As I sit here pondering my checkered past, I can’t think of a single venture I have embarked upon that was bolstered by encouraging words from those close enough to bend my ear. When I wanted to be a Police Officer, there wasn’t a single soul in my life that believed I could do it but they were wrong. I was one of 7 chosen out of 2500 that applied, and I went on to enjoy a very fruitful career in service to my community. When I opened my first business, it was the same song and dance and the same story with the second and every one after that. When I decided in my late 30’s that I wanted to become a fitness industry photographer, the negativity escalated to outright ridicule and hostility and true to form, within a couple of years of buying my first camera, magazines around the world published my images regularly. Now when I start a new venture, I get concerned that I may have made a huge mistake when people get excited and encouraging, and are happy for me.
About a month ago, I came out of retirement and became The Director of Media and Publishing with a new fitness contest promotion company, The World Physique Championship, or WPC. I wasn’t looking for something more to do with my time, but after I talked to the CEO Darren Owen at length and understood his vision, there was no way I was going to miss out on being a part of this. He wants to do what I would do it if the business were mine. He believes that the athletes are the superstars and treats them accordingly. He believes that the WPC should take responsibility for giving and getting as much exposure and opportunity for their athletes as they possibly can, and they have delivered on that promise already. They are doing something good, honorable, and their decisions bring benefit and success to all involved and not just the WPC.
And the naysayers haven’t disappointed.
The question of whether the WPC will survive has been posed to me more than once in the past month. When asking, they seem to expect some degree of pessimism and a story about the mountain being formidably high and the climb forboding and perilous with failure inevitably on the horizon.
On those days I think of Jeff Besos that founded Amazon.com, Steve Jobs that founded Apple, and Elon Musk that founded Tesla and Space X and I recall the well-documented stories about how they experienced the same brand and abundance of skeptics when they had a vision no one else could see.
Darren Owen, the CEO of the WPC, is a man cut from the same cloth as those great dreamers and the WPC is not his first rodeo. He took on the Mixed Martial Arts World as a fight promoter in a very competitive market and enjoyed success on a global level. He saw an opportunity to do something unique with Physique Sports then spent the next two years learning about the fitness industry while developing the WPC.
This past weekend the inaugural WPC Contest was hosted in Miami. It wasn’t a sold-out house, and the stage could have held more athletes, but the effort put forth to make those that competed feel special, valued, and appreciated was second to none. I have seen many contests in my forty plus years of being a fan of this sport and covering shows for magazines, and this one was very different.
I’ve always considered the competitors to be the most important people at every contest or sporting event, but rarely are they treated that way. But the WPC competitors were treated that way at the WPC show this past weekend. One of the fundamental objectives of the WPC is to promote the athletes, and they are already delivering on that promise with the same enthusiasm and commitment as they do for the contests. Before leaving Miami, the executive team was already excitedly planning improvements for WPC 2 in Las Vegas August 18th. The goal is to make the experience even better for the athletes and fans and provide more opportunities for photo shoots, video, podcasts, and exposure. They believe that if they do more to help the athletes be successful, the WPC will be more successful. You can’t argue with that logic.
The answer to the question? The WPC executive team are good people with a clear vision, decades of invaluable experience, global connections, endless drive and they are committed to bringing that vision to fruition by giving the athletes a better experience and by focussing on helping them reach their own goals and dreams on and off the stage. It won’t happen in one contest, and only a fool would think it should. The WPC plan is far more complex than just that. There is something extraordinary happening here, and I believe the day will come when the WPC and CEO Darren Owen are measured among the most successful ventures and business people of our time.
I am betting on it.
You can find out more at WPC.World