All around the country, people can (accurately!) argue that 2020 has been a particularly rough year. For 33 year-old Nick Shaw, it was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Shaw is the founder and CEO of Renaissance Periodization and a former competitive powerlifter and bodybuilder who has serves as nutrition coach to CrossFit Games Champions, Olympians, UFC fighters, and Navy SEALs. His wife, Lori Shaw, is also his #1 colleague at RP, writing all of their cookbooks, starring in their YouTube channel, and co-hosting their podcast.
So when Lori was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in January, the Shaw family buckled down and embraced everything they knew about getting uncomfortable and leaning on habits and health.
For Nick, 2020 brought not just the diagnosis of Lori’s breast cancer, it also brought her hospitalization and chemotherapy, which she endured mostly solo due to quarantine. All the while, the Shaw family was dealing with shelter in place orders, homeschooling their two young kids, managing their business, and trying to navigate Lori’s ongoing care plan. So Nick did what he does best; he put his head down and got to work.
Fit for Success, out this month, shares what Nick has learned not just as a coach, but also about self-improvement and the psychology behind mindset training. True to the mindset practice that Shaw executes, the book’s very first chapter is titled “Work Ethic.” Shaw writes in that chapter, “Simply put, hard work is the only thing that actually creates success…In a direct sense, work causes success. And in some cases, the minimum amount of work that is required for success can be quite high…Failing to meet these minimum thresholds of effort doesn’t lead to less success, but no success at all.”
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And hard work is just what Shaw expects from you, even in Fit For Success. Each chapter, with topics like developing and maintaining a good work ethic, having an internal locus of control, keeping a positive mindset, maintaining discipline, developing a purpose, and dealing with failure Shaw gives you a task. These sections, titled “Putting It Into Practice,” closes each chapter with a helpful suggestion on how to implement the characteristic or concept covered in that chapter.
“It’s easy to talk about having the right mindset or focusing only on the things that you can control, but it’s another matter to put them into action,” Shaw writes. “I learned this for myself earlier this year as Lori battled breast cancer chemotherapy treatments, all while we were subjected to months of quarantine due to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19. It was a challenging time, to say the least. As I learned, keeping a positive mindset and focusing on the things that you can control requires more than just an understanding of these concepts. This is where discipline comes into play.”
We sat down with Nick to talk briefly about his book, Fit For Success, and why this was the perfect time to put it out into the world.
BarBend: Why did you write this book now?
Nick Shaw: I think that the year 2020 has seen a lot of struggles for nearly everyone. If being able to turn some bad events in my life into something good that can help others, inspire or motivate them to do better then it’s 100% worth it.
Renaissance Periodization founder Nick Shaw shares actionable tips to improve mindset and create positive new habits out of otherwise tough situations.
BarBend: What was it like writing this book while Lori was battling breast cancer?
Shaw: I was recently asked this on a podcast and it was phrased as if doing this was therapeutic and I think that is a good way of looking at it. For me, it all goes back to being able to turn something that was bad into something positive that can help others. My wife has done the same by sharing her story to help others going through a similar experience and this was my way of helping out by showing that you can be successful in any area of your life if you apply some key principles that seem to be nearly universal.
BarBend: As a father, husband, and business owner how have you gotten through this year so far?
Shaw: I’ve had to really change my mindset and approach. We’ve learned to focus on things that we have control over, being able to stay more positive, I’ve implemented better habits/practices to help me stay more disciplined and I’ve set out to read and learn as much as I can.
BarBend: What’s next for you? Your family? RP?
Shaw: We’re going to continue to use the quarantine and home school to keep getting better each day and choose to make the most of it. Rather than seeing being stuck at home more as a negative, we’ll continue to look for things that we can capitalize on (example: spending more time with my kids, helping teach them new activities/sports, reading more, etc.).