DMV CEOHealthy CEOI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM774- Founder Makes Strength Training With a Barbell Accessible in the DMV

Podcast Interview with Maddie Watkins

Maddie Watkins is the owner and founder of 202strong, a local fitness studio in the DMV that specializes in making strength training, specifically with the barbell accessible to those who might feel they “can't” lift or aren't strong enough to lift a barbell. Maddie left her background in genetics and microbiology to pursue a personal training certification after she graduated college in early 2010 after discovering the barbell herself and how feeling strong completely changed herself and her life. 202strong opened in 2015 and today there are 2 locations plus a newly added virtual program, StrongLine.

  • CEO Hack: Being true to myself
  • CEO Nugget: Don't get so caught up in the anxiety or fear but embrace that as a learning opportunity
  • CEO Defined: Being a good leader, having a vision, and empowering your team

Website: http://202strong.com

Instagram: @202_strong
@maddie202strong

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maddie202strong

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Transcription

 

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[00:00:02.20] – Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:29.80] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gretch from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Maddie Watkins of 202strong. Maddie, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:38.70] – Maddie Watkins

Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

[00:00:41.00] – Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jump in, I wanna read a little bit more about Maddie so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. Maddie is the owner and founder of 202Strong, a local fitness studio in the DMV that specializes in making strength training specifically with the barbell accessibility to those who might feel they can't lift or aren't strong enough to lift a barbell. Maddie left her background in genetics and microbiology to pursue a personal training certificate after graduating in graduating college in early twenty ten after discovering the barbell herself and how feeling strong completely changed herself and her life. Too Strong opened in twenty fifteen, and today, there are two locations plus a newly added virtual program, Strongline. Maddie, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:25.29] – Maddie Watkins

I am. I look forward to it.

[00:01:26.70] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to, kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more about how you got started your background, and your CEO story. We'll let you get started with your business.

[00:01:35.29] – Maddie Watkins

Yeah. So like I said, about ten years ago when I graduated college, I had this, you know, goal of getting a PhD in genetics and studying science, but I was always active in working out in the gym. And I had found the barbell from a personal trainer And I just decided, you know what? I think I'm gonna get my personal training certification and work at my local gym. So I told my parents, they're kinda like, okay. Sure.

[00:02:02.70] – Gresham Harkless

Not what we expected.

[00:02:05.00] – Maddie Watkins

Right They're like, you always have this degree you can fall back on. And I said, I know. I know. But I really wanna do this. So I, you know, became a personal trainer and I worked with primarily women in their fifties, and I taught them how to deadlift and squat and do pull-ups and I just loved it. I loved seeing their transformation and bringing the barbell to this community of people who wouldn't typically lift it. And so then fast forward five years, I decided I wanted to expand that community and create an environment where more people could come in and lift and, you know, find their strength, which is our motto. And just be exposed to the barbell because it's it's intimidating. It's scary. If you don't know what you're doing, you can't just pick it up and start lifting, really. So that's what inspired Too Strong to come to fruition.

[00:03:01.40] – Gresham Harkless

Nice. I absolutely love that. And it kinda even sounds like and definitely correct me if I'm wrong, but the barbell kinda sounds like it's it's definitely symbolic from being in creating that, that before and after, so to speak, that that transition period. And it sounds like with all that knowledge and the the experience that you have, you've been able to kinda help your clients be able to do that and do that within the community.

[00:03:20.00] – Maddie Watkins

Yeah. Absolutely. And it's the most rewarding part of the job is seeing those transformations.

[00:03:25.80] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Seeing and being a part of that growth is definitely, something something, and being able to kinda see that strong as you get kinda said as well. So, I want I wanted to drill down a little bit. I know you talked a little bit more about the community. Can you take us through a little bit more about 202strong and what you do to kinda help support the community and clients you work with?

[00:03:45.59] – Maddie Watkins

Yeah. So we are group fitness classes. Classes. So we bring the barbell into that group fitness space, and our classes are a smaller group size, so twelve to fifteen. We really wanna bring that personalization, that experience into our classes. So when you think two or two strong, you think of the place where I walk in, I know I'm gonna get help with my form, I know I'm gonna learn how to lift, and I'm gonna feel safe doing so. Safe in terms of with your form, but also safe with the people around you. They're not gonna judge you. It doesn't matter what you look like, what your background is, and really creating that experience for the fitness community, to add that strength component because it's so important and it's so rewarding and empowering, but, people can find every excuse of why they think they're not good enough or strong enough to lift the barbell.

[00:04:46.89] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. So that's why I love kind of, like, obviously, you see the fitness transformation, but it kinda even sounds like you have that, I guess, individual or self-transformation as well too, where a lot of times I've always felt like sometimes the best thing you can do is if you feel like you can't do something. But if, obviously, you have people around you to help you do that and be able to get over that hurdle, it helps out obviously in fitness but in so many aspects of our life.

[00:05:10.19] – Maddie Watkins

Totally. And that's how the barbell changed my life and why I decided to become a personal trainer because it's so much more than the physical. You know, you can add weight to your deadlift, for example. But when you add that confidence into knowing what you can and cannot do and build that personal resiliency, that's that's the magic right there. Yeah. Absolutely. And it's kinda like what your parents said,

[00:05:32.69] – Gresham Harkless

you know, about your degree. Once you have that confidence and you get over that hurdle, that's something that no one can kinda take away from you. So once you have that foundation, you can do, you know, so many different things.

[00:05:43.39] – Maddie Watkins

Yeah. Totally.

[00:05:44.69] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce, and this could be for you or your business or a combination of both. But what do you feel kinda of sets you apart and makes you unique?

[00:05:54.89] – Maddie Watkins

It's definitely creating that full experience. So the experience, it's not just a workout. It's not just a gym. But, you know, being in the service industry, we are in the industry of creating experiences. So from the moment someone walks into the door to the moment they leave. You know, how can we let leave our customers with a certain feeling, that they remember and that they tie into 202strong? You know, so saying people's names, getting to know them, The simple way of how you can critique someone's form and not over correct someone, but you know encourage them and help them find they're strong and realize that they can do this in a nice way, but also then adding that challenge and let's challenge you and lets like adding a little bit of friendly competition and so the whole experience, is really what makes 202strong and the secret behind that is your team of coaches. So your team has to believe in it, they have to live it, and then they have to provide that to every single class. And so, you know, whether it's hiring because I've had my fair share of good hires and not as good hires, but hiring the people who you know believe in the mission or believe in what you're doing and then training them to properly teach the deadlift. Right? So cultivating that team experience is, I think, the most important. And who Yeah. Who helps you deliver your brand and your product?

[00:07:38.50] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. It's it's that's absolutely powerful. And I and I definitely feel like anybody who's hired for sometimes more than, one person has experienced the ups and downs of sometimes finding the the right fit. But I think what you spoke to, at least what I hear, is creating that culture and that environment. When you have that culture and that environment on the people that do fit your team fit and they stay and they blossom, and then it starts to kind of bleed or go to the people that come through the doors. You start to get that really great experience. And when you were talking as well too, I thought of this quote where, you know, people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. And being able to kinda say their names, be able to kinda correct, you know, their form and do it in a way where you feel like you're being helped towards reaching your goals is definitely something that's powerful.

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[00:08:20.30] – Maddie Watkins

Totally. And I've learned one thing with hiring, you know, you can have someone who's the most knowledgeable in the industry. They have all the credentials And then you might have someone who might not know, you know, or have as much experience, but they have that desire to learn their their personality is spot on. You can teach the knowledge, you can't teach the personality.

[00:08:51.60] – Maddie Watkins

And that, I think, goes into a big part of creating that branded experience, so that it's universal for every class.

[00:09:02.10] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And, again, it starts to trickle through and, you know, having those coachable people, so to speak. But, you know, sometimes and I say this often we forget when we look at business. Obviously, you have to make sure you know your metrics. You make sure you know your numbers and all those things, but we often forget of that people part, whether it be the people that are on our team or the people that we're serving. And forgetting, that, sometimes we're missing the boat on how we're delivering those experiences that you spoke to and people get when they come into your environment.

[00:09:27.89] – Maddie Watkins

Totally. And for me in the fitness industry, it's the people. People in this thing.

[00:09:32.50] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. People first. And, so I wanted to, switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:09:45.70] – Maddie Watkins

It's kinda it's a different one. It's not really like a book, but it's always coming back to being true to myself. So I think it's really easy to get lost in the noise, to get lost in the competition, into what everyone else is doing. And so when I come back to being true to my self and what I want to do what Tuohu Strong is about and why I started this business to begin with, it sets me on the right path again.

[00:10:15.60] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget, and this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

[00:10:26.79] – Maddie Watkins

Yes. So I would tell my younger business self or someone who's maybe starting out to not get so caught up in the anxiety you might be feeling or the fear and to instead embrace that and use it as amazing learning opportunities.

[00:10:45.29] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So, Maddie, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:10:56.29] – Maddie Watkins

To me, being a CEO means being a leader. So being a leader in my community, for my team, and for the members that come to my gym, because someone has to be at the top. Someone has to kind of run the show, make the decisions, and guide where the business is going. But ultimately, and it kind of goes back to what I've touched on before, being a good leader and empowering your team empowers them to really believe in the community. And it just fosters this sense of a place where people want to be and they want to be part of. And if I don't inspire my team to grow and to become better, then they're just gonna plateau, and then the members kind of feel that plateau. So, you know, I look at it I'm kind of we're all together. We all work together. I'm not better than anyone. I don't sit above anyone, but being CEO is having the vision, being able to run with the vision, but then leading everyone to kind of follow along and be their best selves along the way.

[00:12:16.39] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. I absolutely love that. And I think, you know when you take on the challenge and the incredible responsibility of starting and leading, you know, a team and and and, obviously, the the the clients and customers we work with as well too, leadership is definitely a part of it. And I love that empowerment piece that you kinda spoke to as well too too because I think true leadership empowers others to be their best selves, to find their strong, so to speak as well too. And I think when we start to understand that, we start to, practice that in every action that we take and thoughts that we have, then it really starts to create that really phenomenal experience.

[00:12:46.60] – Maddie Watkins

Yeah. And, really, without that, I mean, you can crunch numbers all day, you can write a business plan all you want. I'm clearly not a numbers person, I'm a people person. But you you can have the best numbers in the world, but if you don't have, you know, a team that wants to be part of that, what do the numbers mean really? Unless your business is a one-man show, which there absolutely are some that are. But for me, you know, I can't do everything myself. I need awesome people to run this show with me.

[00:13:19.10] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And I think that again is a, you know, a great show of leadership as well too. Because I always say, you know, know, to start a business, you gotta have to have that ego to believe that I can create this and make this successful. But at the same time, you have to have, that ego that's small enough or or not as large enough to understand that I can't do everything. I'm not an expert at everything. So it's so important to have so many strong pieces and team members and organizations, sometimes even to partner with in place to make sure, we we all reach our vision.

[00:13:48.00] – Maddie Watkins

Right. And because we need to collaborate. You need to find people whose strengths are your weaknesses and being able to identify your weaknesses and say, like you said, like, I I'm not good at this. I need someone who's really awesome, who wants to work with me to, you know, master this part that I'm not as good at.

[00:14:06.89] – Gresham Harkless

Exactly. Exactly. And I think we all have our lanes as I kinda talked about as well too and understanding that it helps us to to kinda stay true to our mission and and lean more into the things that we are, really great at and our gifts, so to speak. And when we can do that, then I think everything reaches another level.

[00:14:22.39] – Maddie Watkins

Yeah. Agreed. Totally.

[00:14:25.20] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Maddie, truly appreciate that definition and that perspective. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional. You can let our readers and listeners know and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about the virtual programs, the in-person programs, and all the awesome things that you're working on.

[00:14:43.60] – Maddie Watkins

Yeah. I mean, the last thing I would say is whatever industry you're in, be a well-educated consumer of that industry, so you know what you're, like, in. So for fitness, I like to know all the different studios in DC and everything that's going on, but don't get caught up in that, like stay in your lane, do you go back to being like why you started this, and just kinda let the competition just not even be your focus because it's really easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and everyone else's Instagram posts and things like that. That would be my last tidbit.

[00:15:25.20] – Gresham Harkless

Nice. Nice. Nice. And people that wanna get a hold of you, what's the best way?

[00:15:28.70] – Maddie Watkins

So Instagram, Maddie 202strong. And then we started this online fitness program, so you don't have to be in DC to join, and that is Strongline Fitness on Instagram. So or 202strong on Instagram. Definitely reach out, say hi, and send me a message. I'm always down to chat and get to know people.

[00:15:48.70] – Gresham Harkless

Nice. I definitely appreciate that, Maddie. We will have the links and information in the show notes as well too, and I definitely appreciate that reminder as well too. I think, obviously, you want to always make sure that you're an expert or very knowledgeable about what's going on in our industries and what's happening, what people are doing. But, again, you kinda have to stay true to your why and stay true to that lane that we have and be able to kinda create that awareness. But staying true to ourselves is definitely, a balance in that with something that, when you're able to do it well, you really can, take things to another level.

[00:16:17.39] – Maddie Watkins

Totally.

[00:16:18.50] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Definitely appreciate you, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

[00:16:22.60] – Outro

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Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Title: Transcript - Thu, 09 May 2024 14:16:54 GMT

Date: Thu, 09 May 2024 14:16:54 GMT, Duration: [00:16:58.36]

[00:00:02.20] - Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, start ups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkness values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO CEO podcast.

[00:00:29.80] - Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gretch from the I am CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Maddie Watkins of 02:02 Strong. Maddie, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:38.70] - Maddie Watkins

Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

[00:00:41.00] - Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jump in, I wanna read a little bit more about Maddie so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Maddie is the owner and founder of 02:02 Strong, a local fitness studio in the DMV that specializes in making strength training specifically with the with barbell accessibility to those who might feel they can't lift or aren't strong enough to lift a barbell. Maddie left her background in genetics and microbiology to pursue a personal training certificate after graduating in graduating college in early twenty ten after discovering the barbell herself and how feeling strong completely changed herself and her life. Too Too Strong opened in twenty fifteen, and today, there are two locations plus a newly added virtual program, Strongline. Maddie, are you ready to speak to the IMCL community?

[00:01:25.29] - Maddie Watkins

I am. I look forward to it.

[00:01:26.70] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to, kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more on how you got started and your background and your CEO story. We'll let you get started with your business.

[00:01:35.29] - Maddie Watkins

Business? Yeah. So like I said, about ten years ago when I graduated college, I had this, you know, goal of getting a PhD in genetics and studying science, but I was always active in working out in the gym. And I had found the barbell from a personal trainer And I just decided, you know what? I think I'm gonna get my personal training certification and work at my local gym. So I told my parents, they're kinda like, okay. Sure.

[00:02:02.70] - Gresham Harkless

Not what we expected. Right.

[00:02:05.00] - Maddie Watkins

They're like, you always have this degree you can fall back on. And I said, I know. I know. But I really wanna do this. So I, you know, became a personal trainer and I worked with primarily women in their fifties, and I taught them how to deadlift and squat and do pull ups and I just loved it. I loved seeing their transformation and bringing the barbell to this community of people who wouldn't typically lift. And so then fast forward five years, I decided I wanted to expand that community and create an environment where more people could come in and lift and, you know, find their strong, which is our motto. And just be exposed to the barbell because it's it's intimidating. It's scary. If you don't know what you're doing, you can't just pick it up and start lifting, really. So that's what inspired Too Too Strong to come into fruition.

[00:03:01.40] - Gresham Harkless

Nice. I absolutely love that. And it kinda even sounds like and definitely correct me if I'm wrong, but the barbell kinda sounds like it's it's definitely symbolic from being in creating that, that before and after, so to speak, that that transition period. And it sounds like with all that knowledge and the the experience that you have, you've been able to kinda help your clients be able to do that and do that within the community.

[00:03:20.00] - Maddie Watkins

Yeah. Absolutely. And it's the most rewarding part of the job is seeing those transformations.

[00:03:25.80] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Seeing and and and being a part of that growth is definitely, something something, phenomenal and being able to kinda see that strong as you get kinda said as well too. So, I want I wanted to to drill down a little bit. I know you talked a little bit more about the community. Can you take us through a little bit more about 02:02 Strong and what you do to kinda help support the community and clients you work with?

[00:03:45.59] - Maddie Watkins

Yeah. So we are group fitness classes. Classes. So we bring the barbell into that group fitness space, and our classes are a smaller group size, so twelve to fifteen. We really wanna bring that personalization, that experience into our classes. So when you think two or two strong, you think of the place where I walk in, I know I'm gonna get help with my form, I know I'm gonna learn how to lift, and I'm gonna feel safe doing so. Safe in terms of with your form, but also safe with the people around you. They're not gonna judge you. It doesn't matter what you look like, what your background is, and really creating that experience for the fitness community, to add that strength component because it's so important and it's so rewarding and empowering, but, people can find every excuse of why they think they're not good enough or strong enough to lift the barbell.

[00:04:46.89] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. So that's why I love kind of, like, obviously, you see the the fitness transformation, but it kinda even sounds like you have that, I guess, individual or self transformation as well too, where a lot of times I've always felt like sometimes the the best thing you can do is if you feel like you can't do something. But if, obviously, you have people around you to help you do that and be able to get over that hurdle, it helps out obviously in fitness but in so many aspects of our life.

[00:05:10.19] - Maddie Watkins

Totally. And that's how the barbell changed my life and why I decided to become a personal trainer, because it's so much more than the physical. You know, you can add weight to your deadlift, for example. But when you add that confidence into knowing what you can and cannot do and build that personal resiliency, that's that's the magic right there. Yeah. Absolutely. And it's kinda like what your parents said,

[00:05:32.69] - Gresham Harkless

you know, about your degree. Once you have that confidence and you get over that hurdle, that's something that no one can kinda take away from you. So once you have that foundation, you can do, you know, so many different things.

[00:05:43.39] - Maddie Watkins

Yeah. Totally.

[00:05:44.69] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce, and this could be for you or your business or a combination of both. But what do you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique?

[00:05:54.89] - Maddie Watkins

It's definitely creating that full experience. So the experience, it's not just a workout. It's not just a gym. But, you know, being in the service industry, we are in the industry of creating experiences. So from the moment someone walks into the door to the moment they leave. You know, how can we let leave our customers with a certain feeling, that they remember and that they tie into 02:02 Strong? You know, so saying people's names, getting to know them, The simple way of how you can critique someone's form and not over correct someone, but you know encourage them and help them find their strong and realize that they can do this in a a nice way, but also then adding that challenge and let's challenge you and let's like add a little bit of friendly competition and so the whole experience, is really what makes 02:02 strong and the secret behind that is your team of coaches. So your team has to believe in it, they have to live it, and then they have to provide that to every single class. And so, you know, whether it's hiring because I've had my fair share of good hires and not as good hires, but hiring the people who you know believe in the mission or believe in what you're doing and then training them to properly teach the deadlift. Right? So cultivating that team experience is, I think, the most important. And who Yeah. Who helps you deliver your brand and your product?

[00:07:38.50] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. It's it's that's absolutely powerful. And I and I definitely feel like anybody who's hired for sometimes more than, one person has experienced the ups and downs of sometimes finding the the right fit. But I think what you spoke to, at least what I hear, is creating that culture and that environment. When you have that culture and that environment on the the people that do fit your team fit and they stay and they they blossom, and then it starts to kind of bleed or or go to the people that come through the doors. You start to get that really great experience. And and when when you were talking as well too, I I I thought of this quote where, you know, people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. And being able to kinda say their names, be able to kinda correct, you know, their form and do it in a way where you feel like you're you're being helped towards reaching your goals is definitely something that's powerful.

[00:08:20.30] - Maddie Watkins

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Totally. And I've learned one thing with hiring, you know, you can have someone who's the most knowledgeable in the industry. They have all the credentials And then And then you might have someone who might not know, you know, or have as much experience, but they have that desire to learn their their personality is spot on. You can teach the knowledge, you can't teach the personality.

[00:08:49.89] - Gresham Harkless

And

[00:08:51.60] - Maddie Watkins

that, I think, goes into a big part of creating that branded experience, so that it's universal for every class.

[00:09:02.10] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And and, again, it it starts to trickle through and, you know, having those coachable people, so to speak. But, you know, sometimes and I I say this often that we forget when we look at business. Obviously, you have to make sure you know your metrics. You make sure you know your numbers and all those things, but we often forget of that people part, whether it be the people that's on our team or the people that we're serving. And and forgetting, that, sometimes we're missing the boat on how we're delivering those experiences that you spoke to and people get, when they come into your environment.

[00:09:27.89] - Maddie Watkins

Totally. And for me in the fitness industry, it's the people. People in this thing.

[00:09:32.50] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. People first. And, so I wanted to, switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:09:45.70] - Maddie Watkins

It's kinda it's a different one. It's not really like a book, but it's always coming back to being true to myself. So I think it's really easy to get lost in the noise, to get lost in the competition, into what everyone else is doing. And so when I come back to being true to me and what I want to do and what Tuohu Strong is about and why I started this business to begin with, it sets me on the right path again.

[00:10:15.60] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget, and this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

[00:10:26.79] - Maddie Watkins

Yes. So I would tell my younger business self or someone who's maybe starting out to not get so caught up in the anxiety you might be feeling or the fear, and to instead embrace that and use it as amazing learning opportunities.

[00:10:45.29] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote unquote CEOs on the show. So, Maddie, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:10:56.29] - Maddie Watkins

To me, being a CEO means being a leader. So being a leader in my community, for my team, for the members that come to my gym, because someone has to be at the top. Someone has to kind of run the show, make the decisions, and guide where the business is going. But ultimately, and it kind of goes back to what I've touched on before, being a good leader and empowering your team empowers them to really believe in the community. And it just fosters this sense of of of a place where people want to be and they want to be part of. And if I don't inspire my team to grow and to become better, then they're just gonna plateau, and then the members kind of feel that plateau. So, you know, I look at it I'm kind of we're all together. We all work together. I'm not better than anyone. I don't sit above anyone, but being CEO is having the vision, being able to run with the vision, but then leading everyone to kind of follow along and be their best selves along the way.

[00:12:16.39] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. I absolutely love that. And I think, you know, when you take on the challenge and the incredible responsibility of starting and leading, you know, a team and and and, obviously, the the the clients and customers we work with as as well too, leadership is definitely a part of it. And I love that empowerment piece that you kinda spoke to as well too too because I think true leadership empowers others to be their best selves, to find their strong, so to speak as well too. And I think when we start to understand that, we start to, practice that in every action that we take and thoughts that we have, then it really starts to create that really phenomenal experience.

[00:12:46.60] - Maddie Watkins

Yeah. And, really, without that, I mean, you can crunch numbers all day, you can write a business plan all you want. I'm clearly not a numbers person, I'm a people person. But you you can have the best numbers in the world, but if you don't have, you know, a team that wants to be part of that, what does the numbers mean really? Unless your business is a one man show, which there absolutely are some that are. But for me, you know, I can't do everything myself. I need awesome people to run this show with me.

[00:13:19.10] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And I I think that again is a is a, you know, great show of leadership as well too. Because I always say, you know, know, to start a business, you gotta have to have that ego to believe that I can create this and make this successful. But at the same time, you have to have, that ego that's small enough or or not as large enough to understand that I can't do everything. I'm not the expert at everything. So it's so important to have so many strong pieces and team members and and and organizations, sometimes even to partner with in place to make sure, we we all reach our vision.

[00:13:48.00] - Maddie Watkins

Right. And because we need to collaborate. You need to find people whose strengths are your weaknesses and being able to identify your weaknesses and say, like you said, like, I I'm not good at this. I need someone who's really awesome, who wants to work with me to, you know, master this part that I'm not as good at.

[00:14:06.89] - Gresham Harkless

Exactly. Exactly. And I think we all have our lanes as I kinda talked about as well too and understanding that it helps us to to kinda stay true to our mission and and lean more into the things that we are, really great at and our gifts, so to speak. And when we can do that, then I think everything reaches a another

[00:14:22.39] - Maddie Watkins

level. Yeah. Agreed. Totally.

[00:14:25.20] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Maddie, truly appreciate that definition and that perspective. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional. You can let our readers and listeners know and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about the virtual programs, the the in person programs, and all the awesome things that you're working on.

[00:14:43.60] - Maddie Watkins

Yeah. I mean, the last thing I would say is whatever industry you're in, be a well educated consumer of that industry, so you know what you're, like, in. So for fitness, I like to know all the different studios in DC and everything that's going on, but don't get caught up in that, like stay in your lane, do you go back to being like why you started this, and just kinda let the competition just not even be your focus because it's really easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and everyone else's Instagram posts and things like that. That would be my last tidbit.

[00:15:25.20] - Gresham Harkless

Nice. Nice. Nice. And people that wanna get a hold of you, what's the best way?

[00:15:28.70] - Maddie Watkins

So Instagram, Maddie 02:02 Strong. And then we started this online fitness program, so you don't have to be in DC to join, and that is Strongline Fitness on Instagram. So or 02:02 Strong on Instagram. Definitely reach out, say hi, send me a message. I'm always down to to chat and get to know people.

[00:15:48.70] - Gresham Harkless

Nice. I definitely appreciate that, Maddie. We will have the links and information in the show notes as well too, and I definitely appreciate that reminder as well too. I think, obviously, you want to always make sure that you're an expert or very knowledgeable about what's going on in our industries and what's happening, what people are doing. But, again, you kinda have to stay true to your why and stay true to that lane that we have and being able to kinda create that awareness. But stay true to ourselves is definitely, a balance in that with something that, when you're able to do it well, you really can, take things to another level.

[00:16:17.39] - Maddie Watkins

Totally.

[00:16:18.50] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Definitely appreciate you, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

[00:16:22.60] - Outro

you for listening to the I am CEO podcast powered by Blue sixteen Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO dot c o. I am CEO CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five star rating. Grab CEO Gear at w w w dot CEO gear dot c o. This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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