Under the Bar

Are You Ready, I Mean REALLY Ready?

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

- Steve Jobs



“ I don’t get consumed by circumstances that are beyond my control. If I worry, it beats everyone down. I’m always into what’s happening next. So Bob Griese has a broken ankle? Okay, let’s get Earl Morrall ready and put him in there.”

- Don Shula

Audible Ready


A past manger of mine,back in 1995, suggested I read the book Everyone’s A Coach by Don Shula and Ken Blanchard. I was coordinating a personal training program at the time and was having some communication and sales issues with some of the staff I was managing. This was one of the first “business” books I read, and it remains on my top shelf today.  I pulled the book out to review while walking on the treadmill and got engrossed with all the lessons and how I’ve used them over the years. Thinking back on how much impact four pages of this book has had in my training, business, coaching and life was amazing and humbling for me to look back on.

The concept that had such a large impact on me was something the authors called “Audible – Ready.”

An audible is defined by my Mac Dictionary as:

audible |ˈôdəbəl|

Adjective: able to be heard: ultrasound is audible to dogs.

Noun: (Football) a change in the offensive play called by the quarterback at the line of scrimmage.


audibility |ˌôdəˈbilitē|noun,

audibly |-blē|adverb

ORIGIN late 15th cent.: from late Latin audibilis, from audire ‘hear.’



“Audible-ready is Shula’s term for adaptability. Don Shula doesn’t believe in holding a game plan that isn’t working. The key to being adaptable is to be well prepared in the first place. Audibles are well thought out and choreographed ahead of time. Shula is always asking, “What if…? So that when a change occurs, neither he nor his players are caught flat-footed. A fixed game plan or published organizational chart can be deadly to organizations today. “

- Ken Blanchard

Chalk Bowl with Stand



The Plan


The way I interpret this was to spend time creating the best plan you can.  Discover your strengths and weaknesses and build this into the overall scheme. Utilize and build your strength and bringing up your weaknesses. Once this plan is in place the real work begins…

It’s time to create back up plans in case something fails. I’m a big believer in having more than one back up plan. I personally would like to see a minimum of three options in case something doesn’t work out, and trust me, in training and business most things DON’T and WON’T work out. You can either accept that you are screwed, pushed into a corner, or just don’t know what to do…


You can be prepared ahead of time and know what to do when the expected changes occurs, as well as when the unexpected happen. I define this as:

  1. Your “A” Plan – The golden plan that happens if everything works.
  1. Your “B” Plan – The go-to plan happens when “A” isn’t working out. Usually only minor changes need to be made, if they are made FAST. If they are not made fast these changes will not be minor anymore and could become major and move to Your “C” plan.
  1. Your “C” Plan - This is a major change from your “A” plan and may mean a complete restructure of what you originally planned.  These will take more time as the implications are much more serious. Never rush on this one and NEVER be afraid to step back and ask for advice, hire advisors, or look at the situation from 10,000 feet.
  1. Your “D” plan – This is your disaster rescue plan and is based on what you will do if the absolute worst outcome happens.

Do you need these four plans for everything you do in training, life and business? The short answer is…

Do you have a will?

I do feel in one way or another you should have all four of these “mentally” thought out. The more serious, important or formal the objective is the more formal this process needs to be. If it is something that is very important to you all four steps should be researched and documented.  In other words, it needs to be in writing.


NOTE: I will stop here and say if you are extremely passionate about something I do not see a need to have this in writing because it will be so engrained in your mind, spirit and HEART. I would still keep some type of notes to help lay things out in ways you may not see at first glance.


Halloween Sales ENDs 10/31/2011

In the Gym


In classic “Under the Bar” style I will now demonstrate this with one business and one training example so you can see that the lessons we already know and learned in the gym are many times the same ones we need to succeed in business and life.

I’m willing to guess you have spent many hours thinking about, researching, training for in the gym, and planning the program you are currently doing. You have set a solid plan but have you thought about what you will do when things don’t work? This can be an entire book in itself so I will present this with one example using the “Max Effort Method.”

The goal of this method is to strain. It teaches both intramuscular and extra muscular coordination. To perform this method you are required to work up to a VERY heavy weight in the 90% plus range for sets of 1-3 reps (max 4 reps over 90% per workout). Let’s assume you select SS Yolk Bar Close Stance Low Box Squats as your Max Effort (ME) movement of the day. You begin with the bar and start working up.  One goal is to always break your PR (personal record) for the movement so as you work up and things feel good, you continue working up and your session may look like this:

Yolk Bar Squats (option A)

Bar x 5 for 2 sets










465x1 (new personal record!)

This would be optimal and according to plan, but what happens if when you get to 275 the weight feels WAY too heavy, then at 315 you know there is no way you will break a PR and would be lucky to get 425 for a single. What do you do? Do you have a plan for this? Are you Audible-Ready?

Being Audible-Ready would mean having a couple back up plans and a disaster rescue plan. One audible would be to change the goal of the day from a max PR single to a max PR triple. So in other words, instead of breaking your one rep PR you go after your best triple record (say it’s 365x3):

Yolk Bar Squats (option B)

Bar x 5 for 2 sets








One more option would be to work up to a set of five reps, rest and repeat the weight again. Finally, the disaster rescue plan would be to change out the movement or just drop ME work for the day.

The key to any successful program is to have a solid plan in place, but this will only do so much – the real success-maker is knowing when to change and have a plan in place to do so.

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In Business

As with the gym, you want to be prepared with a plan and then EXPECT that it will have to be changed. It is far better to make these changes in the flow of the plan than waiting until after it fails and having to look back and ask why. Will this stop failure? HA! No way, failure is a giant part of business and will happen more times than success, but that’s for another post.

So your marketing plan is set for the next two months. You have everything covered, market segmentation, market research, demographics, your trading area, positioning, differentiation, strategy, analysis, sensory, and pricing. All the planning is done and the process has been laid out and scheduled. Out of the gates you are killing sales records and everything seems to be falling in place. A couple months go by and you can’t believe how great your plan is working…


You top sales representative quits, you best selling service stops selling, and your operating capital drops like flies. You realize if something doesn’t change within the next 2-3 weeks the business is done. What is your plan for this?

Are you Audible-ready?

Keep in mind these are just some of the things you can SEE or GUESS with ease. In business the real things you need to be prepared for you will NEVER see coming. What is your plan for dealing with the unknown? How fast can you come up with a plan that will buy time to think, research and avoid knee-jerk reactions?

There will always be those things that will blindside you. This is part of the risk of being in business, but with strategic thinking you can come up with plans that should help you out of any situation you find yourself in.  You just need to be ready to change or adjust the plan if it’s not working.

It’s not always about plowing through the barrier.  Many times it’s better to crawl over it, dig under it, go around it, blow it up or just walk away, become some barriers can’t be broken regardless of how positive you are. Let others be the ones who keep banging their heads against the wall doing the same things and expecting a different result.

This isn’t about a choice or who has the better plan. This is about who can make the best adjustments and keep moving forward.

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