I do what I do because people fascinate me. Even more importantly, I am mesmerized by the human pursuit of goals and desires. It is never easy, and honestly, there are usually more challenges then there are victories. Throughout my professional career, I have had the fortune to work in many different environments, each one a little bit different. However, there are more similarities between them than you probably would imagine.
For the past 15 years, I have been blessed the opportunity to work with elite and professional competitors. In the eight years prior, I spent time in a very competitive role in corporate America. Preceding that, I completed my training as a clinical psychologist. All very unique circumstances; all very good teachers. I have had some amazing mentors at each of those stops, but the on-the-job training has been invaluable.
Of course, in life, there are struggles, and there are triumphs.
There are victories, and there are defeats. I have experienced all of them, and I took some time recently to reflect on those experiences. Would I have loved to know these nuggets of wisdom BEFORE I experienced them? My immediate response would be a resounding YES. However, I’m not sure I would be in the spot I am today without having gone through them.
With all of that said, I came up with 19 pieces of advice that I would tell my younger self. They’re also 19 pieces of advice that would be applicable to anyone in a competitive environment. Ultimately, these are 19 pieces of advice that I know now but wish I would have known when I started my professional career:
1. Everyone has advice on how to run your business but listen to those that have actually done it. There are many promises but few that are successful at executing it.
2. Success and failure are categorical definitions, not experiences. Experiences are reserved for the process and the journey. When we use categorical definitions, we suck the life out of living.
3. Just because an “expert” in the field posts a picture or claims they work with a team, athlete, or company on social media, it doesn’t mean they do. There are tons of “drive-thru” interactions that get overplayed.
4. Some of the best of the best have no social media exposure. Search those mentors out and schedule time to meet with them.
5. Start your podcast earlier and stop being so worried about what others will think about your radio presence. It will help you learn from your guests.
6. Your perspective will grow with each client you work with and each book you read. Keep a “philosophy binder” and grow your perspective for you!
7. Trust takes time. This is true with clients, organizations, and thought leaders.
8. Do the best job you can every day and remember that is all that matters.
9. Serve clients with all your heart. Every minute you worry about your impact, you take away from your investment in your clients. Worry about their well-being, growth, and progress, but try not to worry about your performance with them. Do the best you got that day, as you tell your clients.
10. Take care of yourself. Your health matters – greatly. Move, eat better, and care for the vessel that God has given you – body, mind, and spirit.
11. Be careful to not sacrifice family time for too many calls, appointments, and follow ups. Not everything is urgent and your clients have never asked that it be. That is on you.
12. Surround yourself with the best team you can. Do not assume that those underperforming or causing drama will change. Make the change sooner rather than later, as you will be doing them a blessing. The best team is right around the corner, so keep searching. You will know it when they join you.
13. Never apologize for what you believe in business, how to grow your business, or how you manage your client interactions. As long as you always take the side of what is best for the client, you will never cross the line with clients. Others may disagree but at the end of the day, you have to deal with the consequences, so choose which ones are the most important.
14. Spend more time with leaders in business learning from how they grow and build their skill sets. Unbelievable insights from outside the sports world apply to the sports world.
15. Write more. It does not have to be perfect. But it can help someone and you enjoy it, so do more of it!
16. Have an attitude of gratitude. Say “thank you” more often. To your team, your clients, your family, and your friends. Hand-written thank you notes allow you to share your thoughts more than other ways.
17. Have fun! You are doing what you love, so invest that love into the journey.
18. Invest in the next generation of providers and encourage them to get as much training, experience, and exposure to other practitioners as possible. Learn how to train those that are interested – it will make a difference.
19. Don’t believe what you see on social media – use it to establish connections, share your philosophies, and learn new resources.
So, these were my 19 pieces of advice. Hopefully, they can help you in some way. Would be interested to know if you agree or disagree with any (or all!) of them. Share with me your thoughts!