Paralysis by Analysis (it’s not just our athletes that struggle)

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Paralysis by analysis is recognized as the state of over thinking a situation so that action is never taken, in effect, paralyzing the athlete. But it’s not just athletes, all of us have experienced this kind of struggle.

The typical trend in my SJJT clients is a state of inaction rationalized by the story we’ve written, causing fear and immovable hurdles. We don’t feel capable of navigating through this hypothetical story because of the emotions or possibilities we would rather not address. Taking an action will feel illogical when our thoughts paralyze us, but stepping forward is actually the best solution. And, once moving, terribly satisfying.

I’m going to give you tricks to beat this pervasive paralysis by analysis as small business owners and leaders with a concrete example.

Let’s examine its negative impact first. At least once a month, my colleagues discuss with me the fear of raising their rates. Can you relate? Ok. They/you know  a rate raise is necessary. You provide a high quality service, you suspect you are underpriced in your market and you respect the demands on your time to provide said service / feel the drain on being undercompensated. However, you have written a story that prevents movement forward. You have tipped the scale in favor of fear: fear of conflict, fear of a dip in revenue, fear of communicating your worth. The obvious challenge is braving through the fear of and implementing important changes. Listening to the fear instead of the need for the change causes the paralysis. Does this scenario sound familiar?  You have plenty of company if you can relate. Do not feel alone.

In my experience, here are the two top rationalizations that keep us stuck:

  • Not making the time to do the market research is an excellent block to taking action. We need to find out what competitors are charging and understand how they compare in terms of skill set and qualifications.
  • Fear of losing clients, and subsequently lowering our income. Crafting  a beautiful catch-22 of paralysis. “I want to raise my rates to make more money, but if I raise my rates I’ll make less money because I’ll lose clients.”

Let’s pull back the curtain. The truth is that none of this fear based inaction is rooted in fact. When I talk through this scenario with my clients, they also begin to see that it’s not real. But, for the moment, the fear seems logical, convincing and as powerful as a freeze ray. I live it just like everybody else. Before I started writing today, I was afraid a potentially controversial future post could go viral. Honestly, I’ll be lucky if 100 people read it. It’s a ‘don’t be afraid it’s going to go viral kind of thing.’ Raising our rates the right way has profoundly greater benefits than potential negatives of staying the underpaid course. Don’t let the fear freeze you from moving into a better scenario.

Step 1: Acknowledge it.

Acknowledgement is the first step. ‘I need to raise my rates.’ Now, that wasn’t so hard. Well done! You’re on your way to making the change. This is in large part why I started See Jake and Jane Train. I’m so touched to have studio owners and trainers reach out to me and trust me with their aspirations and fears. We candidly speak to about concerns and goals. This coupled with our resources and solutions lessens the load.  They free themselves from the fear, and move forward with ease. Enlist our help or find that release for yourself, even if it’s just a journal entry. Acknowledgement is powerful.

In this example, not taking action means we’re not increasing our income.

Let’s do the math… (You know how much I love the math.)

  • Business is demanding, our rationalizations have left us in a holding pattern for the rate raise and two years fly by without increasing our rates.
  • Depending on the potential increase, that studio conservatively could have earned $23,000 more in gross revenue if they had not sat around letting their fear take the reigns. Please sit down if you need a minute. That’s right $23,000.
  • An independent trainer in the same scenario could have an additional $3,800 in gross receipts. What would you do with an extra $3,800?

Compelling? Very. Some of us feel regret at our own version of this story. However, I don’t think any of us should waste time beating ourselves up. Instead, appreciate taking the first step in acknowledging the struggle and the change we desire. And, most importantly, exercise our courage and move through any remaining fear today.

Step 2: Don Rose Colored Glasses and See the Positive

Next, write down the good that will come from moving forward. Obviously, in this scenario, increased revenue is the top benefit. But, if you can’t see the good because you’re too focused on the possible losses… we have paralysis. So, please write on a separate sheet of paper “I might lose these one or two clients and the revenue accompanying them if I increase my rates.” Did you do that? OK, good. Now tear it up and throw it away. Whenever you make changes in your business you might lose one or two clients or if you are a studio, 10 or 12 clients or members. Let’s acknowledge that this can be and is painful at times. Your concern is understandable. But, that potential temporary pain cannot be allowed to steer the ship.

Instead, put on your rose-colored glasses. (BTW, gorg!) Focus on the ultimate goal: positive change. In this scenario, it’s not just about the revenue increase. It’s also about the message you are communicating; your sense of self-worth and the respect you garner as a practitioner and a business owner. Knowing that you are charging what you’re worth and having clients know they are paying you the right amount is actually a feel-good scenario for everyone. No one wants to underpay you. People like a deal, but most of us don’t like taking advantage of others. Clients are not going to spontaneously volunteer to pay you more. It’s your responsibility to charge and communicate those changes clearly with your clients. This is an added benefit to moving through paralysis and stepping in the direction of our goals.

Let’s look at more silver linings in this scenario (don rose colored glasses again, please, thank you). This rate increase is the perfect opportunity to afford everyone a clean slate. It’s a fresh start with billing and revenue records. You are now charging what you’re worth and have had a chance to review policies and contract details with everyone. Moving forward, there is no confusion, no more exceptions for some clients and not others and no more effort to keep track of these exceptions. Feels great, yes? OK, next…

Step 3: Take Inspired Action

We’ve acknowledged the problem, potential and silver linings. Now, it’s time to take inspired action. Know your outcome. In this case, confidently increasing rates. Be clear on your intention. I will increase company revenue by raising my rates and clearly communicating this with all existing and future clients. Simple and powerful. Own it, because once you own your vision and start moving forward, it’s easy to keep going. (“An object at rest…”) So make it super simple, start with a basic market research assignment. Interview three independent personal training colleagues or pop into three studio competitors and ask them what they charge. Base your numbers off of that information plus your qualifications, experience and what you are currently charging. Nicely done. It really only has to be that simple sometimes. This is inspired action. We’re not frozen because of fear. We are  bravely moving forward with a clear plan and ultimate goal in mind.

Let’s wrap this up. Our three takeaways:

  • Acknowledgement. Acknowledge you’re avoiding something. Acknowledge the resulting inaction. Then, acknowledge the prevalence of fear in this scenario and chose to move through the fear. You are stronger than any imagined negative scenario and capable of the courage it takes to move forward.
  • Focus on the Positive. Put on those rose colored glasses and write down the good that’s going to come out of taking action. Note your feelings of self-worth, the benefits of tackling a task that will  exponentially benefit your business, increasing your income and revenue and the ultimate benefits to your clients and team.
  • Inspired Action. Move. Step forward with a simple plan and clear goals to get that ball moving in the right direction. Then, ride the momentum. Take small, calculated steps if needed. If it doesn’t support your outcome, the next step can be tweaked to serve the goal. This is the beauty of actions that are a reaction to reality as opposed to paralysis resulting from imagined scenarios.

What is paralyzing you right now in your business?

Comment below. Chances are someone else is facing the same challenge.

Thank you for reading and contributing to our discussion. We love having your participation.

Are you ready to take inspired action? Let’s dive deeper into your business paralysis issues. In every course we offer (Nine Week Turnaround, Testimonials and Referrals, and 21 Days to Independence) the paralysis by analysis component is systematically eradicated. Afterall, how do you eat an elephant? That’s right: one bite at a time. And, that’s how our courses are laid out… in bite-size steps. So, instead of just being left to your own devices, procrastination, fears or avoidance, let us help. Make your move. It’s as simple as clicking here.


According to the Association of Fitness Studios 2017 Fitness Studios Report, the average fitness studio in America garnered roughly $233,464  in annual revenue. After completing market research and deciding to increase rates our example studio owner decides to increase rates 5%. With only acquiring enough new clients to replace any clients possibly lost in the transition, this equates to $233,464 x .05 = $11,673 more in earnings per year.

Multiplied over two years gives us $23,346. Wow. All for approximately 10 hours of work.

According to the BLS the average personal trainer in America earns $38,160 per year. Applying a similar conservative increase of 5% to that annual revenue would equate in an extra $1,908 per year.

Multiplied over two years = $3,816.


2015: $233,464

2016 and 2017 under the influence of paralysis by analysis: unchanged

2016 and 2017 after 10 hours of work and our three step solution: +$23,346



2015: $38,160

2016 and 2017 under the influence of paralysis by analysis: unchanged

2016 and 2017 after 5 hours of work and our three step solution: +$3,816


If you are an above average trainer or studio your gains will be even greater! Where will you be in two years?

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