By Chelsea Clarke | Photos by John Park

Lori Harder’s start in fitness superstardom taught her everything she needed to know about breaking into the world of serial entrepreneurship. As a cover model, author, lifestyle expert, and now, founder of alcohol company Lite Pink, Lori says there’s more crossover between crushing a workout and crushing a business endeavor than you might think. Here in her own words, our November/December cover star lays out the lessons she learned in her early days as the fresh face on fitness mags, and how that inspired her to build an empire.

1. Have patience and faith.

“Results take way more time than you think they ever will. Unfortunately, most people quit (but not you!) before they get anywhere because they think it should happen in some random timeframe that they picked out of thin air. Everyone has their own timeline as to how long results will take. While goals and deadlines are important for success, you also need to be flexible and give yourself grace. Life is going to happen every day, and especially once you set your goals. Some people are overcoming years of bad habits or they have no education in the new path they’ve chosen—you still need to keep going. In fitness and business, you spend most of the beginning setting a foundation and learning what to do. Next comes creating a plan to set up your life to support your goals. All of these things take time to ‘click.’ For me, it took years to understand what was sustainable in both of these worlds. I believe the people who learn to forgive themselves the fastest and release 'screw ups' and failures are the ones who end up winning.”

2. No one is an expert.

“Listen to me when I tell you: Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing when they start. I remember the first time I trained someone, all I could think was, ‘They are going to find out I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m not educated enough, or worse, I may end up hurting them.’ This is no different than me starting my new company. I kept thinking, ‘What if I can’t answer their questions and I look totally irresponsible and mess up a huge deal?’ Imposter syndrome is not specific to you and me. It's a theme of life. If this is you, start anyway, and start now. All your fears will feel like they are going to come true, and the truth is, some will, but most won’t. You’ll fail, cry, get frustrated, and want to quit weekly, if not daily sometimes. You’ve got to learn to reframe fast! This is a trait of a successful human and you can make yourself learn this if you practice switching your thoughts daily.”

3. Make an investment.

“I wish I could tell you that you can just start the business or fitness plan without time or money, but that simply would not be true. Yes, you can definitely get a good start from free resources, but even in fitness, you’re going to need to start buying better food and some decent weights or shoes to get the next level. Just like in business, the knowledge and people you start with likely aren’t going to be able to get you to your next level. You have to invest in what will.”

4. Seek resistance to keep growing.

“It sounds crazy to actually choose pain and resistance, but when you realize they are the very things that create the change you’re praying for and dreaming of, somehow they begin to be things that you don’t dread as much once they become a habit. Ask anyone who is considered muscular or fit if they go to the gym to ‘take it easy’ and they’ll tell you, they choose to look for the weights that are the heaviest for them. They choose to go to failure in order to create new muscle. This is just like business. You have to seek challenges and do things that scare you daily. You have to learn things you feel like you’re not smart enough to understand. You have to fail in front of people in order to know what to do and what not to do. Failure, resistance, and discomfort are the very things that’ll create the life and business you're praying so hard for.”

5. The people around you matter.

“The people around you will make or break you. I had to change my tribe when I was starting to set out on my health goals, and I’m having to do it again now that I’m building a company. It doesn’t mean you get rid of people, but your focus and how much time you spend with some people will change. In the beginning, you may be on this journey alone. You may even do okay alone! But if you want to enjoy your life and get to the next level, you’ll need to work really hard to find like-minded people and start to surround yourself with them. This takes time. Most times, we have to limit exposure to people who aren’t good for our well-being (this may even be your family), and this can feel like you’re the worst person in the world. Ultimately, though, it may be making you bitter or resentful, and it could be taking away from your other relationships. It’s not easy, but I promise it will change your life if you work at it."

STRONG Fitness
STRONG Fitness Magazine is a trusted source of cutting-edge fitness and health information for the modern woman who lives to be fit. STRONG’s sophisticated editorial voice combined with raw, powerful imagery and a modern, athletic design reflect the direction fitness has taken in the last decade.