Beyond An Entry Level-Job - Ayesha Hussain (E14)

Feb 03, 2020

First impressions specialist Ayesha Hussain is a nursing student, a regular BJJ and Muay Thai practitioner, and a committed employee at Easton Training Center Denver. Ayesha joins the podcast to discuss her position, how she came across Easton, and how she has found her place through the work culture and environment at the front desk over the past 3 years.

Listen:

 Transcript:

 

- Welcome to the Easton.Online Podcast. I'm your host, Eliot Marshall, and what this podcast is here to do, it's here to help you gain strategies, and tactics, and tools that are gonna help you grow in your martial arts business, if you have a martial arts school, a gym. This is one of my passions, is how we spread the message of how to really grow culture and business, and some ways that we do it the best with our people, with our staff, with our clients. So I hope you enjoy. Give a listen. Hi.

- Hello.

- How are you?

- I'm great, how are you?

- [Eliot] I'm good, are you nervous?

- I'm a little bit nervous.

- Okay, everyone always is. I try to do my very, very best.

- Yeah, I figured it was normal, so I'm chillin', it's cool.

- Man, so Ian said I had to talk to you.

- Yeah, I heard. You told me. Thanks, Ian, shouts out, Ian.

- Yeah, shouts out to Ian. How's your coffee?

- It's terrific.

- [Eliot] Good, it's very important to me.

- Yes, I knew that. I saw Vanny's episode and I was like, "I can't come with a Starbucks."

- Did you throw it away in your car?

- No, I didn't bother getting it on the way here. I was like, "I won't."

- Sorry. I'm sorry, Van, I'm really, really sorry.

- She said you just knocked it out of her hand. I was like--

- That's not true. I took it from her.

- Duly noted.

- I didn't knock it out of her hand. Move a little closer to the mic.

- Okay.

- There you go. So, I guess, so we're making this course, Easton.Online: First Impression Specialists, and that is exactly who you are.

- [Ayesha] Yes.

- Right, you are a First Impression Specialist, and the reason that Ian wanted me to talk to you, I think, was because the part where Van was talking about, you know, you just don't, people don't want to leave, right? You just get so bought into the culture. So he was like, "You should just talk to one of," literally, just the first, "just the front desk people to see what that's like." So before we get into that, I wanna know more about you. So where are you from, and what have you done? And all that. So how did we get to Easton, first?

- Okay, for sure. Well, Easton was a very serendipitous find for me. I wasn't particularly looking for anything. Some people come in and they know they have an interest in martial arts, like Vanny. She just had that already.

- She always has.

- Mine developed once I found Easton, but--

- [Eliot] Where are you from?

- I'm from Texas. I was born and raised in Texas. I was born in College Station, which is where A&M is, and then I grew up in the Austin area and stuff. And then I moved here four years ago, so right after I graduated high school.

- [Eliot] And where's your family?

- And then my family is, so my dad is still in Texas, my brother's in Texas, and then I have another brother in L.A., and I have my mom and her side of the family here. And then my parents are from, my mom was adopted from Pakistan, but her side of the family's all Indian, so they're mostly from Bombay, Mumbai area, and then my dad's from Bangladesh, and he grew up--

- [Eliot] Say that again?

- Bangladesh?

- So that's how we say it, Bangladesh, but you say it--

- You guys, most people say it Bangladesh.

- Right.

- Yeah.

- We put different, okay.

- [Ayesha] I just say Bangladesh.

- Okay, 'cause that's how he says it.

- Yeah, that's how he says it, yeah. And, yeah, my parents, Bangladesh was East Pakistan at one point when my mom was younger and there was a civil war happening, so they ended up moving to what's now Pakistan, or West Pakistan. So they were both in Karachi. My dad had moved there too. And then somehow my mom and my dad both ended up in Canada and I think they met in Montreal when they were going to school. And then they had my eldest brother in Montreal. He's, I think, 28 now, and then my mom had a bunch of family in Texas and my dad was always closer with my mom's side of the family, so they ended up in Texas. Then I think they were there for probably 20, 30 years maybe? Somewhere around that range. And then, yeah, that's where I was born.

- All right.

- Yeah, Texas born and raised.

- I think it's, I'm sorry.

- [Ayesha] No, you're fine.

- I'm sorry you were born in Texas.

- Oh, you're sorry, yeah, you know, I was never proud of living in Texas, like never, until I moved away from Texas, yeah. Now I'm like, okay, I can appreciate certain parts of it.

- So you guys have the Bush family, which I guess is better than what we've got right now in the Trump family, so we'd be begging for the Bush family.

- [Ayesha] That's true.

- I think somebody said they're super interesting, like how Bangladesh--

- [Ayesha] Yeah, you're saying it, yeah, perfectly, yeah.

- Was East Pakistan, right? So Americans don't know this at all. My generation of Americans. So my grandparents are from Poland, they're Polish, but what is now the part of Poland that they're from is Lithuania, I believe. So when I was talking to some friends, oh, it was a fight, and we were all sitting in the warmup area, not the warmup area, the training room the week before the fight, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, she's Polish, and she was gonna possibly come train with us for a little while. I was like, "Oh, you know, my grandma's from Poland." I don't even remember the town anymore, but I told her the town, and she had no clue what it was because it's past her, right? And then my friends were like, "Oh, you're a liar," and I'm like, "Look." And I tried to explain this whole things separate thing, and it just, nobody was having it.

- And it's weird how that happens because I feel like now Bangladeshi people, or even Indian people, all of those countries are literally just stacked right next to each other, but it's like if you're from Pakistan and you go to Bangladesh, I think they would be able to tell and vice versa, which is interesting 'cause I'm like, "Aren't you all the same people?" Or you were, at least.

- And for them it's a big deal. And for us, we don't even, like the concept of, 'cause our country has been the same, right? For our generation, our parents' generation, our grandparents' generation, yeah. The USA was the USA; nothing got added. And for other parts of the world, that's just not the case.

- Yeah, I have friends who, yeah, their whole family is just from one state. They can just trace all of their ancestry back. They're just like, "Yeah, they were all from"--

- And now where your dad's from--

- Arkansas or something.

- Right. Now where your dad's from isn't even a place anymore. Like, not even a place. That's crazy, right?

- Yeah, it's interesting.

- So you moved to Colorado. What'd you move to Colorado for?

- I don't know, people ask me this question. I have this where, like, so my mom was really wanting to move.

- I'm just noticing your Lone Star Texas shirt.

- Yeah, I'm wearing a Texas shirt. It's well-disguised, you know?

- Yeah, I just noticed it. So, anyway, go ahead. I'm sorry.

- I do that on purpose, no. Yeah, my mom, her side of the family's here. Our family, just in South Asian culture, families are very used to being together, so even when were in Texas, there was always other family members around. Our house just always had people in it, or we were always going over to another family member's house. And so my mom's brother and my cousins live here, and we always made the trip. They moved around the states a lot, and every Christmas we would see them, and so they were finally just like, "You guys should come to Denver. "We're gonna settle here. "We're not moving for a while. "We want you guys to come live here." My brothers were like, "Naw, definitely not." Like, "We're happy here."

- Your mom and dad split, I'm thinking.

- Yeah, my mom and dad split, yeah, when I was in fourth grade. And then, yeah, and so my mom was just like, she worked in Texas for a while and she just hated it. She's used to the cold after being in Canada, and so she was like, "Yeah, I need better weather." She wanted to change her career potentially and stuff, and then get closer to family, so she ended up moving, and she was like, "I'm not gonna go unless one of my kids comes with me." And my brother's very, he has a really tight friend group that he's just known his whole life, and he doesn't really like the idea of, like, I don't know, actually, if I could say that, if he doesn't like the idea of it, but he just is more introverted and I'm always down for whatever, very go with the flow.

- I get both sides of that, though. I'm extroverted as fuck, but I'm never leaving this house. I'm done, this is it. I told Renee, she likes to buy, and sell, and fix. That's what she does, you know? When she got done in this house, she's like, "Okay, let's move," and I was like, "What?" And I was like, "I would rather you cheat on me "than us ever move again."

- Yeah, moving is quite the hassle.

- I hate it, I hate it, but I like all kinds of different people. I talk to everyone everywhere I go, so I get both sides of that.

- Yeah, no, I understand that for sure. I guess it's just I've always pictured myself moving around. I've never pictured myself staying in one spot. Easton is literally what changed that. I was like, "Okay, I'm gonna go to school for like a year. "I'm gonna take a year off. "I'm gonna travel, I'll come back," and now I'm like, "I'm not leaving Denver at all." I won't go. I'll travel, but I won't--

- Because of some bullshit job?

- Because my roots. These are the roots that I made. It's really cool because, so I found Easton, they were doing a campus event at Metro State University, and that's where I was going. It was I think my first semester there.

- [Eliot] What were you going to school for?

- I'm going along the route with nursing, but not quite in a nursing program yet, but that's what the idea is. And then, yeah, I just saw that they were offering free kickboxing classes, and I'd always thought that was cool, and I was like, "Cool, yeah, I wanna do it." At first there was a trial month deal going on, and I came in and I loved the class.

- What was so funny there?

- I'm about to tell you.

- What did I do?

- No, it's not what you did.

- I'm like, "Oh, what did I do?"

- It's the idea that I had when I signed up, was that, okay, I'm good do this trial month. I'm gonna come every single day, I'm gonna learn everything this person has to show me, the coach, and then I'm just gonna get a bag and do it at home. That was seriously my thought process. I was like, "I don't need to stay here. "I just wanna learn this little bit and then I'll practice." And I did the first month, and I was like, "There's no fuckin' way." I was like, "I need to come up with this money." I didn't have, I don't know if I had a job at the time, or I think I was working at a restaurant, and then I quit that job. I was like, "I don't care how I get this money." Like, "I don't care. "We're just gonna do it because it's worth it." But, yeah, and then, I don't know. It just kinda snowballed from there, but I didn't mean to find it at all and it ended up being something that, like--

- It found you.

- [Ayesha] Yeah.

- It's so funny, I give that speech that, I gave a speech just like the story you just told. It's when I talk about Easton, I say, "Look, guys," let's just use kickboxing again. How much is a heavy, I mean, did you research how much a heavy bag cost?

- Not at all.

- It's 150 bucks. You can get one for 150 bucks. Now the cost of your gloves and your wraps, that's nebulous because you have to have them whether you're doing it at a school or in your garage, right? Pandora is free. And your internet, how much, you know, what's the internet? 15 bucks a month?

- Oh, yeah, sure.

- So for 150, so that's one month, and then $15 a month, you could do everything. I mean, 'cause the internet you need because you need to look up the lessons and the workouts, which you could all do online, but for some reason people pay that every month. They pay 150 bucks every month to come in and do jiu-jitsu, or kickboxing, or whatever it is. So it can't literally be about the technique.

- It's not at all. It's like something that you realize once you spend time there, and I think that's what, that's what sometimes I try to tell people when they're signing up, is if you, literally, if you just make one friend in class sometime during your first month, I guarantee you that person, like, you miss a class that you normally come to because of whatever, like anything, and then you come the next time, and they're like, "Where the hell were you? "Why weren't you there last time?" And then it becomes a whole group of people that are like, you know, everyone's like, you start holding people accountable just because you enjoy their company, or you made a friend with them. And so, yeah, and then you become that person who meets someone, and you're like, "Where the fuck were you?"

- [Eliot] Right.

- Why didn't you show up?

- Why didn't you tell me?

- Why didn't you tell me? We're supposed to be in this. So, yeah, I think that's like one of the cool things about, that's like one of the benefits of having a community around you that--

- You have no need or thought of being a champion. That was never your idea. What made you like kickboxing? Why did you wanna come try it? 'Cause it wasn't champion, right?

- Yeah, I don't know. I dated guy in high school who was into Muay Thai at the time, so I think that, and I remember he would just show me how to throw elbows and random crap in the kitchen late at night, and then that was a little bit of a gateway into the idea of it. But, I guess, once you do class, I don't know. I think there's so much because it's, like, one, the coach at the time was Gwen. Do you remember Gwen?

- Of course I remember Gwen.

- And she's like the type of person who will push you further than you think you can go, and then you do it because you're just like--

- God, you've been around that long?

- I've been around for three years, I think?

- Wow.

- 3 1/3 maybe, I don't know, but, yeah, and she was the shit. I loved her, but she, yeah, she's the type of person who will push you until the point of, yeah, I didn't think I could ever do that. And I was never, I think I'm generally, like, I have athletic capabilities. I used to dance and stuff. I have rhythm, I have things like that, attributes, but I never was on a team sport. I never tried out for anything in high school. I really didn't play anything. My parents didn't put me in anything. But, yeah, it just ended up being this thing that I was like, "Wow, it can be really fun to workout." 'Cause I hate running. I hate going, I hate lifting weights. I hate doing all of that. I find it so--

- I like lifting weights.

- Yeah, I wish I, and I think it's cool because you can set goals in the weight room that are, I think it's just about setting goals that you want to achieve, but, for me, it was easier to set those in striking. I was like, "This is really cool." I wanna learn how to throw a knee, and keep my balance, and go back to my stance. I wanna learn how to throw an elbow and for it to land where I want it to land. Those were just goals that I was more motivated to see myself achieve, so it drew me in.

- And then, so you figured out, how did you figure out how to pay?

- I told my mom. I was like, "I really like this," and I was like, I don't even remember what I was doing at the time. I know that after I'm, like, probably within a month of training, I asked the front desk if they were hiring and if I could, if there was anything I could do at the gym, and I don't remember. I think I just paid out of my savings or something or possibly my mom helped me out with it. I don't remember. I just remember that I was like, "We have to do this. "It's $100, we could do this, and it'll be worth it. "I just have to make it worth it "and then I won't feel guilty at all for paying this. "It's worth more than what I'm paying." And, yeah, and so I told them at the front desk. I was like, "Yeah, if you guys have any positions, I would love to," and Van was like, "We don't have anything open at the time, "but you can send me your resume." And then she, yeah, she ended up following up with me three months later and she's like, "Hey, do you still want this position?" and I was like, "Yeah, I would love it." It was so informal too. I have always been taught to take those things very seriously. Even if I go to court for a traffic ticket, I'll go in a pant suit with a folder, with just my ticket in there. I'm prepared as shit. I'll go up to the podium and I'll be like, "Yes, your Honor," and people are just showing up in sweatpants. So I remember emailing Van back, and I was like, "Thank you so much for the opportunity." I sent her this little paragraph. I was like, "These are my available hours." And then she was like, "Cool, show up this date."

- You showed up at my house with flowers today. Hey, everybody, my wife wants flowers, so every time you come and I need a, Ayesha raised the bar here.

- That's the thing that, I mean, I don't know. Your house always feels better with a fresh flowers on the counter.

- I agree.

- I like the feeling of it.

- I do appreciate it.

- Yeah, well, cool. But, yeah, so then Van just emailed me, and she was like, "Yeah, just show up this day, "and we're gonna train you." I was like, "Sick, boy, we're doing it!" So, yeah, and then it just went from there.

- What was the process of learning the training? So you're saying you've been around three years, so you're talking about three years ago, right? That you started working for us, 2 1/2, three years ago.

- [Ayesha] 2 1/2 probably, yeah.

- Okay, so we were on top of it, but we weren't super on top of it.

- There was definitely a system. It was Katie, Megan Rinder, Tyler McIntyre, Vanny.

- [Eliot] Los yet or no?

- No, not Carlos. Carlos always , Carlos always jokes about firing me 'cause he's my manager now. It's so funny 'cause he's like, "You started before me, but I don't give a shit. "I can still fire you." I'm like, "Cool."

- Carlos is the DFI, right?

- Yeah, yeah, Director of First Impressions, yeah. So, yeah, there was a system for sure, I mean, I came in for training--

- We had a system, right.

- Yeah, they knew, I mean, they just showed me how to do, I had no idea. They used to laugh at the way I wrote contact logs 'cause I couldn't comprehend how everything came together. The way I was writing my logs, they were like, "This is not helpful at all, "the logs you're writing," and I was like, "Okay." So it took me a while to get a hang of all that, but I'm good in service jobs 'cause I love people. I've always been that way. I love people.

- Tell me more about that.

- Just, I don't know, dude, I don't know. It's really weird to me that some people don't feel this way about people because I feel so strongly about it. But working in a restaurant, I started at this small mom and pop burger place. That was my first job, and I loved it. I cleaned the toilets. I washed the dishes at the end of the night for the whole restaurant. I did every single job in that place and, I don't know, I love being in places where I get to interact and develop relationships with people. That truly is the meaning of my life. If I were to say, it's the relationships that I get to build. There's nothing I think I value more than just a good conversation or a good person.

- Really?

- Yeah.

- Okay.

- That's the top, there's nothing that could make my day better than just getting to hang out with somebody that I really care about or getting to have a really good conversation, even with somebody that I don't know. So that's, yeah, I don't know. I just have always cared about that. I've always been just a social butterfly and a people person.

- I understand both sides of it. First 18 years of my life was not that, and then I made a definite switch, a conscious definite switch. I mean, so it's been 18 and then 21 now. I like this 21 better.

- Yeah, that's really cool. That's cool that, like, it's interesting to me that people, it's cool that you chose to make the switch. I feel like people, some people don't feel that way, but they don't realize that it's valuable to, I don't know. I don't know why. I think humans are so fuckin' cool.

- I don't know what sparked it. You don't know what sparked you coming to Colorado, or walking into Easton, or stuff, you know what I mean? I don't know what sparked it. I was on the plane coming here for college and I was like, "Man, I get to start all over. "No one knows anything about me." And, literally, I was bawling on an airplane, and I had that thought.

- That's really cool.

- So I was like, "Boom, done." This Eliot that you know, this is five versions from the original.

- [Ayesha] Yeah, that's really cool.

- And I always think it's gonna be interesting, like, the Ayesha that is now, what's five version, you're gonna change. How old are you?

- I'm 22.

- Yeah, you got a lot coming. So I always, like, what are, which version, you might be in 2.0 right now, right? 'Cause version 1.0 is childhood, when you leave your parents' house, you know? And then version 2.0 was that young adult stage. So I wanna know what, it'd be interesting to see Ayesha 3.0, 4.0.

- I think, yeah, I've always been, yeah, I don't know. I don't want the world to make me harder. I don't want, like, it's hard because I just recently in my life started learning about things like boundaries, you know? Like healthy boundaries with people, and standards, and things like that. Because the fact that I love people so much and that I feel like an empath naturally--

- [Eliot] It can fuck with you. It can hurt you.

- It can, yeah. It can hurt you, and I don't want to, I don't know. But I think it will just happen. I think life just kinda does that you, and I think, hopefully, it will be for the better, but, yeah, sometimes it's kinda scary 'cause I'm like, "Damn, I don't wanna be any less nice than I am right now."

- [Eliot] Why do you have to be?

- I don't know, but there's, you know, sometimes setting boundaries with people and setting standards with people allows you to be more generous in the long run because you fill your cup and you can fill other people's cup. 'Cause you know that saying, "You can't pour from an empty cup," and if you just let people cross your boundaries all the time, then it's like you're gonna be depleted.

- [Eliot] You're just getting beat on.

- Yeah, you're gonna be drained at the end of the day. If there was some magic to make be be this way, I wish I could just give to people and that's it. I wish I could just give and not need anything back. I wish I could be that way when I can't because I'm just human. But that's, like, I don't know.

- Well, none of us can.

- [Ayesha] Yeah, none of us can.

- 'Cause we need something back, and I think that's okay though.

- Yeah, it's okay. I just have trouble--

- But that lets us give more.

- Yeah, it's true.

- I love, how do I , it's a tough idea, right? Because I know what you're talking about, because you get jaded. Everyone gets jaded. People get so jaded. They help somebody out and that person burns them, and then they're like, "Well, fuck that. "I'm not doing that again." I feel like the essence of what true giving is is can you do it again, right? Can you get burned and then, okay, like, learn from the mistakes that you make. I guess I kinda see it as like a Jocko Willink thing, extreme ownership. If you burn me, it's my fault. I allowed that to happen somewhere.

- Truly.

- Right? So what did I do so that you were able to burn me. So then now Ayesha 3.0 is sitting over here. How do I deal with Ayesha 3.0? Use the lessons that I learned, but still come at everything with the same empath, right? With the same, like, okay, my job is to add to her life and to provide as much as I can for her but not coddle, not just to give. I think that's the hard part 'cause sometimes when we're dealing with people, we have to force them to do on their own, and when we think about giving, we're just like give, give, give, give, and that's only for a mom and a child.

- It's like exactly the way you view parenting, I feel like. Me holding standards and, yeah, having my own boundaries with people is loving them because it's teaching them also, and if they were to take advantage of it, it would, yeah, it would be nothing but my fault for letting them. But these are all, like, yeah, these are things that I'm realizing, but I wish, I don't know. Sometimes I'm just like, "Damn, I wish it wasn't like that. "I wish I could just give and people could just," but that's just, that's not even a possibility.

- That's not, I don't know if that's good for what we're talking about. You brought up the parenting. Man, if I tie my kid's shoes from now until they're 18 years old, like.

- Doesn't do shit for them.

- I fucked up. It's not my kid's fault, right? I mean, they need to see it as their fault, but I'm the one who blew it here. I tied their shoes. But we're all okay with that. We're all okay with this parenting model where it's like, okay, they have to be able to eat for themselves, they have to be able to get dressed, brush their teeth, tie their shoes, yada, yada, but then at some point along the way we stop, right? We stop and then we don't keep demanding in a loving way with empathy, and I think we need to do that, like, my closest friends do that with me.

- Yeah, my closest friends are just ballers at that. My friend Ryan, she's so good at this. This is actually who's taught me this. She will tell you exactly when you fuck up. She will just lay it out for you and she won't save your little heart or whatever. She's be like, "This is how it is. "You fucked up, I know you can be better, "you're capable of being better, and I love you." She'll be like, "I love the shit outta you. "I'm not leaving you, you're capable to be better," and I think that that's the coolest way to love somebody, to just be so real with them and be like, "But I'm not leaving, it's okay. "You have flaws, we all have flaws, "but I'm not leaving." I think that's a really, I think that's a really cool approach.

- You sit in the trench with somebody.

- Yeah, yeah, exactly.

- So you jump on board with Easton. So you're working, what's the beginning like? What's that like? Still, it's just a job now, right?

- Yeah.

- Like, you like it. You're three months in. You're three months into training. You just started working with us. It's still just a job.

- Just super over-excitable and nervous 'cause I started working Friday nights and I just worked then by myself, and the first couple shifts I think I worked with someone, probably Katie or something, or Megan maybe, and then they just let me be on my own. I remember it was crazy. I remember I started there, and this was a huge thing. I will never forget what this meant to me. But Ian was like, "Here's a key. "Here's a key to the gym." I was like, "What?" He's like, "Yeah, you're working Friday nights, right? "You're gonna be closing up the gym, here's the key." And I was like, "That's crazy." I was like, "You trust me with this place? "I don't know shit, boy." I've been messing up all my logs for the past two weeks, and, yeah, but they just put a lot of trust in me right out the gate, and they were just really good resources. Everyone gave me their phone number, and they were like, "If you need anything." Megan is especially good at this. Everyone at the desk is good at this. But they're just like, "If you need anything, "we're here to help you, but you got it. "Now you know what we expect. "You know what Friday nights are like. "You'll learn the ropes, you have the key, "you know how to close, you're good."

- [Eliot] You have the key.

- Yeah, and I remember, like, and I still get this feeling when I close at night, and I turn off all the lights in the gym, and I'm walking out the door, and I sometimes, I just look around and I'm like, "Damn, half of my heart "is just here." Like, at the Denver location. This is, like, I don't know. It's crazy how much it starts to mean to you once you start building your roots there.

- How did you build your roots? Talk about that a little bit, how did that--

- It's just going to classes and meeting people. Everybody's so different. Everyone in the gym is so different. Jiu-jitsu's is a really cool thing, and I didn't get into jiu-jitsu until, I think, probably nine months later 'cause everyone at the desk was like, "You have to know jiu-jitsu because you're selling it, "so you can't not." And I was like, "Okay, fair." But we just have a bunch of misfits. We have a bunch of really different people, from really different places, with really different life experience, and we all come together for this thing. It's so cool 'cause you go through it together, right? You're sweating, and you're in Gwen's class, and you don't think you can make it, and then you do, and it's so dope, and then afterwards you're filled with endorphins and good energy. You just got your workout done for the day, and it's, I don't know. It's just when you're, whoever you're doing that with, you're bound to have some sort of relationship with them, and me loving people and stuff, it just happened really easily. And then, yeah, everyone at the desk is just really supportive and helpful. I mean, spending time next to those people, it's just you ought to get to know them. So, yeah, I don't know.

- You keep talking about it. You guys have created your own culture a little bit, like, the desk. It's like a crew.

- Yeah, we have the sickest team at the desk. We've had it. I've always loved the front desk team since I started. I know that Vanny's like, "Yeah, it wasn't always this good. "We didn't always have this good of a system. "We didn't always work this well together." But slowly--

- Oh, she was there in the beginnings, yeah.

- Yeah, I feel like I credit so much to her, for our front desk team right now, and, yeah, just for, yeah. I feel like she's the team captain that just put us all together, and I think it's really cool. But, yeah, somehow we just, I don't know what it is, dude. I feel like it's magic. I love everyone at the desk right now.

- I feel like the whole thing's magic. I don't know how any of it happened. Amal was this dude in Santa Fe, and I was this kid in New Jersey, and somehow we met. And somehow we met and it, I don't fuckin' know. I can't explain any of it to you. That's the thing.

- And just the fact that we have Ian and Mike. Everyone we have is amazing.

- I wish, I know, I wish I could explain it.

- You could just point out anyone, and our members. So one thing that's really cool about the desk that I feel like is worth mentioning is, so I've always worked in restaurant jobs, and you're just serving people all day. It's like, "Whatever you want." You're not gonna say no to this guest. If we don't serve Coke and they ask for a Coke, we're gonna run across the street, go to the convenience store, get them fucking Coke. You are just working for these people. I like pleasing people, so that's always something that I was down for.

- [Eliot] Excuse me.

- Bless you. I like the opportunity to make someone's day, but it's so much cooler at Easton because it's just, like, I train with these people, and I know these people, and I have some some sort of connection with them outside of just this front desk interaction, outside of just solving a problem--

- [Eliot] Or giving them a Coke.

- Yeah, exactly. Outside of just the business aspect of it or like, okay, what's wrong on your profile? What's wrong with your membership? Do you need a suspension, do you need this? Problem-solving becomes so much more, you're just so much more willing to do it when somebody who's standing in front of you is someone that you really value in a different light, not just for their money. I value a relationship with them. So it's like, okay, let's figure this out. There's not another option.

- I think that's what we were trying to do with the desk, right, like, the front desk. All right, I'm gonna say this, and it sounds kinda shitty, right? It's just a shitty entry-level job. If you look at it like that, you don't see it, I know you don't see it.

- I don't see it.

- I know, I know, but that's what like someone we're talking about. Easton.Online, and The First Impression, and everything that we're trying to do, you have to create this. It's an entry-level job. What I mean by entry-level, you are not teaching a jiu-jitsu class by putting out an ad on Craigslist. That's not happening. Like for you, you needed to figure out tuition. I can't let you teach. That's not possible, right? You either have to clean or work the desk. This is it, it's entry, but it's not. It's not some shitty level where you're filling out fields on a profile. But you are, but it's not. It's the exact opposite of that. I thought that was my wife leaving with my kid now, so I was like, "Whoa, I wasn't ready for that." So why is it not? It's because of those relationships.

- Why is it not, yeah, it's because of the relationships. It's just because the people that are there, which is... I don't know. I don't know how you just, I don't know how you get that all in once place.

- Oh, I know, I mean, I know how that happens. It's really hard. Martial arts is hard. It's very, very, very hard. You are fighting, and especially as you get better in both jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai, I have to put my life in your hands.

- [Ayesha] Right.

- Right, you have to take care of me, but you have to beat me up too, and I have to try to beat you up, you know? And we have to do this thing together. So everyone that walks in the door, we know that that's going on, so it break all of the bullshit barriers that you have when you normally deal with somebody. You know that when the person's walking in the door, that shit's out the window after a year, six months, whenever it is, right? So that you can just kinda be who you are.

- Yeah, there's definitely a lot of vulnerability involved, which I think is, yeah, I think that definitely sheds a lot of the superficial layers. 'Cause, yeah, when you're in a jiu-jitsu class, you really do have to trust your partner. You have to trust the people to take care of you, but also not give it to you too easy. It's just a very delicate balance, which--

- With the yin and the yang, and they're polar opposites. They're not even like 40 and 60, and you're looking at 50%. And sometimes it verges. It moves a sliding scale based on the individual, but it's still really polar opposite, and I think that just builds such comradery, and love, and care for each other.

- [Ayesha] Yeah, I agree.

- Did you think, you didn't think this is what you were getting into?

- Oh, no, not at all. I had no idea. I was telling someone that in an intro the other day. I was like, "Damn, when I came in this building, "I had no idea what the hell I was doing "or what I was getting myself into at all." And now it's my life, and it's, yeah, it's my safe place, it's my fuckin' home. It's everything. It's my friendships, everything, my support system, the place that I exercise, just, yeah. You could split it into so many different things. It's invaluable.

- You're still young, and so you probably have some friends from other areas. It's gonna narrow down.

- Oh, yeah, it's narrowed down. I think I have, I think I have three friends, two of them which aren't even this state, so there's no way they could be, and Easton, and one of them who's just, yeah, who's just not, I met her in school. But, yeah, three friends. Three friends outside of Easton, and I'm over here like, "I'm a social butterfly." I have three friends outside of Easton. They're all just .

- Hold on, let me look at, I mean, so let me look at my favorites. This is a great way to see it, right? When you have the favorites in your phone.

- [Ayesha] Oh, yeah, in your phone.

- That don't have some relation to Easton. So I'm gonna take out my family because, but, mm, I'm only gonna take out my mom and dad because I met my wife because of Easton.

- [Ayesha] Right, I heard about that.

- Right, so all of her family.

- That's very cool.

- That's her sister. So there's my neighbor who, those right there, and now I wanna say--

- [Ayesha] Who is that? Have they come into the gym?

- No, no, Boulder. So I have not a single, oh, there's one. My friend from back home, and then the absent line.

- [Ayesha] How many favorites do you have?

- A lot.

- [Ayesha] Really?

- Yeah, I have a lot of people to talk to.

- [Ayesha] Yeah, I guess that I believe that.

- I got a lot of people to talk on a consistent basis. So I don't think the absent line counts. That's just for convenience for when my kids are sick. I have two. I have two out of, there's probably 20 in there.

- That's crazy.

- Yeah, it's crazy.

- And it's like they're my, the people at Easton, I love the shit out of them. I love them so much. I love the people I work with so much.

- Why?

- Dude, I don't know. I don't know, they're lovable people. They're all so different and we work really well together. This is crazy to say, I look forward to our work meetings. We have meetings every other week. I like going to those. It's not like, oh, my God, I have this work meeting to go to, it's like, sick, we have a meeting today. What snacks am I gonna bring while we all sit around and talk about, and we're just talking about pricing, front desk stuff, what do we need to get better at, what system is not working right now, what are the new things that we're rolling out. It's just all that type of talk, but I'm like, "Cool, I just get to go hang out with my friends. "We're all just sitting in a room," and I don't know.

- I hear you, I don't work, girl.

- Yeah, it doesn't feel like work.

- [Eliot] I don't work.

- Yeah, going to the gym, seriously, I look forward to my shifts too. I get to go in and just talk to people, and there's people I've always, I pretty much always work the same days. Fridays and Sunday have been mine for a really long time. Yeah, I just know the faces that I see so well. It's just, yeah.

- So that was the first time that you said shift, but that's how most people see things. They see it as a shift, where it comes and it goes, and you have to go do this shift. And we're 40 minutes in. Right, because you work shifts?

- [Ayesha] Yeah.

- And I'm trying to, for everyone listening, right, because the purpose of the podcast is for people to, who own martial arts schools, to take some of the information. You're the information, because you can't work a shift. Because when you work a shift, every shift I've ever worked, I wanted it to end. I didn't want to go do it, really, I had to go do it, I needed the money, so, therefore, right? What we all wanna create is this. We need you, and we need you over, and over, and over again at all of our, at the schools, because I don't want anyone to come into Easton and not wanna be there. I don't care if you're mopping the mat or if you're about to get your black belt. It doesn't matter to me. I want you to be there, and if you don't, I would like you to to go, like, even for that day, I would like you to be somewhere else. I don't have to fire you, you know?

- They actually told me that coming into it, too. They're like, "If you ever aren't feeling well "or just having a day," like, just having a day, "Just let us know, we'll talk about it." I was like, "Damn, that's really cool." it's the opposite for me. I'll be telling my family, I'm like, "Yeah, I'll be back for dinner. "I'm going to the gym for an hour." I'm back four hours later. They're like, "Where the fuck did you go?" It's like once you get there, I can't leave. I'll just be standing there, and my shifts over, whatever. There's nothing there for me to be there for anymore, I did my workout, and I'm just standing there, and I'm like, "Cool, what's next, we're here."

- I'm your boss but not your boss. I don't know if I ever told you or asked you to do too much. I think we do a good job of that as well. Talk about what it's like to be an entry-level employee, where you don't have any, you know what a direct report is?

- Yeah.

- So a direct report is somebody that reports to you. You don't have any direct reports probably, yeah?

- No, yeah, I don't have any.

- You have to report to other people. What is it like? What does that feel like as the entry-level person, and having bosses, 'cause you have Carlos, you have Van, you have Ian.

- Katie.

- Katie.

- Katie, Carlos, Van, Ian, yeah, and then you.

- And I guess me. And, I mean, I can be difficult sometimes. I was yelling at somebody right in front of you that one time, and I'm sure I made you very uncomfortable. So what does that--

- I don't recall.

- Okay, good, I remember, I felt awful.

- Oh, I remember , but it's cool.

- Yeah, so what is it like to be towards the bottom of the pole and have all these direct reports. Do they feel like your boss? Do they treat you like a--

- No, I remember when I first started and I was like, okay, I had that impression in my mind.

- Everyone does.

- Ian is my manager, and Vanny's the front desk manager. I'm like, "Okay, Ian's my manager." So I'm there on a Friday, and this is so funny, actually. I'm there on a Friday, and I feel like I'm in a sinking ship 'cause had just started and I wasn't comfortable with the flow of things. Every time somebody wanted to buy a membership, I was like, "Okay, buying a membership, "what are the steps and stuff." And I'm like, "It's cool, Ian's here. "Ian's my manager." And then Ian will walk by the desk, and I'll be like, "Ooh, Ian, I have a question." And he's like, he just makes some terrible joke about it, and then keeps walking. He's no help, but it's just because he trusted me to figure it out, and he never, yeah, they just trust you.

- How about when you mess up?

- When you mess up--

- [Eliot] 'Cause obviously you make mistakes.

- Yeah, I made mistakes. I guess, I mean, I get a log about it, and it's like, okay, you did this one thing wrong or whatever. If you have any questions, let me know, let's go over it.

- How do they make you feel when you mess up?

- I mean, they don't make you feel, there's no guilt involved whatsoever. It's not like, you fucked up. It's like, hey, I noticed that you did this wrong. Do you have any questions about how the process is? They'll ask you. Do you need to know more about this? Will that help you? Or do you know it and it was just one of those mistakes where you just went through it too fast. Maybe either take your time or if you don't know the steps to this, then let me know, I'm here. You have my number. It's never a guilt thing. It's just like, okay, let's figure this out. I don't know, it's just about solving the problem. And also, because I care about Ian and Vanny, and I value them so much, they're not looking for an excuse for me. They're not looking for like, oh, I was just really tired that day, and I'm really sorry, and this and that. I don't think I give them excuses, really. I'm just like, "I fucked up, I fucked that up." There's no excuse. It's like, whatever, I was going too fast. Okay, fuckin' slow down next time. I don't know, because they're not looking for that. They just want me to, they just want me to figure out how I can do better at what I'm doing, and they'll give me the resources to do that if I need them.

- I love this so much because you're not talking about me at all, right, which is so important for me because to really create culture, I can't do it all, and if you're the school owner, it's so hard to do it all. You have to have Vanny. It sounds like it's Vanny for you, right?

- [Ayesha] For sure, yeah.

- I don't even call her Vanny, I call her Van. But everyone, all of you guys call her Vanny, you know? And she's created her culture, and that bleeds down, and maybe someday you're gonna be the AOD. We don't know, right? And you'll create whatever it is, and that's so important, to let people grow their own wings. 'Cause that's what we're trying to do.

- That's totally another thing, too, is Jake Bell. I remember we used to have meetings with Jake Bell pretty frequently, and they were sales meetings, and it was before I really thought about the fact that I was in a sales job. I have never one felt like I'm doing sales, like, never. It's always just like I'm talking to people about what I do, and talk to people about something that I like. That's just what it feels like. I remember, yeah, meetings with Jake Bell. We would just talk about, like, everyone had a different style. I remember coming into it, Tyler had a very specific style of selling a membership, Katie had a very specific style, and Vanny had a really specific style. All of them were so different, and Jake Bell just gives you these tips, and he's like: Okay, how about this? How about you just ask open-ended questions. I don't care how you sell. I don't care what you say to this person, but how about when you're finding out about what they like, what they do, where they live, how about you just ask open-ended questions. He gives you these tools that allow you to be really flexible with who you are as a person. It's never like, "Be this way."

- [Eliot] It's like martial arts. It's just like martial arts.

- Yeah, it's like you develop your own game. Take what you like, take what you're good at.

- You have to not cross your feet when you move left. If I'm gonna move left, that all it, ooh.

- [Ayesha] You're just moving that camera when you scoot.

- We're good.

- Okay, cool.

- When you move left, you can't step your right foot behind your left foot. You can't criss-cross. That's a hard rule.

- Yeah, you--

- Can't do it. Ask open-ended questions, right? That's what all of it is.

- Yeah, it's like take this one thing, make it yours. Yeah, which is really dope.

- It's really cool, and that's the same thing with culture. Take this, right? I have my culture that I bleed down, and everyone who is probably a manager at, well, Denver, let's say, has a little bit of me in them. It's like your parents, but then you go do your own thing.

- [Ayesha] Exactly.

- And when you do your own, you still have a little bit of me, you still have a little bit of your mom and dad, but it's your own thing. And then you're gonna have kids, and then, right? It's gonna connect all the way back to whoever was first. I have a little bit of them all. I'm not anything like him, but I got this little touch, and that's what's the important thing. As long as it doesn't get too far, right? We all have to do our own thing, but we have to have basics, we have to have a foundation, we have to have a grit to it, you know?

- That's like really, yeah. That's for sure such a huge thing in our community, is we have our core values, and then it's like, "Do whatever the hell you want. "We don't care what you do with your life. "Do whatever you do. "Have these things. "Be a good person, do the right thing." Just those basics. That's just fundamentals. After that, it's like the world's yours.

- It's "The Matrix," right? It's like that's totally what it is, and everyone's gonna do it differently. It's gonna be crazy, it's gonna be all over the place, but there's Neo.

- That was great.

- So, anyway, I really appreciate you coming.

- Dude, thank you, it was my pleasure.

- Yeah, it was cool, it was cool. I hope everyone got to see that even as the owner of the school, and you're even at the school that I'm at the most, you still have to have these, the core values and vision at the top, and then it just has to spread out, right? You have to have this decentralized community. You have to let people be people. This is Amal's culture. You have to let people be people, and if you try to hold them back, then they're gonna leave you, you know? But if you do your very, very best to let them grown on their own, like it seems like you are, then they'll love you forever. And like I said at the Christmas party, if you guys ever quit, man, you're gonna quit for something so amazing. I'll be so happy.

- I loved it when you said that. That as really cool.

- You're gonna quit for something so amazing, it's gonna be so cool for all of us to watch where it is you go. You're not gonna quit to go fuckin' work at McDonald's.

- That's so bad ass.

- Yeah, so I really appreciate it.

- Thank you so much.

- All right, guys, that's it. I hope everyone goes out there, go check it out, Easton.online. Give a like, give a subscribe on the YouTube page, give a subscribe on the podcast page, leave a comment. Look, I love comments, even the bad one. Bring 'em on, I'm okay. I can always do better with this. We as an organization can always do better. Try to be nice, and if you can't be nice, that's okay too. You can be mean, and then we'll handle it, I promise. So that's it guys. Everybody go out there and find your power.

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