The Health Club Slide, Fire Starter Replay, Pull Up a Chair

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I’m in The New York Times: What’s Ailing Health Clubs

Back in my fitness/yoga entrepreneur days, I landed a number of nice features in The New York Times.

But yesterday, I found my way back into the pages of the Style section in an article that takes a contrarian look at the big-box health club industry and asks why 90% of American adults agree that fitness is critical for their lifestyles, but for more than 30 years, 85% still refuse to join health clubs.

I’ve had lots to say on this in my posts about the unfortunate way the mainstream health club and fitness industry has evolved, focusing on boredom and distraction, rather than engagement and community.

You can check out what I suggested was one major problem with the modern-day health club model in yesterday’s New York Times article.

Fire Starter With Danielle LaPorte: Replay

On Wednesday evening, Danielle LaPorte lit up 250 maxed-out conference-call lines with a live Fire Starter session.

Two people, Jessica Swift and Dave Ursillo were the lucky recipients of her tremendous insights, wisdom and hard-core practical strategies.

As I anticipated when I announced the call, way more people (650) signed up than we had lines for (250), so a lot of people got closed out.

The great news is…we recorded the entire jam-session.

So, if you’d like to listen in, click over to the podcast of Danielle, me, Jessica and Dave rocking out for more than 70-minutes (yeah, we went a little over, but be sure to listen to the end, because Danielle answered a bunch of bonus questions from the comments).

You can either listen live or just download the mp3.

AND…If you’d like to learn more about Danielle’s Fire Starter Session home-program, click here

Your tribe doesn’t want a lecture, they want to pull up a chair.

Ah, the allure of an audience.

It’s so tempting to succumb to the belief that just because people show up to try you on for size, you’ve now earned the right to preach to them.

Some leaders, bloggers, speakers, writers, teachers, innovators and creators do this. And they do it really well. Building giant followings and brands.

And, yes, you guys have endured a rant or two (maybe three, lol) from me. But…

Every time I feel myself drawn over to the preaching side of the isle, I start to break out in ass-wipe hives.

Just not my preferred modus operandi.

Maybe it’s because I still consider myself very much along the same journey as everyone else. I just have the luxury of getting paid to spend a whole lot more time asking the questions everyone else asks, researching the answers, acting, testing and experimenting with the results, then sharing what I’ve discovered.

So, for me, a really important guiding principle has been…

Your tribe doesn’t want a lecture, they want to pull up a chair.

At least, that’s how I like to run this place, more like a digital cafe.

It’s actually something that was taught to me by one of my earlier mentors in the blogosphere, Liz Strauss. And it’s something she learned from her dad, who just happened to run a real-life tavern when she was growing up.

So, I’m curious, what’s the tone you most vibe with?

“Voice of God” or “c’mon, let’s talk?”

And, what’s the tone you set in the way YOU communicate? Share your thoughts in the comments…


[FTC Disclosure: 1. Danielle is insanely cool. 2. I love introducing you to insanely cool people. 3. You may want to work with Danielle or buy her stuff after you hear what she just did on the conference-call and you realize how ridiculously smart, savvy and cool she is. 4. If you do click on the above link, then buy her stuff, I get rich. Not just a little bit rich. Like, stupid, gobs of bling, Jonny’s got a new grill rich. 5. Fieldsy needs a new grill. 6. Not really. 7. I never liked Maraschino cherries. 8. No offense intended to Mr. Maraschino. 9. The Dude abides.]

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13 responses

13 responses to “The Health Club Slide, Fire Starter Replay, Pull Up a Chair”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Grant Griffiths, kurio's resource. kurio's resource said: The Health Club Slide, Fire Starter Replay, Pull Up a Chair […]

  2. Dave Ursillo says:


    Thanks again Jonathan (and of course Danielle) for what was an epic experience.

    I agree with the “pull up a chair” mantra, Jonathan. Would you say though that such a mindset is tough to maintain when a writer assumes the “teacher” role, as Danielle discussed in the Live Fire Starter Session? In other words, does the “Teacher” voice fall into the “Voice of God”/lecture area, or are the best teachers those who provoke meaningful, intelligent discussion?



    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Great question, Dave. It’s really about fear of losing the perception of authority.

      For me, I believe authority doesn’t come from having a soapbox, it comes from having something to say.

      And that can be done in a very gentle way without having to set up a real or perceived wall that places you above your “disciples.”

      The greatest teachers I know have been open to the notion that they could learn from their students.

      But, that opportunity doesn’t happen when all you do is transmit.

  3. Lori Race says:

    When I do my group coaching sessions, sometimes I am “teaching” (or preaching) and other times we are having a big ‘ol jam session. I much prefer the interaction and banter from everyone’s different experiences. I love just sitting around with a glass of wine and coaching in a group setting, for me there is nothing better! Definitely “pull up a chair”!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      It’s definitely important to establish yourself as the expert in the room, especially when you’re being paid to be the expert, but I’ve found one of the best ways to do that is actually via very directed Q&A. People tend to be much more “impressed” when you can give really phenomenal information in response to spontaneous questions than when you’re presenting something that’s clearly prepared.

  4. Hi there Jonathan,

    That last bit in the FTC Disclosure just about had me falling out of my chair laughing. OMG that was funny.
    Anyway, I tend to be more aligned with the “Come on, let’s chat” school of blogging and communicating. “VOG” has it’s place for sure, as long as you encourage heaping helpings of comments after letting your holy spiel gush forth upon the masses lol.
    Thanks and rock your weekend!


  5. Hey Jonathan,

    I’m definitely on the “let’s chat” side. It’s more enjoyable for the group, it creates actual relationships, and it is the best way to learn! I think a great teacher knows all of that and applies it.

    Thanks again for a great post.

    – Jordan

  6. Dear Jonathan –

    I love headlines.

    Just want to say that is the best headline you have ever written.

    Your muse is on the job.

    PS Post was excellent too. I am so sick of the “Voice of God.”

  7. caitlyn says:

    As always when we set up either/or it doesn’t work for some people. I’m sometimes VERY happy to encounter the Voice of God. A clear message from someone who doesn’t give a crap about my crap allows me to react with clarity, take what works, and leave the rest. I know I am not hurting “God’s” feelings or sending “God” back to the drawing board. I have learned a LOT from people like this.

    The chat is nice – and obviously I am participating in it right now – but I would say more often than preferring to encounter the Voice of God, or someone who is inviting me to pull up a chair, I like to play voyeur. Let me watch. In that way, I am not a passive recipient of the missives of “God”, neither am I a committed player in the conversation going on elsewhere.

    Hopefully, through my own writing and my occasional comments I give back enough to be permitted to sip with Gods and mortals alike.

  8. Marnie says:

    Sometimes our heads can swell when we know we have an audience. It’s a good reminder that we need to keep things in perspective – so our readers can pull up a chair rather than kneel in the pew.

  9. Hugh says:

    Thanks for the podcast! Very generous! I can’t wait to listen to it tonight.