A New Visitor’s Guide – Start Here!

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There’s always room for an authentic voice.

Richard Branson is famous for venturing into fields where the market seems astonishingly crowded and then somehow figuring out how to serve that market in a way that is, at once, incredibly innovative, yet so “hind-sightedly” obvious it leaves everyone else scratching their heads saying, “dude, why didn’t I think of that?”

In Summer 1997, leaving behind a career as a hedge-fund lawyer, I ventured into the fitness world, a total outsider, opening a personal training center with little experience in the fitness business and, according to most around me, not a chance in hell of succeeding.

Two years later, the private training center I created generated more personal-training revenue in a month than the average gym ten times the size generated in a year. And, more total revenue than 80% of all health clubs in the country. But, more importantly, I was having a ball changing lives and earning a living.

I was able to succeed in a massively-crowded market, because, being an outsider, I saw ways to do things differently and needs that weren’t being met that others missed. So, crowded or not, I jumped in.

A few years later, looking for the next adventure, I sold my stake to a group of investors and took some time to develop my burgeoning passion for writing and marketing. But, fate would soon step-in and lure me back into the wellness-business. In 2001, with no industry-experience, following or reputation (sounds like a trend, eh), I launched a yoga center in the heart of Manhattan…eight weeks after 9-11.

Once more, those around me thought I was nuts. And, this time I wasn’t so sure they were wrong. The city was shattered and there was already a ton of great yoga around. But, I saw a gap, a massive group of people who the yoga community had trouble connecting with. Unfoofy, professional people who needed it bad, but weren’t being offered yoga in a way that was accessible.

Five years later, the studio I founded, Sonic Yoga, grew into one of the top-grossing yoga centers in the country. And, like the fitness center I had previously launched, the coolest part was that something I created was changing lives, this time to the tune of nearly 20,000 people.

What does all this have to do with this blog?

Simple. Though, I don’t compare myself to Branson on any level, this blog tears an unabashed page from his playbook, vaulting headlong into the massively crowded sea of blog-manity, flying on the single-notion that I have something unique to add. Unique enough to grow a worldwide, inspired, “awakened” community, capable of cultivating change.

Within these pages, I offer not only my own stories and experiences, but those of so many others I’ve had the opportunity to meet, work with, interview and learn from. And, to these stories, I add my own voice.

This blog and the community it serves is about being real, practical, gritty, personal and…valuable! It stumbles, mumbles, exalts and defaults. It pokes fun on a regular basis (mostly at me) and mercilessly celebrates the maverick in all of us. It’s swaggers between cautiously-spiritual and relentlessly skeptical…but always in the name of finding a broader truth.

It is, in large-part, story-driven, because nobody likes being preached to, but we all love discovering the life-altering morsels in another’s trials, tribulations and revelations.

Through it, I hope to inspire you to explore living and, especially, earning a living from a different point of view and nudge you to try things that just might make you a bit uncomfortable. But, always, for good reason and with the hope of cultivating a life, a livelihood and a lifestyle eminently more enjoyable to inhabit.

This blog revolves around…

  • Entrepreneurship – Simple fact – Like John Jantsch said in Duct Tape Marketing, ” we are all in the business of marketing.” In the U.S., alone, 20-million businesses are single-person operations and 97% have fewer than 20 employees. Most of the people who start and run these businesses are not looking to cash out for big bucks, but rather to simply earn a nice living, while doing something they enjoy. It’s more about lifestyle and control than the ultimate score. But, 99% of what’s written for entrepreneurs is tailored toward the “get rich, then cash-out” crowd.And, almost all small businesses look at marketing as an afterthought, not realizing (a) after to innovation and service, it is their company’s lifeblood, and (b) marketing done-right builds, rather than depletes your bank account.

    This topic is here to guide and inspire the little-guy who strives not to build an exit, but, rather, a passion-driven career that’s so rewarding the prospect of exit is just plain silly.

  • Career-evolution – Exploring the question, “what would happen if I led my career by the pursuit of meaning first, then money?” We’ll look at this from a very real-world, golden-handcuffs, lotta-responsibility, grown-up, can’t just walk-away, but have to do something different before my head explodes perspective. For more on this check-out my sister website – CareerRenegade.com
  • Blogging  – In addition to health and fitness ventures, I spend a solid chunk of my professional energy as a writer (and soon-to-be-author, woohoo!), a direct-response copywriter and a guerrilla-marketing strategist. And, now I get to turn all this hyper-creative energy loose on the process of launching a growing this blog to become as big and impactful as possible as fast as I can. So, there’s not much chance of me bottling up my merciless attempts to try everything in the name of succeeding along the way and report what works what are big-fat, disasters.
  • Conscious-Living – exploring the impact on your life and the lives of those around you of being more present, kind, grateful, compassionate, bold, patient, friendly, respectful, authentic and truthful.
  • Health, Fitness & Wellness – Confession time. In addition to growing a number of businesses around the lifestyle-world, I am the odd-dork who brings 800-page kinesiology manuals to the beach. Studying how the body works, especially from a health, fitness and mindbody standpoint is just plain fun to me. And, I love to synthesize, hypothesize and share what unfolds. I already do this in my Bridging the Gap column in fitYOGA magazine, but, here, my focus will be a bit different. I’ll look at the broader impact of health, fitness and wellness on your ability to succeed both in life and in business, with a focus both on research, techniques and de-bunking myths.

How can you get the most out of this blog?

  • First, Start with the articles in the “Must Read” section toward the top right. This opening post is actually the first one, so you’re well on your way. These touch on bigger issue and help lay the foundation for everything else. Though, don’t be surprised if a few are also just downright goofy.
  • Second, check out the “Topic” section. Here you’ll find articles separated by the topics you find most interesting.
  • Third, listen to and view the podcast and webisodes. I love to tell stories and interview people with incredible stories, tools and inspiration. The Awake At The Wheel podcasts and video webisodes are updated a few times a month with great audio and video segments, interviews and stories designed to introduce you to people, places and ideas in a fresh, multi-sensory format.

These multimedia experiences will bring you toe-to-toe with a wide range of people, most of whom you’ve never heard of, who have “woken up” at life’s wheel and often made radical changes in career and, often times, lives and lifestyles. If you are interested in being interviewed or featured on a webisode or podcast, please e-mail me at jonathan at jonathanfields dot com).

  • Finally, and MOST importantly, share your voice and become an active member in the Comments areas below each article – Most people ease their way into blogs, becoming readers and, eventually, commenting. So, take your time, get comfortable and whenever you’re ready, share your thoughts, ask question and join in the conversation by adding Comments in the form at the bottom of the Comment section that ends every article.

If you’re a blogger, you know how much you appreciate when your readers join in. And, if you’re not, here’s a little inside-scoop, us bloggers love, love, love when you comment. It’s like our payment for blogging. It lets us know someone’s out there and they appreciate (or hate) what we’re doing. So, go ahead, make my day…comment today!

My greatest hope in sharing this blog and its many resources, stories and interviews is that they’ll leave you inspired and enriched on a level that will have you go beyond just telling everyone about what you’ve learned, but actually doing something to wake up your career and, eventually your life.

With warmth, gratitude and respect…


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10 responses

10 responses to “A New Visitor’s Guide – Start Here!”

  1. Kevin Hyatt says:

    So, at the age of 50, it is apparently time to make yet another “career” change: stick the Bar card in top desk drawer; stop PROCRASTINATING; start a blog and, develope my other “2.0” visions for the future. The wife is not going to be happy. Hopefully, “third times a charm.”

  2. John Moss says:

    I’m not thinking of starting a new life – at 65, I’m exploring life as only someone who is ‘retired’ can do: no risks, no lost time (time is not an issue now), no fear of ‘losing’. Instead, I am on the road of discovery, exploration, curious as to what lies out there and how to best position myself to learn whatever it takes to appreciate how I can participate in this grand marketplace.

    I discovered (StumbledUpon) Jonathan Fields today, November 6 2007. In order to gain the perspective Jonathan provides I have come back to this opening blog, with the intent of going forward day by day, blog by blog, in an effort to understand the background and perspective I sensed in today’s blog. If you share my curiosity perhaps we’ll meet in later comments. For the moment – Jambo!

  3. Norm says:

    I appreciate and commend your value system and openness.

  4. Patty says:

    I’ve been wandering around the internet this morning, 2/3/08, looking for help and I think I may have found it here. This is my first time commenting on a blog and I have butterflies in my stomach even as I write this…at 54, I have an opportunity to open the yoga studio I’ve barely let myself dream about. Now what?? I’ve been teaching for the past 10 years at this same space, but now it is about to become “mine”. So first of all, looking for that great name and how on earth to run a successful business! Secondly, I also teach voice and piano and want to keep that in my life, so I am looking for balance along the way…too much to ask for? Jonathan sounds like an energy machine with limitless time, brains and ingenuity! What about us regular folks? Is there hope?

  5. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Hey Patty – welcome to the family! I am honored to be your first blog commented on, woohoo! PS – congrats on your impending studio owenrship. Quick advice, allocate your energy where it is most needed, when it is needed, knowing that at different times, your different passions will “rotate” through cycles of times, energy and importance.

  6. tiffany cw says:

    I am perhaps about to leap from freelance back to jobland… but one thing I’ve learned in these few years of working for myself: the reward is in doing good work, staying committed to the mission, and never relinquishing my personal power, aka self confidence, to anyone, no matter what “power structures” may attempt to subjugate my creative freedom. I appreciate your passionate optimism, Jonathan, and sense of integrity in following your bliss with an eye now on making a positive difference in people’s lives. Your message is one I will certainly turn to again. Thank you.

  7. […] Other bloggers are making pages with their most popular posts and other important information.   Jonathan Fields has a very good new visitor’s guide. […]

  8. Amanda says:

    Hey Jonathan:

    Truly enjoy the way you write: by the time I reached “Unfoofy, professional people who needed it bad” you had me. I usually use the old “woo woo stuff”…although I’m oh so a seeker with a completely open mind but not a fluffy intellect. Will be back as apart from illumination/wisdom and insight, seeking just what you lay out in this piece in a manner which inspires me to trust you as one of my guides. Thanks.

  9. Laurie says:

    OK, I’m in. I came across your site from http://www.simplemarriage.net. I am just beginning my journey into the world of dumping the old and jumping into the new business. I have been a teacher for many years and went into administration, big mistake. I don’t play those games well and wasn’t being true to myself.

    I am now creating my own gig (website linked to my name). It is innovative and great fun. I can be myself and do what I am really good at and enjoy! My business partner and I are in the process of having the canyon manufactured and will be up and running by the time school starts on August. Since I am very specialized, marketing to elementary schools, I am a bit nervous about the best way to go about that. I know my program will beat anything out there and it hits the mark with what testing is showing is the weak area in science so my biggest challenge is making folks aware that I exist. I look forward to reading and posting comments on your blog. :O) It looks great!

  10. Wtblogger says:

    I really like you’re writing style. keep it up