I have always believed you can tell a lot about a person by how they perform in the gym. I am not talking about natural athleticism or the strength and endurance gained from years of having devoted oneself to a consistent fitness regimen. I am talking about the raw, primal instinct to attack the impending workout and give everything you’ve got. This relentless approach to athletics can be directly translated into sales. The best sales professionals in the world are some of the highest income earners because they have the unyielding tenacity to approach their profession with maximum potential, overcome objections they face, and reach peak performance.

My dear friend and personal trainer who shares the same “give it your all” approach to working out as he does in business, introduced me to the book Relentless by Tim S. Grover. Grover comes from a sports training background where athletic performance is the metric used to gauge mental toughness. His Machiavellian approach to excellence has set him apart from other leadership gurus. He is unapologetically honest, blunt, brazen and bold. That is what sets him apart. He is as he describes in his book, a cleaner.

Tim S. Grover is a world-renowned and self-proclaimed Athletic Specialist and Physical Architect. He has worked with top athletes in the world of sports and is the person people call “in case of an emergency.” Grover began his career as a trainer to elite athletes following a string of injuries during his time as a basketball player for the University of Illinois in Chicago. His claim to fame started when he became Michael Jordan’s trainer. Grover sent letters out to all the players of the Chicago Bulls, except for Michael Jordan, whom he believed wouldn’t even consider him. To his surprise, Michael Jordan was the only player to call. Jordan gave him 30 days to prove himself, and Grover has been with him for 15 years. Grover is the CEO of Attack Athletics, a legendary training facility in Chicago, focusing on elite training, injury rehabilitation and consulting. Influencers in the industry describe Glover as the best at what he does; He creates champions.

The word relentless is used in sports to describe the most intense competitors and achievers imaginable, those who stop at nothing to get the end results.

Tim S. Grover

In the book, Grover classifies people into three categories: coolers, closers and cleaners.

A cooler is described as someone who is careful and waits to be told what to do. This person waits to see what others around him are doing and then subsequently follows. Coolers are “mediators” not “decision makers.” Coolers can only handle a certain amount of pressure. When things get too intense, they have no qualms about backing down and passing the problem onto someone else. Grover describes coolers as “setup people.

The second category outlined in Grover’s book is the closer. A closer can handle a more significant deal of pressure and get the work done. In the appropriate situation, you can tell a closer what to do, and they will do it. Closers are known to be attention-seekers and work for the credit. They are aware of others and their reputation. Closers work for the rewards and “perks” associated with their performance. To closers, financial security takes precedence over winning. Closers are great competitors, and you can count on them. They do what they are hired to do, they get their credit, and they go home.

The final category Grover describes are cleaners. A cleaner is a rare breed. They have a certain je ne sais quoi about them. Cleaners take the initiative and are relentless in their execution. Cleaners stay unwaveringly hungry. They are never satisfied with their performance because they are consistently striving for more. Grover describes that the distinguishing characteristics that differentiate closers from cleaners are that cleaners will elevate the performance of those around them. A cleaner expects more from his teammates or colleagues and people will level themselves up in the presence of a cleaner. Additionally, a cleaner’s standard of excellence is driven by sheer grit. Cleaners are not out for the accolades, but instead they have an innate desire to be the best in their field and become change agents in their industries.

Cleaners have a unique mental dominance about them and are driven by a laser focus to reach and exceed their goals. They are perseverant and fearless in moments others would succumb to defeat. Grover described when Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon during a game against the Warriors in April of 2012. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bones. Much like a rubber band, a third-degree tear in the Achilles will cause the tendon to snap in half, rendering one unable to walk on it. Rather than collapsing and being carried off the court, Kobe Bryant hopped on one foot to the free throw line to finish playing. He made both shots. “That,” Grover describes, “is relentless.

Kobe Bryant’s rehabilitation began the moment he walked onto the free throw line and continued to play, following his injury. The rehabilitation process began in his mind. It was Kobe’s mental toughness that made him relentless. Although physical dominance can make you great, it is mental dominance that cleaners like Kobe Bryant and Tim Grover share that make them truly unstoppable.

There are 13 rules of being relentless:

  1. You keep pushing yourself harder when everyone has had enough.
  2. You get into the zone, you shut out everything else & control the uncontrollable.
  3. You know exactly who you are.
  4. You have a dark side that refuses to be good.
  5. You are not intimidated by pressure; you thrive on it.
  6. When everyone else is hitting the “in case of emergency” button, they’re all looking for you.
  7. You don’t compete with anyone; you find your opponent’s weakness and attack.
  8. You make decisions, not suggestions; you know the answer while everyone else is still asking questions.
  9. You don’t have to love the work, but you’re addicted to the results.
  10. You’d rather be feared than liked.
  11. You trust very few people and those you trust better never let you down.
  12. You don’t recognize failure, you know there’s more than one way to get what you want.
  13. You don’t celebrate your achievements because you always want more.