True Grit

By Lou Earle – October 25, 2012

The smoke has hardly cleared from the firestorms of the recent Republican and Democratic conventions as we approach the final presidential debates that will likely establish the course of our country for decades to come. In this brief respite from that sound and fury until the next act, I am struck by a common theme that coursed through the right, left, and middle of those national conversations. We heard story after story of the struggles and challenges overcome by Americans from all paths of life. Some battled their way out of poverty, some were the first in their family to achieve an education, others fought their way to health from a chronic illness, and still others achieved wealth, stature, and office. Of course, the objective of these illustrations was to establish that underlying all these successes was the fundamental environment of freedom and opportunity that is America.

Few would debate that “America the Beautiful” really does offer much that supports, facilitates, and even catalyzes opportunities. But what may be the most important aspect of America, “the land of opportunity,” is the overwhelming belief that there is an open path for each of us to realize our dreams. This world view creates a mindset of hope and an expectation of success and that translates into what I believe is the single greatest driver of change and achievement…ATTITUDE.

We often hear that Americans are the best in the world at solving problems or that we are great innovators and entrepreneurs. Experience and history certainly support our success in these endeavors. But we are by no means alone in these accomplishments. In fact, in many ways we are arguably newcomers. The truth is that the human species is incredibly resourceful and has consistently demonstrated its capacity to excel. But like a plant that is nurtured with good soil, clean air, sunshine, and pure water, America provides a climate that truly fosters that “True Grit,” that firmness of character; that indomitable spirit and pluck that accelerates performance and results. And Austin is a cradle of this spirit.

Nowhere is true grit more critical than in navigating the vagaries of managing a business enterprise and learning how to grow it and make it successful. Every day is different, every problem is new, and every decision is crucial—and then you have to actually execute and delight your customers. But while the challenges are enormous and the hours long, there are wonderful benefits if you can serve a worthy cause like the health and fitness of your community. Business is America’s fuel and small business is the heart of our economy. Not only is it a crucial part of the “dream” for many Americans, but it also pays most of the bills.

In this month’s “Fit Biz” issue we are featuring local businesses that are not only in the business of fitness, but are really fit to be in business! We have had the wonderful privilege of getting to know a lot of these folks in Austin and are grateful for the opportunity to shine a light on their significant contributions to the health and fitness of our city.

Our feature this month is a case in point. Mario Mendias, of My Fit Foods, has done it all, from fitness trainer, to chef, to inventor, a preeminent risk taker and entrepreneur of the first order. Mario has changed the landscape of healthy eating by making good food affordable and convenient while educating his customers about how to eat right. Mario and his team are truly making a difference. His story is not only inspiring and uplifting, but proves once again that America is indeed the land of opportunity if you just have some good old fashioned “true grit”.

Keep Austin Fit,



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