I’m just being honest with you, but I have no idea how I do what I do. I just do it. It’s like I’ve done it my whole life.
How Did You Become an Entrepreneur?
Most people know me as Diamond Dallas Page the wrestler, so I pretty much have to start with that. I didn’t start wrestling until I was 35 years old. Everybody thought I was nuts. It was just an idea in my head, but I was running nightclubs at the time. I grew up in the nightclub business and while I was in Florida running a pretty big club that I owned a small piece of, I decided to take this idea of “Diamond Dallas Page” and make a videotape.
atSo, I created this persona and this character and sent it to AWA (American Wrestling Association). And they said, “Hey, we like your shtick but we’ve got one question: We’ve shown your tape around and no one really knows who you are. Where are you guys working?” My response: “In my head.”
Every entrepreneur starts his business in his head and they’re going to hear over and over again, “Are you crazy? You can’t do that.” It’s so easy for people to tell you why you can’t do something. Next thing you know, I’m on ESPN and I’m this character “Diamond Dallas Page.” Five months in, because of the long blond hair and the diamonds and the wrap and “Diamond Dallas” and me being me, they’re like, “We can’t let you manage anymore, because you’re around ringside and taking all the attention away.”
I wanted to be a wrestler and I figured I had seven months left on my contract and I decided to go after this dream with conviction. I knew it was going to hurt like hell, because people can think what they want about professional wrestling, but this fake stuff really hurts. You know, you can’t fake gravity. Gravity will beat your body up and make you want to run and hide. Then I tore my rotator cuff in a match about nine or 10 months in, my contract was up for renewal, and they let me go. Now I don’t have that dream anymore.
But less than three months later, I was back in the ring. At 42, these three different spine specialists told me my career is over. At 43 years young, I’m the heavyweight champion of the world. I’ve got some kind of God-given gift to be able to help people heal themselves. I’m not a therapist. I’m not a PT (physical therapy) guy. I’m just me and I know how to heal myself. I’ve been able to translate that into helping others heal themselves.
Where Did DDP Yoga Come From?
I started to take all of my branding that I learned in the nightclub business and I started to apply it to “Diamond Dallas Page.” It needed to have DDP in front of it so they understood where it came from.
I started to realize way in the beginning that if I could get regular guys, guys who I know would never walk in a yoga studio, to do my workout with me, then there’s something there, and that’s where it started. In two years, no one will call this “DDP Yoga.” They will call it “DDPY.” Because I’ve learned that no matter what I do, people are all going to say it’s DDP Yoga, and it’s not. It’s DDP’s workout that he created for people who wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga. So, I sure as hell don’t want them to call it “yoga” because it gets put in a box, and not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I love yoga today, all different types of yoga. I think everyone needs some kind of yoga in their life, everyone. Especially as you head into those 40s, 50s, and now I’m in the 60s. A lot of people that I know are into this kind (makes yoga mudras with his hands) or this kind (makes prayer position with his hands) or they’re into this kind (makes a triangle with his hands). And what I mean by that is the difference between DDP Yoga, or DDPY, and yoga for starters, I would say most yogis are very “Namaste.”
DDPY? Way more DNA. You know, tone and attitude, like this guy you’re hearing right now. I’m the same guy who teaches the class just like this. You won’t find that in any other studio. And I mixed it with rehab and old school calisthenics and dynamic resistance, engaging and flexing muscles and every time you flex or engage a muscle, your heart has to beat faster to get the blood to the muscle, all with minimal joint impact.
If you look at yoga, people who teach yoga, 98 percent of them will look like lululemon ads. They’re all in perfect shape, have amazing bodies, and are all different ages. You look at my instructors, there are some people who have amazing bodies but there are also a lot of regular people. But they used to be really big people, they used to be really beat up.
Go to ddpyoga.com. I always tell people don’t listen to a word I say, go to our website under where it says, “Inspirational Stories” and find where it says, “DPPY Pain Management” and you’ll see one Tweet after another about how it took away all the pain in their back and knees and their hips. Then there’ll be another section called “Changing Lives” and you will read what people are writing about (how) DDPY didn’t just changed their life, but saved their life.
What Is Your Business Philosophy?
A lot of people don’t have the “stick-to-it-ness” that I have. When you become a wrestler at 35, blow out your shoulders, get fired, and come back to become a three-time world champion in your 40s, you tend to stick with problems longer. So, I have a vision. It never leaves my brain and I write down everything. I set goals, sometimes as often as every hour! You know, there’s always a list to take through. Like today, we’re at the DDP Yoga performance center, our corporate offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and we have constant meetings that all discuss the same idea: How can we take this company to the next level?
We normally take on too many things and that’s a key thing to watch for because if you take on too many things, you’re going to get smothered. So our business plan is constantly evolving into the next thing that we’re doing. I think people who do this on their own are never going to hit their full potential and don’t even need to do it on their own to begin with.
To me, everyone who takes part has a small piece of this program. I won’t take anyone’s money because I don’t want that on me. I’m investing in me. I don’t invest in the stock market. I hear businessmen say, “Oh you need to borrow, you need to leverage yourself. You take that money.” Why? Why do I need to leverage myself? Why would I want to pay the bank that 7 or 8 percent on the money that I already have? Why wouldn’t I just pay off the building? You know that’s how I think. I think “no debt.” I bet on myself because I know I’m going to put the work in.
That’s the reason I have partners like Kimberly, who’s my ex-wife and with whom I have an amazing relationship. She has a piece of the company. And then my buddy, Dr. Craig Aaron was an important piece in the beginning. Having that doctor on my team gave me credibility. I don’t really need it today, but back then it was important. Then I brought Steve Yu in and I gave him a piece of the company because his work ethic was unbelievable. And he’s the only guy that I know that works more than I do. And he really was the yin (to my) yang. We always say I’m Captain Kirk and he’s Spock.
Obstacles Along the Way
You got to remember, I grew up with ADD and dyslexia and was reading at a third-grade level at age 30. At 31, I started my journey to reading and writing and today I’m pretty *** good at it. I’m not great when it comes to either but I’m pretty *** good at it. And I also take what other people write, even what Steve writes, and I can make it better just because it’s my message now. I know how I want it to say it and we’re never saying anything just to sell ***. We’re saying things out of passion, and I think it comes off like that to our customers.
Thinking Like a Champion: Three Tips
Here’s three things you need to do to think like a champion.
One is you’ve got to know your craft. If you don’t know it, you need to study it and be working on it 24/7. You got to know your craft or be on your way to knowing your craft better than anyone.
Number two – which makes number one really easy – you have to love it. You have to love it so much that you don’t really feel like you’re working 24/7, 365 days a year. You have to love it.
And number three: don’t quit. If you’re going to quit and you even think you’re going to quit, don’t bother. Don’t even do it. You’ve got to be able focus on the bigger picture when you want to quit, and you really never lose until you quit. But God puts walls in front of us. I don’t know how everyone really looks at that, but I know most people approach it thinking, “Ok I’m done.” Or they’ll go, “I got to get to the wall, I got to get to the wall, I got to get to the wall.” They’re never going to get it because sometimes you’ve got to go over the wall or under the wall or around the wall and the wall may be miles and miles long. That’s what it was for me. You have to stick with the problem longer.
You see, if you love it, it’s not that hard. This is who I am. There is no put-on. I never have to think about what I’m going to say. I do workshops all the time and in a lot of them, I share my life story. But how can you apply my accomplishments to your life?
My goal is to inspire you so much that you feel like you can run through a brick wall. That’s what DDP Yoga is, that’s really what it’s all about: Inspiring people to believe in themselves and to find inspiration in adversity.