We had the good fortune of connecting with Mert Olcav and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mert, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking sets you apart from others who are not willing to take the risk. Whoever is willing to do what others won’t can achieve great things in life by trying, taking a chance. Risk taking has played a major role in my life.Throughout my journey in US as a foreigner I had to work harder than majority to have the competitive edge and excel in my career. In order to do that, you have to knock all the doors, show yourself, be present and most importantly take necessary risks if you want to have a successful career in a competitive city such as Los Angeles. Taking risks is not only about finances but its also about our decisions, controlling our pride/ego and going against the norm.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I believe the competitiveness in me sets me apart from others. I hate losing. Being obsessed with success and becoming great at what you do puts a pressure on you because you know that you set your standards, expectations high so you have to act accordingly. The things that are challenging excites me in every aspect of life. If it was easy everyone would do it right ? I am a true believer in working hard in whatever we do. Combining hard work with the talent we have is the recipe for success. Although I have a long way to go in my career there are things that contributed to my accomplishments so far such as ;the persistent attitude, not giving up easily, using negativity as a fuel and convert it to positivity and most importantly giving my %100 in whatever I do. That way I know I respect myself and leave no stones unturned. I heard many ‘no’ s and faced many rejections. However I saw each one as an opportunity to grow or change to become better/different. I see many people nowadays giving up easily after the initial challenge/obstacle. That shouldn’t be the case. In order for me to get hired at one of the Equinox gyms I had to go through 4 rejections but I didn’t give up. I kept trying until I get hired in one of the prime locations because I believed in myself and knew that I deserve that position and I was going to whatever it takes to become part of it. I keep hearing so many times that I can’t do this do that from other people; almost like a reflection of their fear of their own potential failure. Whenever I hear someone telling me that I can’t do something, I want to prove that person wrong, it fires me up. Not in a negative or relentless way but by working hard in silence and proving wrong with my actions. Throughout my journey, I learned that we have to listen to our inner voice rather than what others dictate what we can do or what we can achieve. Although I am currently working on multiple projects, they will come together in time. People around me knows me with my Fitness personality and part of what I am working on will be related to that and exciting things will shape itself so I can’t wait to announce it soon !
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
LA has so much diversity and it is one of the biggest cities all over US so there are plethora of things to do, see, experience and have a great time. First of all, I would definitely take my best friend to iconic spots such as Griffith Observatory to have a postcard view of the city. Next spot should be Urban Lights LACMA especially at night it’s beautiful. I’m from Izmir, Turkey where you can find one of the prettiest beaches and resorts therefore I’d definitely go to Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier followed by Malibu. If we have some extra time I’d definitely go to Orange County because beaches over there are worth seeing and exploring ! Now it’s time to experience one of the most authentic restaurants such as;Lawry’s, Fogo De Chao, Boa Steakhouse…Well I’d not let her leave without trying In n Out Burger, or a breakfast at The Griddle Cafe either…Of course one should grab a drink before leaving right ? And considering that person is a wine gourmet we would definitely go to Wally’s in Beverly Hills. These are the places that came to mind however there are many many beautiful places that I can’t even remember right now… Since I am a fitness fanatic the most exciting place for me is Gold’s Gym Venice aka Mecca of Bodybuilding…Even if you are not a bodybuilder and you are into fitness you should definitely stop by and check out that special gym in Venice. You can find one of the most iconic fitness people, athletes, bodybuilders and explore the uniqueness and witness the addictive aura of that gym.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The biggest credit goes to my family; my parents ;Ayse Handan Olcav & Zafer Olcav. Without their support I’d never become the man I am right now. Their unconditional love and encouragement they have been giving me my entire life allowed me to overcome obstacles and better know who I am and what my potential is. Even a well known figure like Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is not a self made man after accomplishing so much. In our life journey, there are many that deserve recognition because without them we wouldn’t made it that far. It is a team effort pretty much. I would like to dedicate a shoutout to Richard Abrams whom I met when I was working at Equinox as a Personal Trainer. He believed in me and he also helped me get another job opportunity that I am forever grateful for. We became great friends since then. Another person I believe that deserves a recognition is Robert Singer, Curator, Head of Japanese Art at LACMA. I met Rob when I started working at Mr C Hotel in Beverly Hills as a bartender. He became one of my regular customers and one of my best friends, mentors to date. He has been very supportive throughout my journey.
Cedric Terrell Kaeldino Photography