Earning 8x More and Making a Difference with Self Love Coach Paul Fishman

Paul Fishman lived an incredibly fast-paced life as a personal trainer, nutrition coach, spin instructor, and pilates instructor. He taught dozens of high-energy spin classes a day, pouring his energy into each and every person around him…leaving him utterly drained. One day, as he looked in the mirror, he realized that he didn’t recognize the […]

Paul Fishman lived an incredibly fast-paced life as a personal trainer, nutrition coach, spin instructor, and pilates instructor. He taught dozens of high-energy spin classes a day, pouring his energy into each and every person around him…leaving him utterly drained.

One day, as he looked in the mirror, he realized that he didn’t recognize the person starring back at him; all he saw in his reflection was a people pleaser. He was living his life for others, and it had to stop. Over the course of nearly 10 years, Paul has been on his own self love journey. And now he’s on a mission to empower and inspire others to do the same.

Paul Fishman’s Website: https://paulfishman.love/quiz

Paul’s FREE Masterclass: www.paulfishman.love/masterclass

Josh:
Hi, everyone. This week, we’re here with Paul Fishman, who is a self-love coach and is currently making about eight times what he made in his previous job. And I told him this before we hit record, but I’m going to add a new segment here, which is before we get into your story, Paul, tell us about what a day in your life looks like now.

Paul:
Totally. So, a day in my life looks really slow, in a really intentional way. So, I don’t set an alarm clock in the morning. I wake up when I feel ready to wake up. And most of the time, my day starts with meditation, some journaling, some sort of movement, whether it be going on a walk with my puppy or riding a bike. And I don’t really get into the business part of my day until 10, 11, maybe even noon. Since a big, big portion of my life is spent on social media, as the personality, and just pushing my brand, so it’s really important for me to stay off of my phone and technology for as much of the day as possible.

Josh:
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. I do something similar. I also… And it’s good that we’re recording at 11:00 AM because I also don’t usually start until 11:00 AM. So that works out really well. How does that compare to what life was like before, when you were doing your previous job?

Paul:
Yeah, so, I’ve had multiple jobs in my life, but previously, before I was a self-love coach, I was a personal trainer, nutrition coach, spin instructor, pilates instructor, and I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I was waking up in the morning around 4:35 to go teach a 6:00 AM spin class, and then I would go to multiple clients and then I would maybe have time to eat some lunch or breakfast or nutrients. And then I would go teach another spin class or a pilates class, have another client. And it was just constant movement and constant hustle, that really burnt me out after, I was doing that for nearly five years.

Paul:
And I would wake up with nightmares that my body would just collapse during a class, because I subconsciously had this feeling of something’s got to give and my body was screaming. Like, “You got to stop, you can’t teach 11 spin classes anymore, Paul, you can’t do it.” And I definitely had adrenal fatigue. And so my new morning routine is really the complete opposite of what I used to do just for the sake of really being conscious of how I treat my body. It’s really, really important for me.

Josh:
Yeah. That I can also resonate with that, running around all the time and then you’re just exhausted and you just have no energy. Is that where this came from? Maybe I’m jumping ahead. Is that the answer?

Paul:
Kind of. So, personal training and self-love coaching, you might think that they’re pretty similar in the sense that I am helping people improve their lives. My mission is to empower and inspire humanity to love unconditionally starting from within. Because if you don’t love yourself, there’s no way you can love anyone else. And we could unpack that statement for the entire podcast episode. But what I really want to point out is that my aha moment, when I went from doing all of this running around and fitness and helping people get into the best shape of their lives was when I was sitting on the ground with a client after she had just finished her workout and we were stretching and she was newly divorced and she had a new boyfriend and she said to me, “Paul, I just need to lose three more pounds. And this guy is going to love me the way that I love him. I know it. Just three more pounds.”

Paul:
And at that moment, my entire training career, my entire life flashed in front of my eyes and all of my clients who were really looking for external validation to make them happy and doing the transformation to get someone else to like them or validate them, whether it’s a relationship or a job or likes on Instagram. And it was literally at that moment, I don’t remember the timeline specifically, but I do remember that at that moment, I said, “I need to get underneath the why behind the weight loss or the working out, or the getting better eating habits and get people to do it for themselves first.” And not was really where it all came from. And It took off very quickly.

Paul:
I was flying by the seat of my pants. The first client that I signed, I was one week ahead of her in the creation of my flagship programming, which I still use to this day. And it was just so exciting and new and also so needed. And that was almost three years ago. I started part-time and was able to take my business full-time in just six months because of the amount of need that I found in this niche.

Josh:
I’m curious where the initial thing came from, to get you into personal training in the first place. What was that about?

Paul:
Yeah. So, we’ll have to travel background 10 years ago. And this was the beginning of my self-love journey. And it was really, there was this catalyst of events at the time. I live in San Diego now, this is where I grew up. I was living in New York City. I had graduated college from Boston, from Berkeley College of Music, and I just naturally migrated to New York City and got an internship. And then I was also just working part-time in retail. And it became very clear to me that if I wanted to work in the music industry, I would have to be a starving artist for multiple years before I could actually make it happen. And I didn’t have the ability to do that just emotionally or financially. So I decided to just work the corporate ladder and work in retail.

Paul:
So I found myself working at Louis Vuitton and then Cartier, and eventually was at a manager of a flagship retail store on Fifth Avenue in New York. So from the outside looking in, everyone was like, “Oh, wow, Paul you’re so accomplished. You have this high paying job.” And at the same time, I was in a relationship where on paper, we were a power couple and it was amazing. But inside, I was so miserable. And I have no idea why, because I was sitting here so excited to brag to everyone else about what I was doing in my life. But when it came to celebrating it within, I was just like, “Well, this sucks. I’m not happy. I’m just on this hamster wheel of success. And it just doesn’t feel good.” And it was at that moment that I decided, through a course of different events, that I needed to leave the relationship.

Paul:
And when I left the relationship, because of the relationship that on the outside looked great, but on the inside was really emotionally abusive and toxic, I had packed on around 75 pounds and I was just not feeling healthy or happy in my body. So when I left that relationship, that was the real catalyst. Within two weeks, 20 pounds of emotional weight had just fallen off of my body. And when that happened, people were like, “What are you doing? You look so great.” And I was like, “I am not working out or doing anything. I think I’m just living my truth, honoring what I want.” And it was really challenging for me to step into that.

Paul:
However, at the same time, when I would tell people what I was doing, they were like, “Oh, that’s great. We’re so proud of you.” Because I was so scared of what everyone was going to think by, leaving the relationship and then eventually I left the job and I ended up moving from New York city back to San Diego and with my parents at the very young age of 29. No 29 year old wants to move back in with their parents. And it was definitely a rude awakening. So, but before that, I had gotten on this fitness journey as a student of spin, of indoor cycling, and had lost all of the weight. So I moved back in with my parents, decided to enter into the family business, at that moment, stepping back into the same cycle that I was, which was working in a job that I wasn’t excited about, just going through the motions so that I could pay some bills and have fun on the nights and weekends.

Paul:
And it was at that moment that I really just worked through that. I was doing that for 16 months. And then it turns out that I had this opportunity to teach spin. And I started doing that because I was so terrified to gain the weight back. I was like, “What’s the only way that I can guarantee that I will not gain the weight back?” And I was like, “Oh, get paid to work out and get paid to have a healthy, fit, inspiration physique.” And I was in the best shape of my life during those four and a half years. However, I was also just like, as we already talked about, in emotional and physical turmoil, because working out upwards of 11 times a week, doing intense cardio, plus my own workouts on top of that, it’s not healthy for anyone.

Josh:
Yeah, that’s a lot. Was your body even able to handle that?

Paul:
I was just in a different place. It was like disassociating because our adrenals are just pumping out everything, we’re always in fight mode or flight. We’re always in that feeling, especially in the fitness industry. And this is something that they don’t talk about, fitness instructors, because not only do you have the pressure of looking a certain way, but you also have to always be on. I was always on. So it definitely took a toll on me. And when I left, it took me around a year and a half to recover from that adrenal fatigue. And it really meant I wasn’t able to work out.

Paul:
The only working out I did was going on walks. And that was really hard because then I started putting on weight and filling out a little bit. And it was really challenging for me to experience that because I had placed so much of my worth on how I looked and this in itself also packed itself into the reasons why I’m so focused on self-love and empowering others to do that just by sharing my journey.

Josh:
Yeah, I can resonate with a lot of that body image stuff. It’s a journey. I’m curious what this looks like now in terms of… Because I think this is such an interesting picture to me, where you used to take on a client and you’re like, “Okay, let’s make you look good,” but it sounds like now you take on a client and you’re like, “Let’s make you feel good.”

Paul:
Yeah.

Josh:
And then maybe the looking good will be as a result, but-

Paul:
Exactly.

Josh:
How does that compare? What does it look like now when you start to work with someone?

Paul:
So, it’s interesting that you bring up that internal transformation that affects an external transformation, because that is so true. And that is exactly what happens on this journey. My program is called the self-love diet. And the reason that I call it that, not only because I have those roots in fitness and nutrition, but also because I’m consciously going up against these media’s definition of what a diet is, which is restriction. And if you look in the dictionary, the word diet strictly means habitual nourishment. And my definition of self-love by the way, is the self is the individual and love is devotion. So when you are fully operating in self-love, you aren’t devoted to your individuality. So within my program, what I’m doing is I’m teaching people how to habitually nourish the devotion to their individuality.

Paul:
Now, as an individual, someone might come to me and say, I want to lose weight, or I want to find my dream partner, or I have this goal. And it doesn’t matter to me what their goals are. And this is actually the first moment, because they’re like, “But wait, shouldn’t you care?” And I’m like, “Well, your goal has nothing to do with me. Zero.” And this is where a lot of coaches and clients get caught up in this almost co-dependent relationship, because you’re taking this external validation that you were looking for from other people, and you’re placing it onto your coach. And that’s where a lot of people go wrong, because I will tell clients at the beginning of the journey, I’ll say, “Listen, I don’t have any expectation for you to do anything that doesn’t work for you. I have zero judgment. If you say these are your goals and you don’t make them, that’s fine. I will still love you. I will still be supportive of you because regardless of how you feel.”

Paul:
Sometimes the goals are not visible. Sometimes this self-love journey, which by the way, is not finite. You’re not going to wake up one day and say, “I love myself,” and never have to do it again. Right? It’s a daily, daily journey. And that’s really important to recognize and witness. So back to your question, when a client comes to me, it really starts with the goal setting. The program, depending on whether they’re working with me on a one-on-one basis, or if they’re in my group program, which I’m actually getting ready in a couple of weeks to open the doors to again, it’s a seven week journey. And I ask my clients, I say, “Where do you want to be in seven weeks?” And they get to decide. A lot of them say, “Well, I would just love to look in the mirror and be able to stand the person staring back at me.”

Paul:
And I’m like, “Great. That’s amazing.” First of all, it takes a lot of courage to admit that. I’m still working through this issue that I found with my clients that I’m the dirty little secret, that they hired a self-love coach, because no one wants to admit that they don’t love themselves, but it’s hyper saturated everywhere. So then, it’s just interesting to witness how people are like, “Oh, I can’t tell my friends that I have a self-love coach. Can I call you something else?” I’m like, “Call me whatever you want. You’re in a program that we’re working on your self-love. So, notice within yourself that you’re scared to admit to other people, and that’s going to be your first step is sitting down with someone and saying, “Hey, this is an issue that I had.”

Paul:
And what you realize, anyone, people just want others to be happy. At the core, others just want us to be happy. And if the people that are in your life don’t want you to be happy, they’re not meant to be in your life. Period. And we’ll run into this issue when people say, “But what about everyone on Facebook and social media?” Those aren’t real people in your life. Those are basically strangers. So of course they’re going to come for you because they have no real connection to your happiness. I’m talking about the real people in your life. The people you spend time with. Your friends, your close family.

Paul:
And a lot of people say, “Well, some of my family just drives me insane.” Well, cool. Family can just be blood. They don’t have to be friends.

Josh:
I like all of that. Reminds me, I was talking with my coach recently and he was saying, “I don’t even look at what your current struggle is because it’s not about that. It’s about the longer term and how you can work through things in the end on that.” So, yeah, that’s really, really cool. And I think the other thing that stood out to me is just the difference, right? Between the very specific goals of like, “Oh, I want to look good,” to now it’s almost like you’ve zoomed out. And you’re looking at things from a higher perspective.

Josh:
And the fight or flight thing that you mentioned a while ago also stands out, because sounds like you’re going from, “Let’s hammer this specific thing until we fix it,” to “Let’s look at everything that’s going on with you. And then we can get back to those specific things.”

Paul:
Yeah.

Josh:
That’s really special. So you mentioned that the journey for you has been pretty quick, what was it like? Was it scary? The day that you decided, like, “I’m not going to be a trainer anymore, I’m going to sell self-love,” and I think it’s good you mentioned the stigma around it, or maybe people don’t want to talk about it publicly. Was that scary for you to be like, “No, this is what I’m doing.”

Paul:
So I have the type of personality, I was raised in a family of entrepreneurs that entrepreneurship isn’t scary, staying stuck in stagnant is scary. I also like to just drive home this point that I couldn’t teach much longer. My body maybe had six to 12 months in it. And I needed a way out. So when this idea was almost divinely given to me, I was on a plane flying to a friend’s destination wedding, it was a two hour flight. And I wrote my entire program in that two hours. It came to me that way. Of course, it was scary because whenever we’re faced with something that’s unknown, stepping into that is absolutely terrifying because all your brain is going to do is project past experiences onto the current and future experience that you were going to have.

Paul:
And this is just how our brain keeps us safe. This is how our brain has been keeping us safe since when a brain was invented, when humans were the first things. So to say I was scared, I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like I was scared. Now, other people in my life were definitely terrified. My mom was like, “Well, how are you going to pay your bills?” And so, this transition happened right about the time that I had just gotten married to my husband and we were sitting, we did group counseling, couples counseling, just to set us up on the right trajectory to how to communicate.

Paul:
So I bring this up during our session and I’m like, “So I can’t teach much longer. I need to start this. And it means I’m going to have to scale back from teaching, which means I’m not going to be bringing in as much money right away.” And my husband is the type of person who, he instantly started panicking because there’s wounding and triggers around money and needing to feel safe. And here I am wanting to start this business where you just pour money into it and fingers crossed, things happen. Now, granted, I was able to do a lot with my current following and everything that I had already built up and was just really blessed with a lot of things. Like, a video that I posted on Facebook went pretty viral and that helped gain a lot of traction for the first challenge that I did. And within that challenge, I was able to sign three clients.

Paul:
And at that time I was charging $5,000 for a 12 week one-on-one coaching program. So imagine me making 50% of my annual income in two weeks time. I was freaking out. I was like, “Oh my God, what am I doing?” So I wanted to leave my job then, but my husband was like, “No, no, no, no, no, no. I need you to keep making $400 a week, draining yourself, so that I can feel safe and comfortable.” And this is just being in a relationship. And it’s really cool because I get to bring in, in my coaching, a lot of communication skills, because a lot of people come in blaming other people for their problems. And this is where you’re going wrong.

Paul:
If you’re listening to this and you’re just like, “Oh yeah, I can relate. I’m an entrepreneur. But my partner is just keeping me from doing the things I really want.” Well, here’s the thing. It’s so much easier to point your finger out and blame everything else around you. Instead of taking that cute little finger and pointing it back at yourself. Point it back at yourself and say, “What can I do differently?” Maybe your partner needs to see a business plan or maybe your partner needs to be more involved. Or maybe you get to just sit down and be like, “Hey, this means a lot to me. Are you willing to have a discussion about a timeline? Something that we can try out where I can do this? This is how much money I have saved. This is how much money I know I have coming in.” And just being clear, we hate the communication piece, but it makes things so much easier.

Paul:
So this is really what I did. And there’s a whole module in my program, all about self-expression, which is primarily how to communicate your needs. Not only to the people around you, but to yourself, because if you can’t get clear with who you are and what you want, then how are you going to express it to other people?

Josh:
That’s all so good. I have a therapist and a coach. They both, routinely, when I go in and I’m all up in arms about somebody else, oftentimes my girlfriend, the way that she’s making my life more difficult or whatever, they’re like, “Let’s talk about what’s going on with you.” Inevitably, every single time, I realize it was never about her. It’s always about me and what I’m bringing into it and my triggers and my past and all this kind of stuff. And then I’m like, “Now I just feel like I’m being mean all the time,” but yeah, that’s so good.

Josh:
I’m just thinking about it. And then, my coach put it really well. He’s like, “Everybody thinks the storm is out there. And then you realize that the storm is inside. Maybe you can start to quiet the storm inside. Then you stop seeing it everywhere.”

Paul:
Yeah.

Josh:
That’s so good. I think that’s a perfect place to wrap things up and leave people with, just mull on that. But if anybody is interested in your program, it sounds like you’re opening it up again pretty quick here, wants to check that out, wants to see, or just start following you. Where can they go to do that?

Paul:
Yeah. So, the best place to connect with me as on Instagram, at Paul Fishman. So that’s my first name, Paul. Last name fish, like the things that swim in the sea, man like me, and my website is Paulfishman.love, dot L-O-V-E. Paulfishman.love and yes, my program, the self-love diet is opening up very soon. And depending on when this goes live, I do have a free four-part master class called the own your authenticity master class that is starting on October 12th and I’m going to be hosting it live on Instagram. And it’s just going to be a lot of fun. And I’m going to be teaching a four-part framework to really help you authentically step into your truth.

Paul:
So wherever we connect, and whenever you listen to this, know that it’s divine timing, you didn’t miss out on anything. You’re listening to this exactly when you’re meant to listen to it. So, thank you for giving me this space to share, Josh, and I also have a quiz through try interact. Paulfishman.love/quiz, which will get you started on your first self-love journey and tell you exactly what you need to get started on that.

Josh:
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on and sharing that all with us. I think it’s really, really valuable.

Paul:
Thank you.

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Josh Haynam

Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Josh is an outdoor enthusiast, is very into health/fitness, and enjoys spending time with his community in San Francisco.

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