Jake Thompson | Dallas Keynote Speaker and Peak Performance Coach

Where It All Started

The …so how did you get started with Compete Every Day“ question is one I’m asked quite often. I wish I could share a life-changing story where I was in the darkest of holes and climbed out with this new-found mindset.

Unfortunately, this isn’t that kind of story.

I never in a million years thought I’d get into apparel, but it’s funny how life is always throwing you curve balls.

I’ve always been ultra-competitive. I blame it on my limited physical skills in sports, which forced me to find new ways to win – through being mentally prepared, out working my opponents, and being resolute to not lose.

This mindset carried over into other areas of my life. I had large aspirations for my career and while initially focused on just sports, carried the same competitive mindset into it. My dad was an entrepreneur (as was his father), so deep down, the desire to create and build something has been in my blood from day one.

My outlook on life started changing over the course of 2010 after I was challenged by the writings of Donald Miller in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. At its core, the book centers around what Miller learned about himself and life while editing his memoir into a movie script. The theme of living a better story with your life – and in order to live a betterstory you must deliberately act in ways that will make a better story.

Miller’s book forced me to evaluate what kind of story I was writing.

Page after page of my story was about me. And just me.

I was lacking crucial elements needed for a great story. I wasn’t pulling others into my story or finding ways to add value to theirs.

And I knew deep down my story needed to change.

I started tinkering with ways to merge my consulting brand with something that would encourage others to take action in their own life. Something that would invoke action to balance the things in one’s life like work, family, health, while doing so in a positive manner with encouragement.

On a ski trip with two of my best friends, the idea of Compete Every Day came to me after some back and forth dialogue on the snowy roads of Colorado at two in the morning.

The idea seemed like a great fit.

There was power in the message. I wanted to take it and do something that impacted lives – something positive since I felt we were constantly surrounded by negative or angry messaging.

But I had no idea what or where to start.

First it was simply my consulting services. Then it was social media and video services. Then it was something to do with CrossFit. Like the sport I was actively participating in, Compete was a constantly-varied brand.

I remember sitting at a SXSW event studying Web Smith and Gary Vaynerchuk while scribbling a page full of notes with ideas and some semblance of a game-plan, knowing I HAD to do something.

But still had no clue what I was going to do with this message.

My best friend started encouraging me to look at Life Is Good and possibly creating clothing. It was an easy way to spread my message and one we both felt that similar to Life Is Good, could be a fit for any group or any walk of life.

So I invested my own money into it back in May 2011, bought some shirts & tank-tops with the logo, and started sharing the message with everyone I could at any chance I could. At the time, it was one of the scariest things I’d done considering my biggest retainer client had gone under and my largest income source had disappeared.

But I had a small hunch and a whole lot of faith in Compete. So I jumped.

I had no idea about t-shirts or clothes or apparel retail so I just started doing as much research as I could, and like any business owner, learned the ropes on the fly.

My vehicle was a constant wreck because I carried clothes with me everywhere I go – I never know when a simple conversation might present an opportunity to share the message.

I sold out of a gym bag at races and events because I couldn’t afford booth space.

Anything and everything I could do to share the message and encourage others.

Flash-forward to one year later.

Simply put, God has blessed me incredibly by allowing me the opportunity to grow this brand.

Compete Every Day is a rapidly growing apparel company focused on “encouraging and inspiring others to compete for the people they love and the life they desire – every single day.”

I truly believe we are all competitors in this life. Faith. Health. Work. Dreams. Family. Friends. Relationships. There are things we hold dear that if not pursued – competed for – daily, will fade away or be lost.

The last 12 months have been a roller-coaster ride. Like any business venture, it’s a real grind. And I would be lying if I didn’t question my decision on more than one occasion.

But then the growing community of competitors remind me why I did, and I’m refueled to keep grinding.

The most exciting aspect has been seeing the growth of our community of competitors and people who believe in the message and want to share it.

We have customers who buy wristbands month after month just so they can give them away. They wear the wristbands in order to strike up conversation, share what or who they compete for, and just encourage another person by giving their wristband away.

My ultimate goal at the end of the day is to encourage and inspire others.

I feel God has given me this platform to utilize for more than selfish gain, so it’s an opportunity I do not desire to waste.

I truly believe everyone has a life worth competing for. It may not be what we want right now, but like all things in life, a time of change will come. Some of us just need to be reminded to hold on until then.

Thank each and every one of you for your words of encouragement and support. I can’t tell you how much each word has come at a crucial moment, reaffirming my faith in the fact that Compete is incredibly far from being close to its potential.

There’s a long road ahead, but one full of light. And for that, I have each of you to thank and owe.

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