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It’s All About Soul

“It’s All About Soul”
By Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, NCTMB,
Founder of Fitness Quest 10, San Diego, CA

Billy Joel has a famous song called “All About Soul.” I love that song. I think having “soul” is one of the keys to creating the joy, passion, and significance we all search for in the game of life.

As I sit here and reminisce about the past, I can’t help but be inspired about the future. Let me share some of my “soul” as we launch into the next decade of my business, Fitness Quest 10. Just yesterday, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Fitness Quest 10 by throwing a big party. And wow, what a party we had! I had such a great time leading a workout class for over 100 people, doing a motivational talk, having a cooking demonstration, and just connecting with hundreds of great people throughout the day. It was a great way to celebrate 10 years in business.

When I opened the center in January 2000, I really was young, naïve, and inexperienced. But, I was also filled with wide-eyed enthusiasm, and excited as heck to get started in a new phase of my life: business owner!

There have been many highlights and celebrations in our first 10 years. Here are a few of my favorites:

* Growth in the FQ10 staff from 1 (me) to 35 team members today
* Growth of our facility from the original 2,000 square feet to over 8,000 square feet today
* Getting married to Melanie in 2001 and enjoying the blessings of our 3 kids (Luke, 7; Brady, 4.5; McKenna, 1.5) who are healthy, full of energy and the apple of their Daddy’s eyes.
* Creating my 1st DVD (Optimal Performance Bodywork) and building up to a library of over 30 titles today
* Landing my first pro-athlete, LaDainian Tomlinson, and forging a relationship with him that transcends any “ordinary” client/trainer appreciation. LaDainian is a very special human being, someone I greatly admire and respect as a role model for kids and athletes alike
* Receiving the 2004 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year award and the 2005 ACE Personal Trainer of the Year award
* Working with Drew Brees as a client, and helping him through a major shoulder injury that threatened his career as an NFL quarterback. To have Drew earn Comeback Player of the Year and NFL MVP-runner-up (to his training partner, LaDainian Tomlinson) in 2006 was extra-special and to see what he has done this year brings me great pride. (Drew was just this weekend named the NFL MVP-runner-up to Peyton Manning)
* Presenting to the fitness industry at Perform Better and IDEA conferences, amongst others, is an honor and privilege
* Being named Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council and being the Council’s first sponsored facility in the US
* Starting and running a Mastermind Group of trainers from around the country – some of the best and brightest minds in the health and fitness industry
* Being named a Top 10 Gym in the US by Men’s Health in 2009
* Appearing in a national television commercial campaign with Under Armour

This is a wonderful collection of achievements we have shared over the last ten years, but it is what I do day in and day out that brings me my greatest satisfaction. I love working with my regular Joes and Janes who strive for their personal best. I love working with my athletes. I love teaching boot camp and functional fitness classes, and I LOVE just to be at Fitness Quest 10. As we celebrate our 10-year anniversary, I am honored to say that we still work with 23 of our original clients from our first year in business.

For those of you who read my monthly feature articles, you know that for the last couple of months, I’ve been indulging myself in a trip down memory lane. It’s been fun to re-live memories from 10 years ago. Building the center and everything in it has been a true labor of love. I n my thoughts, I liken Fitness Quest 10 to a lighthouse because lighthouses attract boats that have gone astray. They are beacons of light to provide direction. I love that Fitness Quest 10 acts as a lighthouse and represents positive energy and positive attitude for all those who seek it here. The outcome is an overall vibe and energy that are contagious.

This is partly why, when I am asked about the key to our success at FQ10, I tell people honestly that the key to finding success is NOT to chase it. I believe the key to success is to find significance in your daily work. When you are connected spiritually to a purpose and not afraid to live out that purpose, I believe you find the right path and the truth of your life.

I’ll share with you a story I heard recently about three stone-masons who worked side-by-side building a church. When they were asked about their work, the first mason said, “I am cutting stone.” The second mason said, “I am building a cathedral.” The third mason said, “I am serving God.” What a great way to recognize significance in your daily work. When you know in your heart that you are serving a greater purpose and that the work you do has real meaning for yourself and others, your commitment and energy are focused in ways previously unimaginable. I have a friend who goes to work every day to “lead others to greatness.” Along the way, he reads and writes emails, sits in meetings and takes calls, just like the rest of us. But, he doesn’t define himself by these routine activities. He sees that there is a larger purpose to his work, possibly a purpose beyond the goals of the organization.

What about you? Have you found significance in your daily life? Do you put your whole heart and SOUL into your work? To have “soul” is to have everything, for it is the confidence within you about who you are, what you care about and what you deeply believe in. And, when you lead with your soul, you are your most authentic self and best able to face the highs and lows of daily living. I’ve been focused on our 10-year celebration of late, but it is important to know that the last 10 years have not always been easy. Just like you, I have had my share of obstacles and challenges along the way. It hasn’t always been victories and celebrations. I remember how scared I was 10 years ago. I remember how scared I was during our major expansion when I had to stick my neck out and put my house, my car and everything I own on the line. I had to dig deep to find the confidence to pursue my dreams.

Dig Deep. I say it to my athletes all the time. Now is the time to dig deep. “Playoff time is going to heat up and everything is going to get faster. It’s time to dig deep.” When you face challenges and struggles (for some, just making it through another day), you make it through because you dig deep – all the way to your bedrock sense of self – in other words, your soul.

Stop everything for a minute and begin to think about how and where the principle of “digging deep” applies to you. Who is the most authentic you? What is your bedrock sense of self? These are questions that can’t go unanswered. As part of my 2010 strategic planning and coaching, one of the questions posed to me was, “Who am I?” Have you ever really thought about this? Have you ever written out your answer?

This is…WHO I AM:

I am a motivated and inspired soul, constantly striving to be the BEST. I am a husband, father, son and brother. I am a fitness entrepreneur who has a tough time hitting the “off” switch. I strive for greatness in all areas of my life. God blessed me with the gifts to educate, motivate and inspire people to optimal levels of performance. I enjoy other people’s success as much as my own. I have an insatiable appetite for my work and the desire always to be better by staying focused on constant improvement…”always restless…never satisfied.” I also have a thing for inspirational quotes…”and then some…”

2010 is a big year for Fitness Quest 10 and for me. My mentor, Wayne Cotton, told me that businesses run in 10-year cycles. This puts me in “re-creation” mode this year. As blessed and humbled as I am by the realization of my dream, I feel so excited about what the future holds. Most of all, I feel an on-going call to service. This is the significance of my daily life. I am of service to others, and like stone-mason number three, I too serve God.

We are all searching for significance as much as success. This year will be dedicated to continuing to serving and making other people’s lives better. When all is said and done, I want my dash to read, “Well done good and faithful servant…you helped to transform lives; you brought out the BEST in others; you were committed, you connected and you conditioned your life for significance. You led a life of IMPACT.”

That’s it my friends. I challenge and encourage you to ask yourself “Who am I?” and to write with spirit, conviction and SOUL. The theme for my 2010 is one of I.M.P.A.C.T. As a pastor at my church recently said, I.M.P.A.C.T. stands for:

Integrity. Do what is right each and every time.

Mission. Have a purpose bigger than yourself. Find the significance in your life.

Preparation. Proper preparation produces peak performance!

Action. Have the courage to move forward, despite adversity or fear.

Commitment. Throw yourself whole-heartedly into something.

Tenacity. Be tough enough to finish strong. Dig Deep and finish what you started.
What is the theme of your year? Whatever you choose, I hope you’re ready to take action NOW! Start writing, and live by your words. I believe you’ll be well on your way to creating the great significance and kind of success you always imagined. And oh yeah, remember to always live with a lot of “soul.”

Peace and love,


Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is a personal trainer and massage therapist who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide. He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team of 35 focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training and nutrition to help transform the bodies, minds and spirits of a broad clientele. Todd trains dozens of NFL and MLB athletes and provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences worldwide. Todd is the Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council. Men’s Health recently named his gym, Fitness Quest 10, one of the Top 10 Gyms in the US. Todd has appeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN, NFL Network and has been featured in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Stack Magazine, Self, Shape, Fitness, the NY Times and Washington Post. Todd has authored 28 DVDs on strength and conditioning, functional fitness, massage/bodywork and business/personal growth. Todd conducts 3-Day Mentorships several times per year and ongoing Mastermind Groups for trainers seeking business and personal growth. Sign up for his FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, TD TIMES, at or

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