Consistent action. Incremental tinkering. Small improvement in the short term. Large benefit in the long term.
Kyle Wood studied engineering for a while at university, but when he hit his first industry placement he found himself wanting more. It wasn’t just the repetitious nature of the problem solving or being confined inside, sitting at a desk. He needed a side project to keep himself stimulated and started exploring a couple of diverse areas of interest: body building and blogging.
It would certainly have not been apparent to Kyle at the time how these two areas could come together, and initially it was his interest in body building that led him to starting a part-time boot camp business. Kyle enjoyed the interaction of group fitness so much that he never made it to a full-time engineering job. He enjoyed the outdoors and helping people through exercise, and decided to make a fist of this as a career.
While his first attempt at starting a boot camp business was not overly successful, re-launching with the backing of a fitness studio gave Kyle another chance to experiment with his ideas about group fitness. However he noticed he quickly ran out of ideas for exercises and that there was a lack of material on-line to help him.
It was at this point Kyle incorporated his experimentation with blogs with boot camp training, launching the website Boot Camp Ideas. He decided to start posting his own exercise ideas on-line, inconsistently at first, and then making sure he posted once per week. Bringing to mind the approach of tinkering that Nassim Nicholas Taleb outlines in his book Antifragile, Kyle invested a small amount of money and time in his website to see if anything came of it. Slowly but surely other boot camp trainers from around the world began finding his blog, and appreciating what Kyle was offering them.
It took two years of consistent posting, and I’m sure quite a bit of research and reading, but Kyle was actually able to start making money from his blog, leveraging the trust and following he had built. Four years later and after more tinkering and experimentation Kyle has found an online business model that works serving a growing group of boot camp trainers.
Kyle’s challenge now is in not getting caught-up in the hype generated by many online entrepreneurs who flout their fast growth and record product launches. Kyle talks about the temptation to want to bypass the slow, steady growth for something more fast-paced and glamorous. What he has come to realise is that for him he needs other things in his life other than constantly searching for the next big thing. Things like his own fitness, nurturing his relationship with his wife, opportunities to be spontaneous in his socialising, and new side-projects that give him an energetic if not financial return.
It was in Portland, the city where being weird and expressive is the norm, that Kyle encountered a pain and freedom to explore that has led him to his latest curiosity. The pain was of missing his lifelong male friends of Melbourne and the difficulty in moving to a place of openness and honesty with his new male friends in Portland. This spurred Kyle to thinking about his own reluctance to be open and vulnerable, and led Kyle to starting Heartmen and the I Love You Man podcast. In publicly ‘going first’ in being open and vulnerable, Kyle hopes these conversations with other men will give listeners the courage to buck the cultural norms for males and also open up: with themselves and with the other men around them.
I love Kyle’s willingness to try new things and put them out there, even when they are not perfect. In putting them out there he is able to get so much learning, to use this to tinker and make further improvements, and to offer so much to the people he serves.
One day Kyle would love to be involved in disrupting the experience of males going through adolescence. Reflecting upon his own experience in high school, Kyle would like to one day be part of equipping guys with relationship and emotional intelligence skills and encouraging them to be curious rather than rigid in exploring who they are.
And Kyle recommends practising small daily sessions of meditation for a period of time, and to observe its impact. While he does not currently practise, for Kyle meditation gave him the ability to see that he could be a calm person, and that he had a choice in how responded to the things that happened around him.
Kyle is gentle man who gives great insights into subtly moving in a direction for positive impact.