There is no straight line to success. No matter what anyone tells you, there is no special secret sauce that will make your journey any better. Business is a dynamic moving organism, and you need to be able to adapt. Get used to constant fluctuations and enjoy the ride
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Walcott.
David Walcott is the owner of Hustleandfit, a bag and luggage company supporting busy fitness enthusiasts. He’s also a marketing nut turned fitness addict who’s on a mission to help people have financially stable and healthy lives because money can’t help you when you’re dead.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I originally lived in Scarborough, Ontario, in a place called Chester Le. Chester Le is a government housing complex that provided additional support for struggling families. I lived there with my mom, dad, and six sisters. I come from a big family with 12 of us in total. We didn’t have much money growing up, but we did have each other. The house got cramped, so my eldest sister had an idea to move out of Chester Le and into a better neighborhood. So my parents and my older sister saved up enough to buy a house. We eventually moved to Markham, Ontario, where I spent the majority of my teen to young adult years.
Once I moved to Markham, I quickly learned that we didn’t have as much as everyone else. I remember being teased by a girl who asked me why I was wearing the same clothing day after day. It was at that time I made up my mind to become rich. I never wanted to struggle for money again.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“What looks like the easiest path might not be the best path.” I learned this from my uncle, who was killed by police. He was a suspected drug dealer. This quote is a common theme in my life because I tend to focus on efficiency. I try to find the best and quickest solution to a problem. It sometimes gets me in trouble. This quote reminds me that there is always a price to pay for every decision I make and to choose wisely.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
A film that made a significant impact on my life was the matrix. One specific scene where the main character meets a boy with a spoon who says, Do not try to bend the spoon — that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: there is no spoon.
Our belief can have a direct effect on our reality. That line and the premise of the movie changed my perspective. I believe that everyone can do extraordinary things if only they believed in themselves, plus I also love kungfu.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
I was in the finance sector for the past 10 years. I originally started in technology and ran a marketing agency but changed careers after my first son was born. I read a book on Warren Buffet that pushed me even further to start a career in finance. I began as a mutual fund specialist then became a stockbroker. I Eventually got a promotion to become a financial planner. Unfortunately, it was at the peak of my finance career that I realized that I liked investing my own money and not other peoples. I took a huge risk and quit my financial planning job. I started working for a mortgage broker as a digital marketing manager. All was good until the pandemic hit.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
I created the Hustleandfit Multipurpose Duffle. I was sleeping on the idea for a while. I gained a large amount of weight as a stockbroker. The extra weight became embarrassing and uncomfortable after I got the promotion as a financial planner. I went from hiding behind a desk to meeting clients face to face. I started my fitness journey by hiring a personal trainer. The problem I ran into was having to organize all the items I needed for my life. I had one bag for meals and another for work materials. I even had a bag for my gym clothes. I kept searching for a bag that could carry everything I needed but couldn’t find one. That’s how the Hustleandfit Multipurpose Duffel was born. I knew gyms would be affected by the pandemic as well as travel. That’s why I used the downtime to focus on design and manufacturing.
This way, I would be prepared for when things eventually opened back up.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
My aha moment happened while walking home from my morning workout routine. I began reflecting on two defining moments in my life.
One of those moments was In high school. At one point in high school, I ended up in a remedial class because of low grades and bad behavior. This was your typical classroom for troubled students. It was like the cast of The Breakfast Club without the jock. We had the sexy temptress who dressed inappropriately for a highschool girl, the violent kid who loved to jab people with pencils, and the playboy who didn’t care about anything except the way he looked. Then you had me. I found ways to minimize my school attendance and maintain a grade point average that was passable. Well, that was until my grades slipped and I got thrown into the class for future criminals.
Luckily I had one teacher who took an interest in me. Her name was Mrs. Cooper. Mrs. Cooper changed my life for the better. She realized that my problem wasn’t a lack of intelligence but on the contrary, I was a little too smart. She guessed I needed both motivation and maturity. She realized that I didn’t see the value of school, so she went out of her way to understand my point of view. Ultimately she changed my perspective on the importance of school and I ended up graduating high school earlier than my peers.
This memory of my past high school days and a situation with my son kept creeping up in my head. Before the school closures, my wife and I had a meeting with my son’s school where the teacher was telling us that he was not fitting in. There were especially concerned about his lack of focus during class time. As a parent, I was extremely disappointed because I knew my son was following in my footsteps and I wanted him to avoid the same mistakes I’d made.
So, on the drive home I began lecturing him on the importance of fitting in. I wanted him to fit in so he wouldn’t be thrown into the underbelly of the school system. If I’m being really honest, I wanted him to be safe.
Looking back I realize the advice I was giving him didn’t take into consideration his perspective. I was pushing him to forsake his truth and follow what I thought was important. My son didn’t need to “fit in.” He needed a path to success that matched his approach to life and a goal that mattered to him. I was forcing him the same way I felt forced in high school and in my career to appease other people’s expectations. I was like the teachers before Mrs. Cooper, who didn’t listen to my goals. Mrs. Cooper found ways to motivate me based on what she learned that I wanted.
My son didn’t need a father who lied to himself. He needed his very own Mrs. Cooper. A person who understood who he was, allowed him to find his path to success, and encouraged him to think outside of the box. He needed to follow his truth. Looking at these two different situations pulled me to realize my truth, which was that I didn’t want to work for anyone ever again.
How are things going with this new initiative?
We’ve had a lot of small success. We’re working with larger influencers to help spread the brand. Our Instagram grew from 0 to 20,000 followers in a couple of months. Our Kickstarter launch was a success. Our next initiative is to work with fitness facilities to increase sales by offering our products and through joint promotions.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are a lot of people I need to thank for my success, but for the sake of time, I will narrow it down to three. The first person is Mavis Walcott, my mother. She is a source of inspiration. I watched her run a business and work a job to support our family. I grew up in a household of strong women. My mother was the head of that household. I also have to thank my father. He made me work for every inch I got, which gave me strength. We have a saying in our household, “If you can survive Dennis Walcott, then you can survive anything the world throws at you,” last but not, least my wife, I tend to drive her crazy with my ideas and strategies but no matter what she goes on the journey with me. Thank you, Maryam.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
I got an interview with a big Instagram fitness influencer. My VA calls me up and says that there is an influencer with over 100,000 followers who will do an interview for our podcast series but only If I speak with him over the phone. At the time, I only had been interviewing people with around 10,000 followers or less. I was surprised he even wanted to talk to us because we had a modest following at that time.
Eventually, we got on the phone and scheduled the interview. On the day of the interview, something came up at the last minute, and he had to reschedule. I started to have doubts if this interview was ever going to happen. It took multiple failed attempts before we got the interview done. I eventually realized why he even said yes in the first place. It turns out that he’s just a nice guy who wants to spread positivity in the world. We’ve built a great working relationship that’s benefited both of us.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
There is no straight line to success. No matter what anyone tells you, there is no special secret sauce that will make your journey any better. Business is a dynamic moving organism, and you need to be able to adapt. Get used to constant fluctuations and enjoy the ride.
Find your swagger. What makes you unique? That is an important question to answer. Your unique personality and traits are the things that can’t be copied. Use that understanding in your marketing, product design, and everything you touch.
Learn to see the world in a way that inspires you. I had a friend of mine describe how he sees the world. He said, “I look out this window and see a hole in the ground and some cranes, you see the finished building.” There is no right or wrong way to see something but choose the vision that will motivate you. Respect your way of seeing the world and make decisions accordingly.
People are interesting. There are so many dynamic personalities out in the world. You need to be able to work with them. Become a master of human psychology. Your ability to scale depends on this one fact.
Pay close attention to your habits. I have read many books on business and success. The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg is the one book every business leader should read at least once. Your habits are the building blocks to success. It is through small, deliberate action over time that someone achieves greatness. It is also how many people fail at what they are trying to do. Habits can work for or against you. Make sure you have good habits.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
In all honesty, I don’t watch a lot of news. The few times that I do watch it, I try to find content from opposing sides to get a better understanding of a problem. I find that truth lies somewhere in the middle. The way I optimize my mental wellness is through 3 things.
- Meditation. Self-reflection is the best way to get centered. Go over what’s important to you and clear your mind of the things that are holding you back.
- Physical fitness. There’s something special about overcoming obstacles in the gym and then doing it in your business.
- Relaxing. I have a hard time with this one but try to take a break. We tend to get stuck in work mode, and we don’t take a minute to rest. Rest is essential for both the body and mind.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I want to start the Escape Velocity Movement. I believe If human beings worked toward the advancement of our species as a whole, then we could solve problems like death, poverty, sustainability, disease, illiteracy, and a host of other challenges. The pandemic brought about a lot of sadness. It also brought some of us together to solve an issue we all faced. I remember hearing about scientists sharing data that would be inaccessible due to governmental restrictions. Now that’s progress, imagine a world where we shared information and everyone worked together? How fast could we advance? What technologies could we create? I believe if we focus on the bigger picture, then the smaller simple problems would no longer hold us back.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would love to have lunch with Warren Buffett. His undeniable complexity is hidden by his simple charm. I would love to just hang out with him to get his viewpoint of the world and the future of humanity.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can find me at www.hustleandfit.com
Follow me on Instagram @holdspark I’ll be sharing my journey and marketing tricks.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!