What does it mean to Be the Change?


We filed the legal paperwork for Ageless on November 30th, 2008. Almost 8 years ago. So much has changed, yet in the same breath so little has changed – the paradox of small town living. We have had success, expansions, closings, and failures. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve felt joy, and we’ve felt pain. We’ve added new members to our families and lost older ones. Our revolving door at the gym has brought in some of the same faces since our inception while at the same time bringing in a new face or two almost daily. Through it all, two things has always remained constant – Pete and myself and our “why” for Ageless.

That too is about to change. This Thursday will be Pete’s final day at Ageless. Starting this fall, he will be leading the Macoupin County’s CEO program for area youth interested in entrepreneurship. It’s a position that clearly fits him well. We could not be happier for him because although he’s leaving us, he’s continuing the “why” we set out to accomplish in my parents’ basement almost 8 years ago. It started with a simple question. Wouldn’t it be nice if the BenGil community had a gym? Slowly, we repeated the initial part of that question over and over again, wouldn’t it be nice if…, until eventually it morphed into something much larger.

Ageless has and never will be about money. It will always be about our mission of empowering people to “Be the Change.” Start from within, be inspired, challenge yourself, and then aspire those around you. You can chase dreams. You can chase goals. You can even chase fireflies. Just get out of bed every morning with a purpose, a purpose that’s important to you, and chase it. Yes, you’ll fall. Yes, you’ll be weak. Yes, you’ll experience pain. Yes, at times you’ll feel like your out of breath, barely able to move your legs. Yes, at other times, it will feel like you’re spinning on a hamster wheel going nowhere. Yes, the world around you that seems to be dripping with negativity will judge you and try to bring you down. Pardon my french but *uck them. Get up, smile, ignore the negativity, and keep marching to the beat of your own drum towards your north star. Our time on earth is finite, and I guarantee that when we put that first foot in our grave, the very last thing on our mind will be our failures, weaknesses, people’s opinions,  and sadness. So why not find your own oasis of happiness now, challenge yourself daily so you’ll become accustomed to failure and success (the real spices of life), and make those around you better and brighter. Or as Steve Jobs so eloquently stated, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

You see that very same vision with Fight the Fight, which is no coincidence as that vision was not the vision of one of us but both of us. And I’m sure that very same vision will be extended to the CEO program and hopefully will trickle down to the businesses those young entrepreneurs start. I hope that if I’ve done anything for him over the last 7 years, it’s that I’ve been a confirmation and a witness that the way we started and ran Ageless is the way most businesses should operate. When those little doubts and naysayers spring up, I hope he’ll lean on Ageless like I’ve leaned on Fight the Fight.

He’s been a great cofounder and an even better friend. Ageless wouldn’t have reached anywhere close to the success we’ve had without him.  From the bottom of my heart, thanks Pistol Pete for the last 7 years.