The Godfather and the Game Changer

I’ve gotten a big kick out of how my friends and coaching clients in the fitness industry have started referring to me as, “The Godfather”, since I was one of the first to start down this crazy and amazing path.

And I’ll admit, it’s gone to my head. In fact, I now even have the email address, Craig [at] (thanks to Matt Smith, a man of mysterious ways…I don’t ask HOW he got the domain, I’m just glad he did – BTW, that email goes to our ETR support staff).

Anyway, y’all have Vince Del Monte to thank for starting the whole “Godfather” thing, and Shaun Hadsall for recently ramping up my ego by constantly calling me that during his ultra-successful product launch. (So thank you, gentlemen.)

But today it’s not about The Godfather. (And it never, ever should be about the The Godfather…because I’m boring.)

Instead, today is all about The Game Changer. She’s the hero of our story. She’s young and full of energy, she’s talented and a tremendously hard worker.

And she’s the best Apprentice you could ever hope for.

Let me tell you about her, and then I’ll show you how to find one of your own. I decided to reveal my Apprentice-finding and teaching secrets after a trip I went on last month.

“How’s ETR going?” was the most popular question my friends and business colleagues asked me last month at Joel Marion’s fitness event in Asheville, North Carolina.

Great, I replied, as I told them about the upcoming $100,000 Early To Rise Transformation Contest. The massive prize money giveaway shocked most of them, and you’ll learn more about the early 2013 contest in a future email.

But the second most popular comment to me was more important.

You see, everyone kept on saying to me, “I need an Amy. Where did you get her?”

In fact, Shaun Hadsall, who received some help from Amy in a Copy Peer Review Process, called her a “Game Changer”.

And she is.

Amy is my Apprentice.

And her reputation is growing in the fitness industry as being the go-to Turbulence Training team member for getting-stuff-done. Period. It’s amazing the amount of work she completes each day.

All of her hard work makes my promotions easier and more effective and free up my time to work on Early to Rise and the Transformation Contest. In fact, I’d even say that Amy is making me obsolete in my own business, and that’s a good thing.

She does a tremendous job every day, and not only did I want to take this chance to recognize her (and not just because it’s her birthday this week – Happy Birthday, Amy!) but I wanted to show you EXACTLY how you “create” a Game Changer like Amy in your business.

The great news (for you) is that there are a lot of great people like Amy out there who would want to help your business and vision.

You know why?

Because, due to the economy, a lot of GREAT people are stuck in not-so-great situations.

Today’s financial environment is scaring the daylights out of people, so great people stay in bad jobs.

Or worse, some tremendously ambitious and talented folks have no job at all.

And those are the people you’re looking for…a fantastic person that is “between jobs”.

The two places I suggest you start looking are:

1) Craigslist – It’s amazing who you can find here.

2) Through your customer list – These people already like you, and want to be a part of your team and vision.

When I found Amy through Craigslist, she had just returned from Asia where she was teaching English, and she just couldn’t find something she liked back here in Toronto…but she knew she wanted and deserved more out of life.

In a minute, I’ll share the ad she replied to, but first, I’m going to suggest a few other things.

You’re not looking for just an Assistant.

You’re looking for an APPRENTICE.

Big difference.

An Apprentice is someone that is willing to dedicate years – and a lot of energy – to learning your craft.

They are willing to do the work. They want to turn PRO.

(Acknowledgement to Steven Pressfield for both of those ideas.)

And YOU need to be willing to be their mentor.

This is not a person that you’re just going to “delegate” things too. Instead, you are going to invest in them as much as they are investing in themselves.

That’s the only way this works.

That’s the only way you create a Game Changer.

And it doesn’t happen overnight.

When Amy started with me back in the fall of 2008, I had her spend as much time Studying (on my dime) as she did working and running errands for me.

I quickly saw her enthusiasm for the business and for the educational materials she was studying. Her reviews and reports of what she learned were thorough. She was organized and a good communicator – essential skills for the role she would be working into.

On and on this process went. Month by month she would gain greater responsibility. She earned my trust. And over time she would get the chance to experiment with her own ideas.

But this didn’t happen overnight. That said, the process could have moved a lot faster if I were a better teacher. Thanks to Mr. Smith, I know a lot more now about providing feedback than I did then.


The Apprentice grew in confidence. Her skills sharpened. Her understanding of the Ultimate Goal (to create the TT World) allowed her to make the right judgment calls.

There were a few stumbles, there always will be. But when that happened, the responsibility was ultimately mine. The communication comes from the top down, and the buck stops with the old Godfather.

When you find your Apprentice, you have to accept that too.

If something goes wrong, it’s your fault.

If the Apprentice does something right, it’s their success, and you were just the person that guided them along.

If you are willing to commit to this level of mentoring with a willing Apprentice, I guarantee you that it will pay off many-fold in the end.

So let’s go back to finding that person…

You might already know someone, and have a hunch that they belong in your organization. Bedros, my good friend, hired one of his best people from the Starbucks across the street from his office. He noticed this employee always took extra effort to upsell him. People notice the extra effort. They always do.

If you don’t know someone, go to Craigslist, your customer list, or perhaps even Facebook, and make it clear what you are looking for in an Apprentice.

I’ll show you that method in detail tomorrow.

Find the right people and teach them well,

Craig Ballantyne

More kind words for Amy…

“Amy, I have to say thank you very much for taking the time toassist me. I am extremely grateful that you made the time to do this. I am sure you are already SUPER busy. You have gone WAAAAY above and beyond. Thanks again.”  – Derek Shannon, The Nutrition Renegade