An interview with Brandon Clift

I was lucky enough to meet Brandon through The Entourage. Brandon is more than just a PT, he’s on a mission to break barriers for men when it comes to mental health. It’s been incredible watching his journey over the past month and is definitely an entrepreneur to keep an eye on.
What is your business and when did it start?
Zone Transformation Specialists is a team of coaches that have made it our mission to make sure that every person with a goal has a a place where they feel safe.
In many ways, they don’t have to worry about going into an unfamiliar environment where they feel like they’re goning to be judged or ridiculed, simply because they want to take care of themselves.
Zone started on the 13th of January 2016.
What inspired you to start your business?
What inspired me to start Zone came from quite a negative place. I spent a lot of my early 20s really struggling with mental health issues, more specifically depression and anxiety. I was in a place in my life, where I was unsure and unclear of who I was. I essentially just felt like I was worthless. This then began a vicious cycle of just talking negatively and isolating myself. It got to a point where I was seriously considering taking my own life.
However, something came to me. I was convinced that potentially one of the reasons why I was so unhappy was the fact that I was so out of shape. I was about eight kilos overweight, wasn’t watching what I was eating because I simply didn’t care. I then reflected and thought to myself;
“Screw it, I’m gonna do something that’s so far outside of my comfort zone and just see how this sticks. Maybe this is my last attempt.”
I signed up for a fitness modelling competition five months out. Over those five months I lost eight kilos and got in the best shape of my life. I took on a challenge that I considered to be the furthest thing away from my comfort zone. This was to stand on a stage in a pair of boardies to be judged on my appearance in front of hundreds of people.
After only being on stage once, I found myself in Vegas a few months later representing Australia. This was something I never in my wildest dreams thought was possible. When I was competing in Vegas, I ended up placing third in the world, which at the time just seemed like it couldn’t be true. However, when I was standing on stage and I was being handed my trophy amongst 18 other incredible athletes, I thought back to four months earlier. I thought to myself
“What happened in a four month period for me to be able to walk that journey and be able to come out the other side feeling triumphant and victorious?” 
It was far less about the award of being a world class fitness model. It was more about understanding that I was able to take myself from such a dark place, to a triumphant state. I thought more good hearted people deserve to discover that for themselves and take them out of a dark space. So, then it came to me on a flight back from the states. I grabbed a napkin off a stewardess and wrote the word zone. I didn’t know what that was gonna look like but I knew it was gonna help transform people’s lives.
What has your journey been like since starting your business?
Since starting my business, the journey has been incredible. It has allowed me to essentially connect with people that I would never expected. It has opened doors never thought possible. Although it’s been difficult, there have been many sleepless nights. It has been an incredible ride.
It has allowed me to get better at my craft and to become a better practitioner and coach. The knock on effect has been incredible. I’ve been able to pass on that postive energy towards personal and business relationships. More than anything, the journey has amounted to creating meaningful, life long connections with people that are going to last a lifetime.
Where do you envision yourself and your business in the next five years? And how do you plan to do this?
For me it’s hard to answer that question because at 25, the pin on the map changes every week. What I think I’m gonna do one week I end up doing the opposite the next, because in business the platform changes.
What I do envision, is being able to raise someone to take over the reigns and continue this legacy of Zone when I’m no longer able to. My vision for myself is to one day be traveling the world and speaking to raise awareness for men’s mental health. I want to speak about my vision and share our successful methods to help people achieve incredible results in their lives. I want to take what we do and help people worldwide, because we know it works.
What does perseverance mean to you?
Perseverance to me is to have skin in the game. To experience what it’s like to have perseverance, there has to be something at risk or a greater vision involved. At our toughest times in business, the one thing that’s always got us through has been perseverance. It’s being able to reconnect with our why.
What is your why?
My why is to help men and women, and more specifically men not follow the same path that I nearly took. Since starting Zone, I’ve watched friends go through depression and I’ve even seen some friends take their lives. It’s just crushed me knowing that I could have done something to help. So, my why is to make sure that another conflicted man or woman have a safe place to reach out and find help.
Why is it so important for you to break down the stigma of mental health for men?
It’s important for me because up until recently, we haven’t been having the conversation. We haven’t been talking about depression and anxiety. There’s been this real stigma around men even revealing that they’re struggling in life. The beauty is we are seeing a collective consciousness growing around men’s mental health and men struggling emotionally, physically and mentally in today’s society. I can only do my part to ensure that another man doesn’t feel compelled to end his life because he doesn’t feel like he has a place in the world or doesn’t feel like he can be accepted for who he is. So, that’s a big part of my mission, a big part of my why, and so that’s why I believe it’s important.
What has been a challenge you’ve had to overcome that has shaped yourself and your business?
In mid 2017 we actually lost our gym. We had worked for years to secure this gym location which has been one I had wanted for three or four years. We we’re only six months in to having it and one of my sub-tenants refused to pay his side of the agreement. So this forced our hand to actually close and move back to our first location. It was half the size and at this stage we had twice the numbers. I felt like this was getting in the way of my mission and what I wanted to do in this world, helping people and imparting with change. It was a tough time because it threw me into a dark place again, which I never thought I would go back to. It affected me emotionally.
While I was reflecting on New Years 2017, the best thing happened to me. It was without a doubt losing the gym because I then had to step up. The gym was at risk. I had to overcome it and up level as a human being in my mind, body, and spirit. I had no choice because without me and my exceptional team and client base, the whole ship sinks. So, I couldn’t sit there. I had to do something about it. This is when the grit came through. The perseverance and resilience was revealed to me having gone through all this.
What is the biggest tip you have received off someone that has stuck with you?
Since being in business, I have had an incredible network of mentors. The one thing that sticks out to me more than anything, is something my grandfather shared with me about two days before he passed away. My grandfather was a very successful man, so I asked him
“Pop, what’s your biggest advice so that I can live the life and walk the path that you’ve walked?”
He replied plain and simple,
 “Be a good citizen, love your family unconditionally, fight for what is right, and always, always follow through with what you say.”
What he meant by that was, if you shake someone’s hand saying you’re gonna do something, you do it. You follow through. Or you change the agreement, but you never flip. You’re never flakey, always keep your word. Most importantly, always keep your integrity. He passed away two days later. I’ve heard his words go through my mind in various business situations. It has stuck with me ever since. I believe these words have become a compass to guide me through some of my greatest triumphs and my biggest trials in business.
What is a tip that you would give to a young person thinking about starting a business but not sure how to start?
The biggest tip I could give a young person thinking about starting is, just try. This is my third business, the first two failed. I was convinced in both cases that they were going to be my ticket to financial freedom. But in fact, they flopped. The beauty of it was, when I fell from that tree I got to smack every branch on the way down. My suggestions for a young person wanting to get into business but not knowing how, is to get in the trenches. No program or course or degree is going be your golden ticket to where you want to go. It’s impossible.
My mentors and the people that I respect in business are the ones that got in the trenches. They fought hard, they got bloody, they got muddy from the second they got into business. They just started working, they started failing, they started learning along the way. They were conscious the entire time of those lessons, whether they came through wins, whether they came through losses.
So, for me I’ve in many ways made sure to embody that journey. Which is to fail forward and fail as much as possible. The beauty of this is, is I get to do it before I have commitments such as kids, a wife a mortgage. The beauty of starting now, is that you get to make those mistakes without it having too much impact on your future.
Where can we contact you?
Quite simply you can find information about me and my mission and the work we do at Zone, at BrandonClift.com. And if you want to get in touch with me personally you can reach my cell phone and my PA at Brandon@BrandonClift.com. I check my emails at the same time every day. If you have a question that you want answered or some advice on anything, I can’t guarantee I’ll respond right away. However, I’ll definitely endeavour to make sure that I get back to you and answer that question or help in any way that I can. If you want to see the work that we do and how we’re helping change lives through meaningful transformations, you can follow Zone Transformation Specialists, on our social platforms.

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