Ron "Boss" Everline had a problem. After trying out for the NFL and getting zero callbacks, the talented athlete was utterly unemployed.
"I just wasn't getting callbacks. I spent every waking second training to be an NFL player, and after tryouts I waited and waited for an NFL team to pick me up. It never happened. It was the longest year of my life."
Fast forward 10 years later, and Everline's founded two gyms located in Cleveland and Los Angeles, frequently travels and trains high-profile and accomplished celebrities like Kevin Hart, Ne-Yo, Diddy, Trey Songz, and Christina Milian, and has amassed 650,000 Instagram followers to promote his brand, "Just Train."
I was interested in his story in how he was able to address his initial NFL failure head on and pivot to become a successful fitness entrepreneur and celebrity trainer.
Here's how he did it.
He let his NFL failure and a random compliment fuel his passion to build something bigger than himself.
"My biggest break didn't come from a celebrity client or meeting a senior corporate executive," said Everline. "It all happened with a random encounter with someone I helped train a few years prior. She came up to me and told me how much I changed her life for the better because of our fitness training together. It was at that moment that I knew I could do something bigger than me."
Everline was so focused on his NFL rejection that he lost track of his real purpose to the world. It actually wasn't to become to the best fitness coach in the world, it was about helping others succeed in their life and career through fitness. Once he made that change, he created the "Just Train" brand because he wanted his brand to be bigger than him.
So, before you set a goal to build a business with lofty goals, you have to get over your failures and focus on your real value to the world.
He received an opportunity because he focused on the day-to-day.
Everline didn't seek out to become a celebrity fitness trainer. He didn't go to celebrity parties in LA to rub shoulders with celebrities. He really had no clue that was even an option.
As he was building his Just Train gyms and online brand, he received an opportunity that he couldn't refuse. He got a call from the manager of the famous recording artist and producer Ne-Yo. Ne-Yo needed a personal trainer immediately and a close contact of Ne-Yo received a recommendation from a fitness client of Everline's who loved working with him.
Now, keep in mind, this opportunity "random" but by no means was this lucky. Everline received this opportunity because of the impact he made on the immediate people around him every single day. He was dedicated to help others grow. He was locked in to his mission and others recognized that, which opened up this opportunity for him.
Don't get caught up in the big dream. Focus on the steps to get to that dream and level yourself up every day. That's how opportunities come to you.
Everline accepted Ne-Yo's offer and got on the first flight to Ne-Yo to start training him every day.
Ne-Yo fired him three months later, but Everline didn't give up. He learned from it.
"The first person to ever fire me was the NFL. The second person to ever fire me was Ne-Yo. The reason he fired me? I didn't push him hard enough."
Everline quickly realized that he shouldn't train people the way they want to be trained. He has to push them to their limits and help them grow.
"It was a huge lesson for me, but I couldn't let this opportunity get away. I had to take my new mindset and try again. Let me just put it this way. Three months after Ne-Yo let me go, his manager came to me and said 'you're back on the road, but it's up to you from here.' He's been a client ever since."
From that point on, the word started traveling fast in the celebrity world and it quickly became a word of mouth business along with growing his Instagram to 650,000 followers. His clients loved his passion for helping others succeed.
Opportunities come when you least expect it and they often come when you're not actively pursuing it. Focus on building value and set yourself for opportunities to come to you.
He leveled up by acting like he belonged.
"As I grow my career, I find myself sitting at the table with some of the most influential, iconic executives," Everline noted. "My one rule was to always act like I belong. I add value to these conversations in the same way they add value. I'm not out here trying to prove that I'm smart. I'm out here trying to teach others how to grow their business, even if they have a billion dollars in their bank account."
Building a great business isn't about knowing the right people or being around successful people. It's about building something that others can respect and, most importantly, helping your peers be successful. If you can do that, you're on your way to something big.