Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Dinner With Obama


Well, to be honest, it was supposed to be dinner. But I will get to that in a minute.

I don't bring my politics to this blog unless it coincides with our goal of Helping People Achieve Their Goals To Lead Healthy Fulfilling Lives. But I do want to describe how in one evening I got complete validation that this little business Jon and I started 12 years ago has now evolved from start-up to being worthy of the White House.

Last night we attended an event put on in Philadelphia by the Democratic National Committee featuring a visit with President Obama. Clearly, this was about fundraising, but it was also an opportunity to meet the President and perhaps open some doors.

Jon and I were invited to the event by two attorney-friends from the firm Cozen O'Conner, Mark Alderman who was co-hosting the event, and my long time friend Michael Heller. We got there a half hour early and got coached on "positioning" in the room - literally - how to be at the right place at the right time to not just shake the President's hand, but actually get talk-time.

Time crawled by and the strategy of room-positioning intensified as we saw the security detail move into place. Mark was co-host so he clearly had a right to the first position in the room, but for Jon, Michael and I, it was "block or be blocked". For the next twenty minutes 15 VIP guests tried to subtly jockey to be first. It was "game on", and our intent to be first intensified...

Michael squared up to the left of Jon to block anyone from crossing along the top of the room, while Jon used his giant wingspan to close off the middle. I stood to his right keeping traffic from passing between me and a large table protecting my flank. We looked like we had it nailed, until one guy circled below the tables on an end run. Disaster. Then luckily, they changed doors for the President's entrance, and our position favored the new location. it pays to be lucky.

This is quite literally how the event started, with adults shifting position, eyeing each other up, and Michael and I red-faced with laughter as we urged each other to "box out" the competition. Politics is not pretty people!

At once the door swung open, and in walked Obama. He gave a quick hello and a hug to Mark and then he walked straight up to Jon who said "Hello Mr. President we're the co-founders of Beachbody - This is Carl Daikeler. You might know our products like P90X."

With that Obama moves in and grabs my hand in a handshake and says "P90X! My wife does that. Man, I can hardly keep up with her!"

Did you ever see a fight scene in "The Matrix" when all time and motion come to a stop? That's what happened to me right then as what he said sank into my mind. "The President of the United States just told me that the First Lady was using a product that I came up with one day when I was thumbing through fitness publications at a magazine rack in 2002. The President. His wife does P90X."

In a blink, time returned to normal and I seized the opportunity to cram my entire agenda into one comment; "We've heard a lot of people in the White House are using the program, and we're all really proud of the work the First Lady is doing with the Let's Move campaign in fact we think that to really turn around childhood obesity it's critical that the parents are the example (BREATH) that's what's so impressive about what she's doing because she's a role model that hard work of real fitness is worth it and we'd love to talk to you both sometime about what we're doing with Team Beachbody which is really changing the health and fitness model and is getting more parents accountable (BREATH) which is showing the kids that fitness is not just something we're SAYING is important it's something we're SHOWING them is important by taking on."

Then the President interrupts me and says "I totally agree. We definitely want to hear more about what you are doing - and I mean that." He turns to his entourage and says "Let's make sure of that ok guys? I want to make sure we follow up and connect with them to hear what these guys are doing."

The President turns back toward Jon and I and says "Hey you two guys look like you're in good shape, I guess you know what you're doing!" At which point Michael breaks in and says "Why didn't you say that when you looked at me?" which drew a big laugh from the entire party. Attorneys always get the laugh.

With that I got an "attaboy!" slap on the arm from the President as he walked by and the next wave of hand shakes reached in.

Jon and I looked at each other in disbelief. "Did that just happen?" It was as if we threaded a needle as it ran by, surrounded by press and donors. "Yes, that really. did. happen."

Mark Alderman then stepped in and said "I heard what the President said, so let's lock this in guys" at which point we walked over to the President's two "body men" to give them our business cards, only to learn that one of them also had just completed a few weeks of P90X, and that- in their words - "the entire White House is using P90X."

A few minutes later we went into a room for photos. As my turn approached, the person across from the President whispered something, and the President says "I know these guys, come in here and let's get a picture guys." I took one, then Jon.

A little later, the President gave a brief speech, which was refreshingly similar to the message we ascribe to at Beachbody; That the mess we got into took a long time and a series of complex decisions and circumstances in order to materialize. It's taking hard work, sacrifice and persistence to turn things around, and every bit of progress is easy to second guess because it's easy to forget how bad things had gotten and how close we were to total collapse of the system. People needed to take action and they did. But the work is not over. We still must have a plan, and we must not make the same mistakes that got us where we are today.

I was gratified to hear the President re-emphasize the importance of solving the health care crisis as the number one lever for cutting the deficit. It is not lost on me that Team Beachbody has the potential to make more of an impact on that than any other force in the country. And of all the things that made me proud at that event, that makes me the most proud. I truly believe that. No other business model has such a radical potential to turn things around. It's not going to be easy. But we knew that. We all signed up to take this on, to make a difference, and we know we're a long way from success. We have to stay committed and we have to stay focused on what we know works.

With some closing remarks and a standing ovation the President left before dinner was served to return to Washington, and Michael, Jon and I ducked out to catch the rest of the Phillies vs. Atlanta game.

Footnote: To top it all off, while at the baseball game I got a text from an industry friend who said she was attending a trade-group board dinner. One of the board members, an executive at one of our competitors, broke out a mini-blender during the meeting, plugged it into the wall, and mixed himself a batch of Shakeology.

Things are happening. People appreciate the real thing. Word is getting out there about Team Beachbody, because we refuse to give up. We know we have the solution, and we know it's worth the effort to share these tools with everyone we meet.

Thank you for never giving up!

59 comments:

Tyler Lefebvre said...

You are a hero and I am more proud than I can express that I'm in on the game early to help do my part to saving this country from Obesity and all of the problems that stem from it. Meeting the President of the United States is a monstrous step in the right direction- it makes me feel like things are really starting to happen for the company and the country. Keep up the good work!

Joey said...

Love it!! And the amazing cool thing is that this is just the beginning. It is only going to get better.

Dawn said...

aside from WOW and how totally validating it must be, your mission statement shining like a beacon in the night... it gives me pause to wonder...

with moves like that it looks like corporate is going to be serious competition at the leadership BB game ;)

Anonymous said...

Incredible! So inspiring!

screwdestiny said...

Eeeeee! That is SO exciting! Great job with the President, Carl. This is huge!

JD said...

That is definatley a once in a lifetime experience Carl! Good luck with getting more info out...as always...it's hard to not notice something as beneficial as Beachbody and P90X!

Trainer T.s Fitness said...

It is just amazing you had this opportunity but not by luck. It was as you have been planning all along Carl.

This is the part of the journey that gets fun, now more and more people will be getting saved by Beach Body products.

What an extra kudos to know that Ms. President is using P90X and that other members of the White House are as well.

Congrats Carl well deserved :-)

mikkelsen said...

Thanks for sharing an incredible evening Carl--the work is not over, we must have a plan and I am on board to help see it through!
~Tom Mikkelsen

Mark Dacoron said...

Great job carl, truely inspiring to know that Beachbody is trying to make awareness fir the whole country.

Mark Dacoron said...

That is great what beachbody is doing for the nation and to make more awareness by talking to the president.

Anonymous said...

How awesome is this!!?? Congratulations on a special moment that is well deserved. Can't wait to hear what other doors are opened!

Bernadette Cooper said...

Politics aside, I have to say "What an opportunity!" Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Your speed speech was the absolute right thing to say at that moment. Congratulations, and my your companies continue to grow.

Ashley McTucker said...

You freakin ROCK Carl!!! You & Jon both! I'm so proud to be a part of this. I'm literally in the best place possible, helping people alongside the most genuine of hearts. Thank You so so much!!

Ashley McTucker

Veronica said...

My aunt passed away from type II diabetes and I am clear that I was headed there myself. About 4 months ago, I told myself I needed to do something about my weight gain. I am now fit, for the first time in 4 years, I am fit! How could I NOT want to be a coach and give this opportunity to others and make a difference? Team Beachbody is literally saving lives. I work in the medical field, I see what diabetes and obesity does to people and it's not pretty. Liver failure, kidney failure, loss of eyesight, stroke, heart attack, etc. I am deeply honored to be part of this company.

Gwen said...

It is so exciting to see how and where Beachbody is spreading. Way to go! I love this company!!

T.J. Lipson said...

What a very inspiring moment for you to find out that p90x is part of the White House and Presidential fitness regime. I can only imagine the rewarding feeling that must have washed over you. Congratulations to all.

Anonymous said...

Disgusting that you have to bring up politics!

Makes me want to PUKE!

Teri said...

Great step in the right direction for Beachbody and to help end the obesity trend. Carl and John, you rock! I am very glad to be part of such an amazing company.

Karen said...

As a Week 5 P90X-er, may I just say *thank you* for creating such an empowering, supportive, and flexible product.

I am prouder than I can say to be doing this, to watch all of you do your work, and perhaps help others turn their lives around.

I knew before that I loved this administration for their focus on health, if not for all the other reasons. Now when I do KenpoX, I'll be doing it with the White House!

Jeff Ochoa said...

That is awesome. You guys are doing a great job of getting the message out there which in turn makes it easier for us coaches to get the message out there.

All I can say is WOW!

Rhianna said...

So happy to be working for a company who has a CEO who totally passionate about health n fitness! U rock Carl!

Steve Edwards said...

Yep, that's my boss(es).

Amazing! You upped your best-case scenario for the meeting. Very well played. Now let's hope they touch base so we make the difference in kids' lives that we're making in adults.

Independent Beachbody Coach said...

Carl - in the 3 1/2 years I/we have been a part of Team Beachbody that is without a doubt the BEST story I have ever heard. Makes us proud to be a part of what you and Jon started 12 years ago and where we are going in the future.

This needs to go out to all Coaches via the Breaking Coach News Section.

Thanks,

Blake

Ric said...

Sounds great on the surface Carl....but.. that doesnt change the fact that this administration is pushing heavily for FDA control of the vitamin ans supplement industry (which will lead to prescriptions). And they have been greatly influenced big Big Agra and the push for more and more GMO foods. To me thats anti-health.

Coach Chelle said...

Every week on the national coach call, Larry refers to you as our "fearless leader" and you wore that title well in Philly!! Team Beachbody is well on its way to reshaping America!!

Ryan Rendfrey from Jersey said...

WOW Carl, I'm very excited for you! It sounds like last night was one of those ground breaking nights. Congrats and keep up the incredible work!!

Brian Johnson said...

you have to love a story where hard work pays off!

Joe Oviedo said...

Congratulations. Great story, and totally deserved.

Carmen said...

Totally motivates me to get in my workout tonight!

Lori said...

I love that the door the president was entering was changed at the last minute - definitely not luck - it was meant to be! I am so proud to be part of such an amazing company that is working so hard to change the American obesity epidemic!

Parul said...

Yes, very inspiring to know the program I am doing and am so excited about is being done in the white house & the first lady herself.

Blaine Allen said...

There fitness programs coupled with the massive support structure ARE the real deal!
You can either be contributing to your success and the success of others or stand there and watch as the opportunity passes you by.
Catch The Vision!
It is ultimately your choice: you can choose to be a part of the health/fitness movement (Beachbody at the helm) or, by default, be associated amongst the group titled ‘lack of movement’ ;-) Be a part of the next major revolution… the health and fitness revolution.
Do it… do it NOW before it is too late! Your health will not wait for you to ‘get around to it’.

meshmarketer said...

This is very inspiring, Carl.

I know it must be gratifying to see your intention pay off in unseen ways.

I'm glad to be a part of it. My wife and I (both in our 40s) are as fit as we were in our 20s and we're fast approaching that "best shape of our lives" stage; better shape than when I was in the Marines.

I'm delighted to be a coach and I'm looking forward to a time when the MLM and social media eclipses the results you get from running infomericals all day because that must be expensive.

If we really want to get the word out in the biggest possible way, I hope that you will change the policies for coaches where they can't use a domain name if it has P90X or other trademarked terms in it. I bought P90Xresults.net to start a blog, but I am not allowed to use it. How sad. I was getting 60 people a day from Google search who were total strangers seeing my transformation video and pictures and stories.

Please let me know if it's possible to drop these restrictions because some of your best ambassadors are more deserving of using your trademarks legally than anyone else like DVD piraters. It just seems unfair that pirates have more freedom to use your trademarks than your coaches do.

I did contact Beachbody about how to open things up but was rebuffed when I tried to make the case that loosening these restrictions on social media is the way to go. Last year Nielsen (the ratings people) said that consumer-generated media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook sharing, etc.) have a more than 90% trust rating compared to TV, radio or newspapers (which were in the 50% area). More people trust their friends in other words and that's why MLMs work so well. See their report yourself: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/global-advertising-consumers-trust-real-friends-and-virtual-strangers-the-most/

I look forward to being the best coach possible with all of the tools and training that Beachbody can provide because there is only one way that we can reverse the trend of obesity, diabetes and disease and that is to make it commonplace for people who want to get in shape to use P90X and other Beachbody programs and products such that everyone knows the answer to the most pressing questions right now such as "How am I going to lose this weight?" or "How can I live longer?" or "How can I get more energy?" Beachbody is the answer! When it becomes the answer on everyone's lips then we will have impacted the culture of obesity and sickness with something that not only works but that can save your life and make it longer and healthier.

I want to share about your meeting with Obama but fewer people will see it because I can't use P90Xresults.net as a destination for 60 people a day searching for answers to how to lose weight and get in shape.

Eugene Herbert said...

I've always been proud to talk about Beachbody! This is a great company with a real mission that is changing real lives all across the nation. "The entire White House is on P90X", this is evolutionary! Great stuff Carl and Jon. Loved the positioning story ^-^

George P said...

Wow! You were in Philly YO & I wasn't even aware.

Carl, not only do you need to find a way to get President Obama into P90X, you need to get him to STOP SMOKING!

I am a P90X user for 4 years and son of a parent lost to lung cancer caused by 30 years of smoking.

we not only need to come to grips about how we eat and exercise but our view of what tobacco does to the human condition.

Keep doing what you do. We are getting America healthier with every DVD!

Push play YO!

Michael Ezell said...

I'm not a bit surprised Carl. When you do anything with the intention to benefit mankind, all of creation will rally behind you to support your efforts. It's not just our actions, but our intentions that truly make a difference.

Anonymous said...

CD

I love it! All the rumors have been confirmed. What a great moment in BeachBody history. Oddly enough we were across town selling out of P90X on QVC in September - which apparently was supposed to be impossible. We caught lightning in a bottle and in the process we're helping millions of people improve their lives.

Nice work Carl and Jon!!!

TH-

John Hays said...

A meeting of the minds! Can't wait to hear about what comes out of this!

John Hays said...

Oh, and I call dibs on the first lady as a coach! ;)

Kevin J. Kane MD, The Fit Doc said...

Great story, and kudos to Jon for boxing out!

shawn said...

The one thing I agree with Obama on.
P90X Rocks!

Tina Couch said...

You da men Carl and Jon, I just love you guys, you rock! Now we can officially say that Michelle Obama does P90X, how awesome is that......

Carl, you didn't tell the President "Hey" for me like we talked about, LOL.

I'm so impressed with the work you guys do and all you do for us, we are truly blessed, thank you!

Tina Couch

J.R. & Dianna Jackson said...

Wow, what a great evening. I'm sending an email to my entire team so they can read this blog post.

Both my wife and I are excited to meet you next month when you come to Utah to interview us.

J.R. & Dianna Jackson
Highland, Utah
801.310.0015
http://JRJackson.com

EZFIT said...

It is an honor to be part of something so significant in our lifes. Let's hope the President and First Lady follow through and incorporate Beachbody and P90X in some kind of speech.
You two are awesome and visionaries. Bring It!!

Independent Beachbody Coach Jay Keefe said...

Amazing! I just got goosebumps while I was reading your blog!

I'm happy and proud to be a part of Team Beachbody and want to thank you for being the person you are.

Jay Keefe
Independent Team Beachbody Coach

laura52 said...

Now you have your Company ammunition when people ask "How does Michelle Obama get such awesome arms?" P90X of course!

Brad said...

Well that's cool. Solid work Carl.

Mia said...

Ok...That is soooo cool!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you already are, but you should be so proud of yourselves for how far you've come. I'm a P90X, P90X+ and Charlene Extreme graduate, LOVE the recovery drink and the workouts. My entire office is doing P90X, even our CEO (& he's turning 63 Sunday!). Way to go! Seriously - way..to..go!

Gilbert Nichols said...

Congratulations, Mr. President (Daikeler). With this news, at least we can agree that those in the White House have good taste for the health of their bodies. Excellent news.

john_c47 said...

Great to hear about this!

Anonymous said...

@Ric

Per your comment regarding FDA regulation of vitamins try using Snopes and doing a little research before you make claims:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/vitamins.asp

Also the goal of more recent bills is to regulate supplements like "fat burners" that have been killing people for years because of their cocktail of herbs that often cause heart issues.

Also, in every case legislation has been drafted the last 10 years to regulate these dangerous supplements, vitamins and nutrient type supplements (protein, required vitamins, etc) are clearly excluded.

Perhaps you were thinking of this though:

http://tucsoncitizen.com/medicare/2010/02/17/sen-mccain-vs-your-vitamin-supplements/

James P. Manganiello said...

Carl, this is amazing stuff! I'm confident things will continue to improve. Beachbody and Team Beachbody truly have ongoing momentum. This is just the beginning of what is yet to come!!!

Carolyn Kramer said...

I have personally benefitted from the Beachbody Lifestyle. That is why I believe in the products and company and am promoting them as an Independant Beachbody Coach. I have started helping people and hope to help many more. Thanks again Carl and Jon for starting such an awesome company!!

Steve said...

Carl,

Sounded like a once in a life time opportunity! Very cool to be involved in this great organization since the beginning!

Coach Equildottsin said...

That is simply AMAZING! I'm so proud to be part of such a huge movement that will impact so many people in a time we all need POSITIVE change! You guys are doing an incredible job. Never have I been so enthusiastic and passionate about such a worthy cause! Keep it up gentlemen!

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. Richard Buckminster Fuller."

P90X, baby, is ROCKING this country and TEAM BEACHBODY is bring health and fitness into the homes and futures of our nation! Rock on with your bad selves!!! LOVE IT!

Bobby said...

Great work Carl. Way to seize the moment!

Chad said...

That is awesome!! It's truly inspiring what you're doing Carl.

Ric Vinhage said...

Very kewl. I am new to your products and while I am not doing P90x I appreciate the advance. I am a chalean junkie right now.