Transcript: Thanks, Allan. This is David Brower with Your 20 Minute Podcast. Our special guest from Scottsdale, Arizona is Tommy Baker. He’s a writer, speaker, author, and coach, host of the Resist Average Academy, and starting out in the fitness industry and running Tommy Baker Fitness, Tommy has continued to follow his passion for learning, teaching, sharing and experiencing. Tommy’s contagious enthusiasm, which you’ll hear in a moment, and approach to life can be seen and felt in the wide array of content he creates, including podcast, books, videos, speeches, and courses. And as Tommy likes to say, “He doesn’t have it all figured out, but he sure loves the process.”
Tommy Baker, welcome to the show, man. Nice to have you here.
Tommy Baker: David, thank you so much for that incredible intro, and hats off to you for getting to 200 episodes, or on your way there. It means you are doing a lot and I’m excited to contribute to your mission.
David Brower: Well thank you, very much. It is fun, there’s no question about it. And as you know, you’ve got well over a hundred podcasts, if I remember right, and that’s really kind of the thing where you like people to start off with, right? Is to go to your podcast and get a feel for who you are, and what you do and how you do it.
Tommy Baker: Yeah, absolutely! Because much like you, I love the podcast platform and I feel like the audio experience is so intimate. So I always tell people if you hop on my podcast, my shows are a little longer than yours, and you stay with me for 60 minutes. You’re either gonna love it, then want to come back immediately or you’ll be on your way. So that’s definitely the best place to immerse in what I do, but so excited to be here today.
David Brower: That’s cool. So, Resist Average Academy. Tell me where the name came from and what it means.
Tommy Baker: Absolutely, yes. That phrase, “resist average”, has been with me for over a decade now, and really what it means is simple, David. Nobody wakes up and says, “I want to be 35 pounds overweight.” Nobody wakes up and says, “I want to lack physical connection and emotional intimacy in my relationship.” Nobody wakes up and says, “I want to be frustrated in my career and spinning my wheels and feeling like I’m at a place that’s just not for me.” So, what does that mean? That the slight average is very, very subtle and it happens with every decision, every day that we make, and so for me, the phrase “resist average” means, we can buck that trend of sliding into mediocrity, and instead, go on the other side, and create a life that we are actually excited and inspired-
David Brower: I love it.
Tommy Baker: … to live. And that’s for all areas of life.
David Brower: Absolutely, love it. The problem with a lot of us is that once we get into mediocrity, once we get into average, sometimes we’ve been there so long we don’t know any different. And we need somebody to kind of kick us in the butt a little bit and get our attention, and that’s what you do, right?
Tommy Baker: Well that’s the danger, David. As humans, we are so adaptable, which is great, because it got us through all of the hardship and adversity to get us here today. But at the same time we can normalize pain. And so, what early on, if let’s say, if we have a financial crisis, or we’re struggling to pay bills, early on, that’s a big issue in our lives. But six months later, if we haven’t changed that, it kind of becomes the new normal, and we kind of become resigned to actually changing it, so you’re absolutely right. It’s very easy to slide into that. And we can find ourselves in a place that we frankly just never imagined we could be.
David Brower: Well, and once you’re in it, you don’t know any different, right?
Tommy Baker: It’s your new normal.
David Brower: It’s your new normal.
Tommy Baker: It shifts your worldview and then it becomes your blind spot, and one of the things that I do is help people reveal their blind spots because we all have them. And one of the funny things about growth, success, and all of that stuff is, it doesn’t mean your blind spots go away. It just means that there’s different blind spots to work with, and to me that becomes the journey.
David Brower: Yeah, good call. And one of the things, well several of the things that you teach and share with people are, you talk with them about habits and systems and structures of high performance, not only in life but in business. So you’re covering both sides of the equation helping people personally, physically, emotionally, and professionally.
Tommy Baker: Yeah, and the reason is simple David. The old model of roads of results and success, whatever you wanna name it was, hey, if I put my energy in one bucket, let’s just say my career, my business, et cetera, et cetera. It means that it has to take away from my relationship at home or my physicality or if I was at the expense of it, I’d say, why don’t we … My definition of success is very holistic and includes all of those things, and it means that we can raise all boats together. Now, does that mean that we’re always going to be putting the same energy in the same buckets? No, no, no, no, but we do everything, and for me, that comes with creating a vision where our financial lives, or our career, our spirituality, our physicality, are all connected towards that vision.
David Brower: Absolutely right, and being able to have somebody mentor you, teach you, encourage you, help you, bring you along the way to sail all those boats if you will. Even though one may drop five or ten feet while the other goes up five or ten feet, keeping focus on those four or five things, and being able to have the balance of that, that’s a very unique place to go and a very important place that you take people.
Tommy Baker: Absolutely, and balance. It happens when you have clarity around priorities in your life and there’s a universal principle that says, nature will fill a vacuum. One of my mentors once taught me, if you don’t fill your days, your life, with high priority things that are important to you, others are gonna fill it with low priority items that are important to them.
So that’s really the first step. We got to do the, sometimes difficult work of asking some deep questions. Why am I here? What’s important to me? What does success look and feel like for me? Once we have clarity on that, David, it’s game over because then we know where we’re going.
David Brower: Absolutely right. I’m thinking back for many, many years of my life, knock on Formica, not so much anymore, but I was focused on being a people pleaser, right? So if I’m a people pleaser, I’m listening to all that other stuff and have really no concept or encouragement or plan to really elevate myself to where I deserve to be.
Tommy Baker: Absolutely. We all are people pleasers by design and often we’re fed a path that isn’t ours. It’s maybe a parent or teacher or just someone said it should be ours and so we start going down that path that deep down we know it’s not really for us. To me, the greatest tragedy is having so much time pass or maybe an entire life, and we wake up and say, “Is this really what I wanted at all?”
David Brower: Right. Right.
Tommy Baker: It’s never too late, in a sense. But in life we have windows of opportunity, so I’m just really about empowering people to ask themselves questions. Not just asking, but seek those answers and then put the pieces together for the life that they want. Not that I want or what anybody else wants, but they want.
David Brower: So how did you find this path or how did this path find you? Where were you before you started all this inspirational stuff? What were you doing and how did you get into this world of motivation, teaching, learning, podcasts, all that stuff?
Tommy Baker: Absolutely. So one of my first passions was physical fitness, was physical training and all of that stuff. I started out as a very young entrepreneur. Straight out of school, I took a really short job and then lost my gym, and opened my gym. But I realized that if you build it, they would not necessarily come. In other words, I had this big lease and this amazing gym; a lot of passion. I was super young, enthusiastic and then I had to learn how to connect with people, how to serve people in a powerful way, how to communicate in terms of what they want.
I call entrepreneurship … Entrepreneurship is just a great accelerator for life because it’s really a playing field where you have to sharpen skills. You have to ask yourself questions. You have to know where you’re going and what the vision for your company is and all that stuff. So long story short, that was my first full ray into this world but what I noticed was after servicing thousands of people, that I could get two people with a very similar background, same age, almost same demographics. One would see incredible results and the other would spin their wheels.
And I knew it wasn’t the program because I’d spent seven years learning from the best in the world, traveling airplanes and seminars. I knew the program worked because I had so many case studies. But I became fascinated with what is the difference? Why do some people see incredible results and some don’t? That led me down the rabbit hole of neuroscience, psychology, studying human behavior, human behavioral change, all of that stuff. That became a really unquenchable thirst, which I still teach today.
David Brower: How exciting, man. I think what you shared there is really important for people to pay attention to and that is when there’s an opportunity that presents itself, even if it’s just a little glimpse through a fifty year old window shade, you got to look at that; you got to appreciate that. You’ve got to allow that to come into your life, just like you did when you had the two guys that were virtually could have been twins, physically, emotionally and everything else, but yet one was all over it and the other one was all out of it. If you hadn’t have seen, felt, touched that opportunity, things wouldn’t be the same, right?
Tommy Baker: Exactly. And that’s why I always tell people, there’s always so much discussion about purpose and passion. I just say, “What are you curious about? What are you already curious about?” For me, I was already curious about what that difference is. I created all of this for me and then the system in the book because out of self preservation, I was the guy going to a lot of motivational events and seminars and crafting this huge vision. Then I would come back two weeks later and I had nothing to show for it.
I was my first case study, right? I wanted to put all of this knowledge together and not just knowledge, but turn it into wisdom, which happens when you take information and knowledge and all that and turn it into experience in real world results that you can touch, feel and see.
David Brower: Absolutely. And you’ve got two books out. One is The 1% Rule: How to Fall in Love with the Process and Achieve Your Wildest Dreams and the other, UnResolution, love the title. How to Ditch Resolutions Forever, Live Life by Design, and Achieve Your Dreams. That’s your latest book, right? UnResolution?
Tommy Baker: You know, 1% came out this March.
David Brower: Oh, okay. Cool. Cool. So how’s the success? How’s the response been to those books?
Tommy Baker: Fantastic. UnResolution was my first book and just like the title says, it was about hey, let’s quit this resolution mentality. I’m going to start … Right now, we’re in, let’s see here, we’re about to hit September. So instead of people starting today, they’re going to wait and put it off until December. And you and I know, David, that a calendar date will do very little to create any chance.
So I wanted to give people a kind of wake up call and say hey, let’s quit this BS. Every time you do that, you’re losing your self-belief, your ability to create results. So that was the theme of UnResolution. The 1% Rule, it was born out of going to so many events with entrepreneurs and people who had big visions, but … And I’m all for setting visions.
It’s a huge part of what I do, but they didn’t know what to do after that, which was the position I found myself in years earlier. Meaning that they’d wake up on a Tuesday morning, maybe they got woken up a couple of times, they didn’t get the best night’s sleep and the vision that they had set three weeks ago at the event, with the loud music was no longer. They didn’t know what to do with that in real life.
So I wanted to create a process to take the pressure off and say what if we just create a mechanism, a system where we move forward 1% towards that vision every single day. One percent closer and you add it up and you add it up. And you and I know, it’s the little things that create momentum, clarity and then if you add enough time to it, they have no option but to come to life. That’s really what I wanted to give people. Let’s take the pressure off because when it’s really small, David, you know, we have no excuse. We either do the action step or we don’t.
A lot of people get lost in paralysis analysis and they have to research more. And they have to go talk to this person. I’m like no, no, no, no. The 1% Rule means the easiest action that you can do today that’s connected to your vision, that you have no other option but not, to just do it head on.
David Brower: So you came up with … I’m going to guess. You came up with the 1% Rule because of your own paralysis analysis.
Tommy Baker: Absolutely. I had gone to so many events and gotten so excited but woken up weeks later and had nothing to show for it but a dented bank account. I knew that these people weren’t snake oil salesmen. I knew the common denominator was me. I was the one going to all the programs and not seeing results. So I decided to create this system out of necessity because I was sick and tired of that.
What I noticed was, when we could really shrink things down and simplify things to the easiest common denominator, we do them. If we say we’re going to run seven miles tomorrow and we haven’t ran in six months, we wake up and the chances of us doing that are minimal. Maybe we do it one day, but we’ll never do it again. But what if I just said you’re going to run a half mile tomorrow and that’s going to be your big win.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Tommy Baker: And after tomorrow, you’re going to do it again. That builds belief. That builds clarity. See, there’s this misconception that I realized that people think clarity is something that falls from the heavens. People think belief is something that hits them when they’re on the couch watching television. It doesn’t work that way. You cultivate those by getting in the game and moving forward towards what you want in the smallest possible ways. That’s what builds those essential ingredients.
David Brower: It goes back to baby steps, is the easiest way for people to translate what you’re saying, I think. It’s just baby steps combined with education, learning and commitment because you’ve got to make that commitment. You’ve got to be willing to take those baby steps. You’ve got to be willing to learn how to take them and that’s where you come in, in helping people get in the right place at the right time and reach the success they didn’t know they could have.
Tommy Baker: And baby steps add up. Baby steps lead to exponential steps. But trying to hit a home run, you know, we say … If it’s your first at bat ever and you’re trying to hit a grand slam at the World Series with the bases loaded, that’s too much pressure. That’s just way too much pressure. But what if I only asked you to get on base once out of four times in that game. And what if there was a bunt, what if all you did was a bunt and you stole a base and you got on base and your batting average was .250? That’s a win.
David Brower: Right. Absolutely.
Tommy Baker: Just the fact that you’re on base is a win and that takes the pressure off, which is really what I wanted to give people. Take the pressure off, celebrate today’s win and tomorrow’s win.
David Brower: I think your baseball analogy is perfect because some of the most celebrated players in history had batting averages of .250, .260. You know what I mean?
Tommy Baker: Absolutely. And here’s why they were great: Because they were able to sustain that for a decade.
David Brower: Exactly. Exactly right. And they did it through coaching, learning, motivation, commitment, trial and error, all the things that you’re talking about.
Fascinating what you do, man, and you are so connected with your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, podcast, all that stuff. And folks, all you have to remember is Resist Average Academy and even if you just do a search for Resist Average, you’re going to find Tommy everywhere on the planet. What’s your next big adventure? Are you traveling, speaking, are you waiting for new clients to rip down your door? What are you doing?
Tommy Baker: I just got back from a big travel where I proposed to my amazing girlfriend, now my fiancee, so that’s done.
David Brower: Whoa, congratulations.
Tommy Baker: Thank you so much. But actually for the rest … I actually have started my next writing project and that’s really what I’m immersing myself in right now. Really in the early phase of a lot of research and a lot of taking time to think and write here and there, but I create content every single day. So anybody that wants to check it out, the Search Resist Average Academy podcast writing, you’ll see it on there. But that’s my next big thing, just going back in the trenches to create some new stuff.
David Brower: When you go to the website folks, it’s Resist Average Academy Knowledge Inspiration and Action, which are three key words to what you do and how you do it. Live life on fire, strategic design that allows you the freedom, fulfillment and impact you were destined to create. I think destined is a cool word because oftentimes we don’t think we deserve … We don’t deserve to take that exponential step. We’re just going to get stuck in baby steps for a long time.
Tommy Baker: A hundred percent. And the greatest separator of those who achieve results long term is exactly what you said. This issue of deserving, this issue of unworthy enough for that. That really starts inside the mind but it has to be cultivated and has to be nourished. It’s my belief that we can all create the life that really calls us. The question is are we willing to take the path that’s downtrodden, that’s a little jagged, might have some cliffs in there, might be a little scary, but on the other side of that is a deep level of fulfillment which is what I’m here for.
I’m not here for the nice toys. I’m not here for the car. All of that stuff is nice, but what I’m here is for that thrill to give this experience meaning. And at the end of the day, we’re all here to give our lives meaning and that’s the path, for me at least, that is the fastest … The deepest way to get there, that’s going to last the test of time.
David Brower: Perfectly said. Perfectly said. Folks, you got to reach out to Tommy and the website, again, is … Where did it go? resistaverageacademy.com and again, he’s everywhere on social media so reach out to him, follow him on all the social media and just go to the website. You’re going to learn a ton from the website and then you can communicate with him personally if you feel the need and we hope you do.
Tommy, thank you so much for the time. It’s flown by and we covered a lot of stuff and I loved it a lot, man. Really nice job.
Tommy Baker: David, my pleasure. You’re doing big things and I’m so excited to be a part of the mission.
David Brower: Thank you, bud. Take care.
Allan Blackwell: Your 20 minute podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found, including iHeartRadio, the Spotify mobile app and at davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.
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