are times when I'll miss it, but just because I might miss it one [30:00.0] day doesn't necessarily throw me all out of whack, because I've trained myself through those rituals to not just have one bad day. It's not going to mess me up and throw me off for a loop. But I have found by following some kind of a ritual, especially in the morning, helps me mentally to be ready for the day. I tend to have more joy, have more peace, not be so rattled when things don't go my way, which is half the time. It kind of helps me to adapt and improvise.
So, yeah, you spend some time, some quiet time, devotional time. You spend time exercising. But you normally start off with the exercise first.
Marc: Yeah, and I think more clearly during the exercise, too. I've made the joke, and it's not really a joke forever, that I can solve all the world's problems while I'm running. Just there's something about the endorphins that it releases and it clears your mind, and you start the day off feeling like a winner because you’ve exercised, so I think it sets the tone.
Jimmy: Yeah, it does. It's like the first intentional thing I can do. Yes, that’s what’s so important to me about having a morning ritual, because during the day, stuff's going to happen. It might throw me off or different things that I'm going to have to react to, but in the morning, I have more control over my time and I can start that day off. If I can start off exercising or doing something intentional that I think moves the ball forward in my life, then that helps me mentally. It helps me, like I said, to stay positive. To me, that's a key for staying positive and it's not always easy to do in this world. There's so much negative stuff.
Marc: And there's a lot of noise, too. You said it a second ago and I wanted to touch on that, too, that if you don't try to organize your thoughts and organize your to-do list and your execution of that to-do list, then the noise is going to take over.
And I actually don't hate on cell phones and computers, and even social media. I actually don't hate that stuff. I actually think it can be very positive and very productive. I mean, it's very easy to keep up with what's going on with your Aunt Mabel in Texas, you know what I mean, with social media? So, it can be a really positive thing. You're not out of touch like you would have been 10 years ago or something.
But, of course, you can let it overtake you, but it also allows you … I mean, my cell phone, for example, my kids occasionally while we're at Woodruff Park or someplace, they'll say, Hey, Dad, can you watch me on this and can you…? Put your phone away. And I'm like, Hey, guys, I will, but just know that if I didn't have this phone, I'd be stuck in my office like you would be 20 years ago. I mean, I'm 52 years old. I can remember, if you weren't expecting an important phone call, we didn't have call-waiting. You had to sit at your house and couldn't leave it, right, or even talk on the phone because somebody important was about to call for a job interview or something.
So, I believe that it's actually positive, these cell phones. We can turn them off if we need to tune them out and we're not expecting somebody important, but it does allow you to get [33:00.0] out of the four walls, the confines of an office or a house or something, and be out in the world and still work. I love the fact that I can go down to Eagle and Phenix Island and work on my laptop.
Jimmy: Yeah, that is a big deal. It gives you more freedom. The trick is, just like with anything else, you can overdose on work because it's so accessible, so it just is a matter of having … you’ve got to give yourself certain boundaries. And I think there definitely is a time and a place to cut the phone off and just not let that distract you. Especially when I'm with my daughter, I try to not … even if she's on her phone, most of the time, and it depends on the situation, but I try to not be on my phone and try to be fully engaged.
That's one thing I will say about the whole cell phone thing. People seem to not always be present. They're too busy taking selfies, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I'm really trying to focus more this year on being present and engaged with where I'm at, because to me it seems I tend to enjoy life more that way now. Also, there are always opportunities right in front of you. Sometimes people miss it if they're distracted and not focused on where they are.
Marc: Yeah. I liked what you said earlier about just having silence and just letting ideas come to you in the midst of that, and that is really the definition of meditation and I don't do that enough, so that's a takeaway for me from talking with you today. But I do want to point out, too, I think it's interesting that, both of us, we've got our cell phones here, but they're both face down on the table because we're both present with what we're doing. So, I thought that was interesting and I noticed that just as you were talking about that.
Jimmy: You didn’t start out that way.
Marc: And I flipped it over, exactly. But that's intentional. Yeah, I want to be where I'm at when I'm doing something important like this. But if I could, I'd like to talk specifically about the nuts and bolts of the Path, the 100-point system, because I've been alluding to it and I've been alluding to it since January 3, which was what I call D-day every year.
D-day, for me, every year is the first real Monday of any year, and I definitely don't ever let it fall on January 1 because people are not at their best on January 1. I’m really kind of setting them up for failure if I make D-day January 1, like, Okay, let's get going, because most people don't really feel like it on that particular day, but the first real Monday of January.
I love Mondays, I'm going to write a book someday called “I love Mondays.” For me, it's like every week a New Year's resolution kind of opportunity, and I think people will pick up the book just to see how crazy I am to have a title like that and it'll pique that curiosity. But I really do. I like new starts. I like clean slates. It's like a clear work bench where you can just walk up with your materials from Lowe's and your tools and just [36:00.0] get rolling. That's what a Monday is to me.
And then, D-day, the first real Monday of every January, is this super opportunity, and I have this year and next year completely mapped out with dates on what the workout cycles look like. There are seven seven-week cycles in a year built around a down, lower-intensity period during the holidays at Christmas.
So, I'm intentional about that, too, right? Having that reset, that refit, that time with family. I'm intentional about that, too. I really will have on the checklist relaxation. That’s important, but there's a way to do it in my book. And it's not confining; it’s actually liberating, because when you do it that way, on a Saturday night, if I've gotten my a hundred points for the week, because that's when it ends, Saturday at midnight-ish—it’s not religious that way either. There have been four times this year when I've been in my gym at two o'clock in the morning just to get my a hundred points, and if you were religious about it and you wanted to be a Pharisee about it--
Marc: Yeah. If you wanted to be a Pharisee about it, though, you can say, But you didn't make it by midnight. And I'm like, Okay, don't talk to me with that noise. We're talking …
Jimmy: In the mornings.
Marc: Exactly. Spirit of the law, right? But what's great about it is, if that has happened, then the next day, when I'm with my kids riding bikes or whatever, I'm not at all thinking I should be doing chin-ups right now or I should be doing a run, or anything like that. I am 100 percent with my kids because I've got my 100 points. So, it's not confining. It's actually extremely liberating.
And it's also liberating in the sense that I do it week by week. So, for example, everything except abs is four days a week, climbing three or four days a week, depending on the week. I have a standard Week A and a standard Week B. At the advanced and elite level, you climb three days one week and four days the next week, so that's how I've got it mapped out. But abs is the only thing I do six days a week. Strength training is four days a week. Functional fitness is four days a week. So, these other things you have four. That means you have three makeup days, so if life takes over on Tuesday for your pull supplemental training workout, right, just do it on Wednesday, no big deal. And my score sheet checkboxes are set up so that it's simply done by the week, so it's like, Okay, your four checkboxes, did you hit them on this?
Now, I do have the week planned out. You can go to another page and see the ideal periodization for these workouts where ideally push should happen on Mondays and Thursdays, and pull should happen ideally on Tuesdays and Fridays. But, my gosh, if Tuesday happens on Wednesday, so what, right?
Marc: So, there is flexibility to that.
Jimmy: Follow the spirit, not necessarily the letter. Gotcha.
Marc: And it's free enough that, I mean, even at the upper end of it where there's a lot of training volume and there's a lot of [39:00.0] content, it's really doable if you map it out by week rather than, hey, by midnight on Tuesday, you have to have done this, this, this and that. I wouldn't want to live my life like that.
The formulas that I built into the spreadsheet, which will be an app that'll be user friendly, the formulas were very complex and there's a lot to it. But for the end user, they're just checking boxes, so it's actually really easy for the end user. They can just follow what's prescribed if they want to be on this plan that I've got, and it really works, so I don't know why you wouldn't. What you have to do is check checkboxes and it gives you points.
And that's really the crux of it that makes it so effective that on those days, because I have them, as much as I enjoy this stuff, I have them, too, where I just want to go to bed and not do the workout. But when I feel like that and it's happened four times this year, when I feel like that, I say to myself, If I do that, then I'm not going to get my 100 points for the week and somebody's going to, a lot of people, in fact, are going to ask me about it, and I want to be able to say, yeah, I’ve got them. So, that's your accountability and that's why it works. I want my 100 points.
Jimmy: So, the people that are doing it, following the Path right now, what are some of the benefits, collateral benefits that they get from doing it? Why else would somebody want to follow the Path? What's some of the major benefits you're getting from it? Besides just the obvious physical side of it, what are some other benefits you get from that?
Marc: A tangible motivation where you haven't mapped out and you know what you have to do for that week to get it done. The clarity of it is something that's really hard to get in society today with all the noise like we talked about earlier, so the clarity of it and then the accountability at the end of it where you're like, I want my 100 points.
Jimmy: Clarity. To me, that's a big deal. You've been able to get clarity because that's hard to do sometimes today. I mean, it really is. I'm really interested in how this will look, applying it to people that want to have a balanced life, especially business owners that get swallowed up in business, but they lose track of what's important.
So, I really would love to see this app, especially how it can be applied to not just fitness, but life. The point system is a good way to kind of look at the scorecard for how you're living.
Marc: And it does that. That's a great thing. In the upper left hand corner, I have the cells frozen that give you your grade for this cycle for this year and your entire life actually based on how compliant with your goals you've been.
So, on my spreadsheet, and this is on a shared drive already, by the way—so it's actually very easy to follow right now even before the app is fully developed. I can simply invite somebody to it with an email address, so that's easy—but the [42:00.0] great thing about it is that you'll see immediate feedback. As soon as you check your checkboxes and it gives you 100 points, if you have the points for that day, it's going to affect your grade.
And this is really important by the way, too, because this is where people get derailed with New Year’s resolutions and this is why they don't work. I mean, everything that we're talking about right now sounds very resolutiony and people kind of groan when they sense that because they have this sense of failure about resolutions. What I'm here to tell you is that there is a reason why people feel that way about it and there is a fix, and there are several books, many books written about it, but when you take all of them and just amalgamate them together into a system, that's what I'm trying to do with this Path system.
The way it works is this, right? First of all, people take on too many goals at once. January 1 rolls around, and by gosh, now they're going to read two books a month and they're going to quit smoking, and they're going to exercise six days a week. And they take on four or five things that are each big and difficult.
Marc: Unsustainable, right. So, number one, every book out there says new habits have to be developed one at a time, right? Tackle them one at a time. And then, it takes 14 to 17 days to make a new habit stick and be a permanent part of your life, so best case, 14 to 17 days later, you've got that new habit. Now it's rocking, so now we go onto another one. Now we quit smoking. We work on that, right? So, we take them, first of all, one at a time, and we don't do that scattershot approach. It doesn't work. You can't do it. Now, I don't like the word “can't,” but if there's a close word for “can’t,” there's one.
But the other part of it is that they are very zero-sum game, very pass-fail about goals, and that's not how life works. There's not a business owner out there. Even the A-listers we've been talking about, every single one of them has an origin story and a backstory that's ugly. Every one of them.
Jimmy: That is true.
Marc: Yeah, and you take a General Patton who saves the world, his career had some wreckage in it, too, and without that wreckage, he wouldn't have been in the right places at the right times to literally save the world. So, honestly you have to embrace that and not think of being perfect as the standard.
Marc: It is. It's progress. And in the military they call it “constantly improve your position.” Bagram Air Force base didn't start off as a big base. I mean, it was Alexander the Great and some people lying in the prone with their weapons facing out on an overnight camp, and then it developed into something else. They built some barricades, and they built something else and something else.
Jimmy: Constantly improve your position out there.
Marc: Constantly improve your position. You said it earlier actually and it resonated with me, too, that even when you [45:00.0] don't feel like you can, you just put one foot in front of the other, and as long as you continue to do that. And you know what? Every now and then, you're going to get pushed back by the wind or some setback, but as soon as you're able just, okay, you're putting another foot in front of the other.
Jimmy: I try to make a point when I have, and I've had plenty of dark days, but I have tried and been fairly successful lately when that happens of finding something I can do that's positive to keep me going forward somehow. Even when it hurts, even when I don't feel like it, it does something for me mentally, like on days when I feel like I’m just sucking wind and I don't feel like going to the gym.
I know it's not all about workouts here, but that's something that helps me to stay. Look, things may be sucking in this area, but at least I went to the gym today. I feel better. Sometimes it might just be going for a walk. Sometimes it could be writing in my journal or doing something, just anything, reading the Bible, having a good prayer time, whatever it is. As long as I am doing something to keep the ball moving forward, and like I said, if it was business, it could be making a phone call, connecting with somebody I haven't connected with in a while. All those things are going to help me keep moving the ball forward, which is a big deal today.
And that's kind of the way I feel about what you're doing with the Path. It's all about keeping yourself moving forward and you've devised a system for people to do that. It sounds like it’s continuing to evolve.
Marc: Yeah, and that's what I mean, too, about the pass-fail, zero-sum game. Quitting smoking, for example, if somebody is struggling with that, they do that on January 1. Okay, that's it, cold turkey, here we go. And then, they say to themselves, two days into it, they have a cigarette and they're like, Ugh, daggammit, there we go. I guess we've messed this up and now I'm a smoker again. No, I mean, you had one cigarette.
On this system that I've got, you've got a point system, right? So, it's like, no, you didn't get an F. You had one cigarette in a seven day period. That's not an F, right? You’ve got a C-minus maybe. Right? If we're in college, working on a degree, which is a positive thing to do, then we wouldn't say that you failed that class. If quitting smoking were a class and you got a C-minus for that week or on that test--
Jimmy: Try to get a C-plus or a B the next week.
Marc: Next week, exactly. So, that's another thing that this system gives you. I'm assigning or giving you a grade that is frozen in the upper left-hand corner for your week, your cycle, your year, your life. Okay? And every time you do something positive and you input it into that cell, that score goes up, and that's nice feedback.
Now, it's also going to go down, which is accountability, if you do the thing you shouldn't do, and that's the motivator that keeps you motivated. It's worked for me. It's very challenging [48:00.0] for me to balance two businesses and family life, and this workout schedule that I'm on, because I'm still training very hard as a climber and an athletic climbing career as a whole separate thing, and so balancing all of those things and then the other stuff, too, that something you will know about.
It's a lot and, for the last six years of these businesses being operational, I had let that overtake the schedule on the workout a lot of times and was not that consistent, and it was really difficult for me. What really motivated me was then I'd go to the Red River Gorge with some famous climber friends and not be at my best every time I saw them, and I just hated it. Hated it because they'd known me for 20-plus years or something, and when you sit there and talk about, ah, business this, whatever that, I mean, it just sounds … I don't have an excuse culture, so I don't like those words coming out of my mouth.
So, that's what motivated me to say, Okay, finally what's going to make me consistent? And there are some key words and you've touched on a couple of them that I want to circle back on, but you could make them hashtags. I mean, these are kind of like key phrases for life, but hashtags. Forward.
You're doing anything challenging, whether it's trying to keep your business afloat, if you can get over that hump in the second or third year, getting to that point, the word that kept popping into my head was forward. Forward. Forward. Just like you're just miserably tired and you're cold, metaphorically we're talking about, but you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Then through the Path this year, right now I am at a 100-point year for 2020 right now. My average for this whole year 2020 is 100 points. I mean, I have not missed a single rep on this workout plan.
And the four times that I've been in my gym and two o'clock in the morning to make sure that I had my a hundred points for the week, it popped into my head that this is kind of ridiculous, my own brain. Yeah, but my own brain responded with, Yeah, but it's ridiculously consistent and that's the key. It’s consistency.
Jimmy: So, even for people that might not necessarily have your tenacity with this, because not everybody's going to have your same level of tenacity and persistence, so for those people, they still can get some huge benefit from this just from the progress, right, that helps you to track?
Marc: Yeah, if you're on this and you get a C-plus, isn't that a thousand times better than being on the couch?
Jimmy: Absolutely, especially the way you're able to grade it, I think definitely helps with accountability. I can see something on social media with this, like a group that is part of this and kind of hold each other accountable for this system, so I think the sky is the limit with that.
Marc: It's all about consistency. Consistency is “the” most effective thing. It's better than the perfect [51:00.0] workout. It's better than the perfect business plan. It's better than anything else. It’s just being consistent. So, that's one of my new hashtags, ridiculous consistency.
Jimmy: That's awesome, man. It’s been very interesting. I feel like we're going to talk more about this at some point.
Jimmy: But how can people get in touch with you, Marc? What's your social media?
Marc: Yeah, I'm on Facebook as Marc Heileman, Marc with a C. M-A-R-C, H-E-I-L-E-M-A-N. More importantly, we're at Treadstone Columbus Climbing Gym, so you can catch us there. And I do have a website, MarcsBasecamp.com, and I would actually steer people. If they wanted to know more about what drives everything else we do, that's really where that stuff is at. That's more the guiding principles.
Jimmy: MarcsBasecamp.com, the foundation for the whole thing.
Marc: It is. There are blog posts there and there are links to other pages where what's nice about MarcsBasecamp.com is that, and that's Marc with a C and there's no apostrophe, of course, because it's the internet, but it's a more free-form place where my IT guy can't keep me in a box. It's where Marc, as the owner …
Jimmy: Can be Marc.
Marc: Yeah, I can be Marc.
Jimmy: Okay. Man, it's been a fascinating discussion. I like hearing about this and we'll have to circle back on this at some point.
Jimmy: But I'm definitely wanting to know when the app is fully developed.
Marc: Yes, so I just wanted to thank you, Jimmy, for having me.
Jimmy: My pleasure.
Marc: Yeah, over at Launch and this is what we call at Treadstone a business that rocks.
Marc: One of our hashtags. We don't bestow that title lightly. There are just a few businesses in town that we consider fellow travelers and A-list mentality folks that we appreciate and we like to be associated with. And we've known you guys for a while, and definitely we love coming over here with our family and spending time over here.
Jimmy: Oh yeah, my daughter loves going to Treadstone. I mean, the people over there that y'all have, the employees, are first-class, and their training and their willingness to help people out, it's really an awesome experience, especially how y'all have expanded your Ninja course over there. It's a lot of fun.
Marc: Yeah, and we like yours, too, and we appreciate the fact that months before you guys put this in, y'all called us concerned about it, and I was like, No, not at all. This is where people are going to get introduced to it. If they go climbing on a climbing wall at a university or a YMCA, and then they come to my place to train hard for climbing and do more training for it. So, they're going to get introduced to ninja here and they're going to have a great time doing it. And we send people over here all the time. In fact, our staff comes over here and does staff days on your ninja course.
Jimmy: We definitely appreciate that and I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to come talk to us. So, anyway, that’s it for now. Thanks again, Marc. I do appreciate your time, man. And everybody out there, y'all have a good day.
Marc: Thanks for having me. [54:00.0]
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