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December 20, 2017

My “Why” Behind Building Gymnazo

by Michael Hughes

One of my favorite memories from this holiday season was an evening at my parents’ ranch, sitting on the patio with my brothers, listening to my Dad and his brothers share stories from “the good old days.” One thing I value about my family is the time and space we create to share meaningful conversations. They’re the kind you think about long after. This last one was particularly memorable to me because my dad and his two brothers were asked how they got into their careers. It’s interesting that these three brothers got into and stayed in their respective industries and positions for decades, and built prosperous lifestyles for their families. Already, my younger generation is seemingly less loyal to one route to success, so my brothers and I paid attention when they answered. 

One uncle has been a successful Real Estate broker in Ventura. It didn’t start as his dream, nor feel like a calling in his life, but it was rather a practical decision to be able to live in a family friendly community and allow his wife to stay at home and raise their children. His career supported a larger goal for a lifestyle that he wanted. 

Of the three of them, only my dad stayed in produce. If you know anything about growing up in Salinas, working in agriculture is pretty much assumed. And to this day, many of my childhood friends are still slinging produce in Salinas. My dad has since built a successful business as a produce broker. He never went to college. He graduated high school with a strong work ethic and never looked back. By the time my dad became a father, he had already invested a lot of time and talent into not only learning the industry, but also into being able to read trends and how play them. Providing for us and having a rewarding career, meant risking it all and going out on his own. As a broker of produce, he carries a lot of risk and reward. Knowing my dad, that’s part of what engages him. He’s also highly relational, and to this day, I still run into farmers in our community who know me as “Tom Hughes’ son.” His career was a product of the desire to work for himself, and he assumed more risk/reward in doing so. 

And finally, my uncle K.C. described what he felt was a clear calling in his life. He is a physical therapist, and from early on, he felt a true desire to heal hurting people. He never questioned it. It was his mission in life to help others, and so his journey was straightforward. He mapped out his plan and did it. Now he owns a successful practice outside of Fresno. 

What I learned through this conversation amongst three men who have shaped me, is that they each carved out careers to support three different goals: 

  1. Support family values 
  2. Entrepreneurial risk/reward challenge 
  3. A calling to help others 

Personally, I related to each motive behind these noteworthy men, but I certainly connected the most with my uncle K.C. and they way he described his life’s passion and feeling of having a calling. Since 8th grade, I’ve known what I’ve wanted to do with my life, and I am so thankful for where I am today. Work doesn’t feel like work when it’s coming from a place of purpose and passion. I feel incredibly fulfilled at the end of every week, and it is a true blessing to me. 

When I think about the hundreds of locals who choose to workout with us weekly, I’m overwhelmed thinking about their careers and contributions to San Luis Obispo. Whether it’s raising good citizens full time, or starting businesses to provide head of household jobs, or influencing policy, or continuing to learn/grow with each position…. we have so many rockstars from our community in our ranks. More than rockstars, we are a group of influencers. The energy and vitality we get from our investment in our health and wellbeing, pays dividends beyond our walls. 

Selfishly, a big part of the reason I love my career is the personal connections, the stories, the life lessons and the wisdom you share with me. I have learned so many leadership lessons, I’ve picked up wise tidbits, and I’ve been personally challenged by so many of you over the years. I am a better business owner, manager and innovator because of what I have learned from the Gymnazo community. 

Reflecting on the client survey always inspires me to become even more dedicated to escalating quality. It provides us with new ideas, new problems to solve, and ultimately, it tells us that what we do matters to your life. It is our mission to be the best part of your day and provide you with a place free from negativity where you can be uplifted. To hear that we have achieved this with so many of you is humbling. You have no idea how much this impacts our team. Thank you for continuing to invest in us and for confirming to me that this is what I was put on this earth to do. I am humbled by the generosity revealed in this year’s survey. 

As we wrap up 2017 and look ahead to 2018, I want to say thank you for supporting my dream, my family and our team of talented coaches and professionals. We are heading into 2018 feeling motivated to be even better. We are reconnected afresh with our purpose and passion, and it is my wish that you feel that even more in the coming year. 

Until then, I wish you all an incredible holiday season, filled with family and meaningful conversations that inspire you to progress and excel in the New Year.

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