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The secret of Mark Wahlberg to be more disciplined

February 7, 2020

The greatest commercial value of this actor and entrepreneur is his own diligence.

13 min read

Hollywood premieres tend to follow a script: a lot of media coverage and all the VIPs in the industry lining up to enter the private premiere and then migrating to a nearby place for the party. In 2010 I was part of this scene, when the movie The Fighter by Mark Wahlberg was released. We all watched the tape and then we went to a trendy hotel where the elevators would take us to the club on the top floor … except that the hotel lobby was not ready to have us all there at the same time. Hundreds of people filled the place. We were crushed against each other, shoulder to shoulder, while small elevators were climbing small groups of people toward the party. It took us a long time. The people were upset.

The secret of Mark Wahlberg to be more disciplinedThe secret of Mark Wahlberg to be more disciplined

Suddenly we hear a person shout: “Make way!” He said. “Make way!”

It turned out that the voice belonged to a rather tall security guard trying to break through the crowd, from the back of the lobby to the elevator in front. When he reached the front, he turned his back on the people and shouted, “Over here, Mr. Wahlberg.”

Everyone in the lobby turned to see Mark Wahlberg standing in the background, surprised. He had clearly not asked to do that. “What? No, no, no, please, ”he said as he instructed the others to follow the course of the elevators. The road that the guard had opened dissolved. And Wahlberg got caught up among everyone, and they say he went up to the party using the stairs.

That was what happened as I remember it. I was a junior editor in another magazine, and I was quite impressed: Mark Wahlberg, the star of the movie, the guest of honor, the VIP among VIPs, didn't want to be treated differently. Was he a simple boy or just worried about his image? I didn't know him, so I couldn't know. But the idea remained as a role model when it comes to managing success. When you have confidence in yourself, you don't need to flaunt your position.

The time passed. Having told this story to many of my friends in the last decade, I am now sitting with Mark Wahlberg, in an interview for . So of course I tell you the story. I want to know what he thinks, how he became a man with instinctive modesty.

But Wahlberg doesn't like to philosophize. He doesn't remember the scene, but he understands why he did it. “The simple idea of ​​someone paving the way and pushing others sounds annoying. It's all good … We all go to the same place. ”

Image: Riker Brothers

However, while I was telling him the story, he began to happen in what he was doing during that time. I was recording a movie in Louisiana, so I had flown to New York for the premiere. And while I was there, I had probably talked to a lot of people about the movie. The party was part of the job, one of the many obligations he had surely had on the day. “I was probably tired of everything. I was doing what I had to do to get home to see my wife and children, ”he says.

Do what has to be done. This is not always natural for Wahlberg, as many happen to us. “When I was younger, I could focus on the things that interested me,” he says, “but I didn't have the time or the desire to concentrate or be disciplined about things that didn't interest me.” Those were Marky Mark's days, which of course included many successes, yes, but also many parties and a jail stop for aggression. “I realized that I had to be disciplined all the time, with everything … And that would allow me to be successful, or at least give me more opportunities to achieve it.”

This is the basis of what motivates Wahlberg, both in that lobby in 2010, as in all the ventures he has in 2020. He is an actor , of course, but he is also a co-founder of the Wahlburgers hamburger chain , with 38 locations in all the world; from the producer Unrealistic Ideas; investor and advisor of the F45 fitness studies franchise, and one on the rise in 's Franchise 500 list; and is involved in many other businesses. All based on doing boring things just like fun, and handling them both with the same rigor.

So, the big question is: how does one make that change? How to go from focusing only on what matters to you to focus on everything? The answer is: discipline .

Today, Wahlberg's discipline is legendary. When you are preparing for a role, we all know that your day starts with exercise at 3:30 in the morning. And all day he is working or at home, and rarely anywhere else. When he is on a recording set, he creates a routine that intersperses called business with acting, and prefers never to get out of it. (For example, when we talked, Wahlberg was in London filming a movie, so to handle the time difference, he asked one of his partners to wake up at 5 in the morning to talk.) He is able to make super successful Hollywood movies while personally scouting for the next Wahlburgers locations. He is attentive enough to the detail that while on the Ellen DeGeneres program, he can also discuss exactly the size of a car dealership he owns in Ohio.

What motivates you? Morning exercise routines have some clue, because honestly, why get up so early? Is it because he loves to exercise? The answer is no.

“My favorite part of the exercise is when it's over,” he says. The same for the movies he does. “I mean, I love the process of being acting and the camera is recording, but the time left over and everything else starts to drive me crazy after a while.”

What he loves is being fit, and having made a movie. So it focuses on the result of the time spent, not on every minute that passes. And he has learned that he can grow that result if he stays at bay. “It's never too late to start over, I understand, but isn't it easier to stay fit than to be in that way? So why let you go? If you're always working, you're always ready. ”

Constancy generates discipline. Or maybe it is the discipline that generates constancy. Either way, one feeds the other.

Although entrepreneurship will challenge both.

Image: Riker Brothers

Each experienced entrepreneur will face their own skills. In the course of building a business, they will discover what they are good for … and what they thought were good, but they were not. They will believe they are good leaders, until their work culture shows them otherwise. They will believe they are good at building businesses, until the profits stop. They will be forced to make decisions about whether they continue to do things in their own way, even if they do not have the tools to achieve the results they need, or if they make a change to focus on their strengths and surround themselves with people who complement them.

Wahlberg has experienced this in his transition from actor to entrepreneur. “In all the businesses I've been in, I've started as a rookie,” he says. “And I keep learning as I go.” His instinct is to get into everything, sometimes at a level that is not useful. (Try to find a location for your restaurant being Mark Wahlberg, it won't be long before someone asks you for a photo). So in each case keep trying to decipher for what is good and what is not.

“For example, I'm not going to argue with my brother Paul about how he makes a specific sauce for the restaurant,” he says. (Paul Wahlberg is the chef of the family and is co-owner of the Wahlburgers). “But maybe we'll talk if ingredient costs become a problem.”

Wahlberg has another way of solving these problems: he does not enter into a relationship if he does not understand his role. “If I don't believe there is a real value that I can contribute, I most likely won't get involved,” he says. You want to know from the beginning if it will be useful, or not.

That is the story of how he ended up involved in the F45 fitness franchise, something that took longer than Rob Deutsch, founder and CEO of F45, would have liked.

F45 is a fitness studio franchise that started in Australia in 2013 and has become very popular thanks to its high intensity workouts in just 45 minutes. It quickly expanded in Australia and New Zealand. But when in 2015 they wanted to expand to the United States, they knew they needed a partner to help them be known. “Obviously it has to be someone who lives and breathes health and fitness,” says Deutsch.

Deutsch knew someone who knew Wahlberg, and they mentioned it as a possibility. So Deutsch tried to send a message to the actor.

There was no answer.

“I wasn't very interested,” admits Wahlberg now. People are always asking for things, so keep your guard up. But over time he began to hear more about F45, and not only from the people of Deutsch, but from friends and contacts in the world of fitness. “So I said, you know what? Let me go see what it is about, ”says Wahlberg.

There is a studio a few kilometers away from home, so he arrived without advertising and took a class. He enjoyed it, and says he frankly thinks he enjoyed it more because it was on his own, and not with the invitation they had given him. After that, he went to the F45 headquarters in Los Angeles and from there began negotiations.

Image: Riker Brothers

Wahlberg remembers that the people of F45 wanted him to sign a deal as a promoter. (“We weren't quite sure how it would work,” says Deutsch). But after being very diligent, Wahlberg wanted something else. He thought this was the type of company he knew how to help. “I said, 'Well, I would be much more interested in putting together a group and bringing people that would bring real value to the business,'” he says.

An investment plan was created. The Wahlberg team provided support for everything from marketing to real estate, and Wahlberg himself has been an active promoter of the brand, especially on Instagram where he uploads videos of his routines.

Deutsch have been fascinated by the results. By September 2019, F45 had opened more than 1,000 studios and earned a space on the annual Franchise 500 list. But above all, Deutsh is impressed with how accessible Wahglberg has been. “Every time I talk to him, every time I need something or I just want to talk, he always has time,” says Deutsch. “That is something that impresses me about a person who is always busy. I think it has to do with the fact that if you really want something in your life, you're always going to make time for it. ”

For Wahlberg, this is designed. It is the result of all that diligence and the years invested redefining its concentration. He says that when I was younger, “when something did not go as I wanted, I realized that it was because I had not tried hard and had not spent enough time.” If you learn that lesson well, it stays forever and success is something that is reinforced. “And now, even with all the things I have, I still feel I have time for more things,” he says.

That is the miracle of discipline: if you are strict, you create freedom.