I can hardly believe that almost an entire year has passed since I started TRTC. And it’s been an amazing year. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and working harder than I have in my whole life.
Every day I’m doing work that I love, coaching and training some amazing athletes, each very different, with very different goals and aspirations. You’ve certainly kept me on my toes during 2018, and as we start 2019, I want to give a heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you who have been part of my own ‘journey’ – building and running my triathlon coaching business.
I couldn’t have done it without you. Not just as athletes but as human beings who – even in pursuit of your own goals – in your own ways have supported and encouraged me as a coach and a businessman.
Starting and building a business is far from simple. There have been a lot of both highs and lows, but as I’ve been thinking about all that I’ve accomplished this past year and looking towards the coming year, I realise that I’ve learned an awful lot along the way.
1. It’s a rollercoaster…
…Of emotion, of energy, of work. Being my own boss, being the only one accountable for the success or failure of my business, has meant a lot of highs and lows. And at times it’s felt overwhelmingly hard.
And yet, I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s not always been comfortable, I’ve had to do an awful lot that’s way outside my comfort zone – like developing a business plan for starters. But every day for me is new and different, exciting and energising. I get to work with the most amazing people and athletes and do what I do best – enable each athlete to achieve whatever goals they set themselves.
Training for triathlon is like a roller coaster too. There are good days and bad days; days when those goals seem impossible to reach – when it all feels just so impossibly hard – and days when there are unimagined breakthroughs.
Accept it. It’s a rollercoaster. And it’s one heck of a ride.
2. Have clarity of purpose
As we go through life our ambitions change and what we want from our working life changes. I’ve been an athlete my entire life and spent more than 25 years as a personal trainer. Then a few years ago, I started dreaming beyond what I’ve always done and found new clarity for what I wanted in life. I achieved my own dream of training for and completing an Ironman, and I realised that I wanted to bring this same clarity of purpose to others.
Because that’s what triathlon is, being very clear about what you want to achieve, and then doing what needs to be done.
3. Have a plan and stick to it
I actually started planning for going out on my own years before I actually did. It began as a vague notion that I’d like to become a triathlon coach ‘one day’. But I soon realised that if I was ever going to reach that day, I needed to start doing a lot of things so that when I was ready the foundation would already be in place.
I went out and got the qualifications I needed to be credible in the triathlon world, all the while working full-time. I spent a lot of time understanding my own motivations and what I personally wanted to achieve. This meant defining what ‘success’ for my business looked like to me, and being clear about what I wanted my business to be – in other words, what I was actually going to do and not do. There are an awful lot of coaches out there, why would someone choose me?
Having a plan, knowing that I’ve planned well to reach my objectives, and sticking to it is what has seen me through the down times. And this goes for triathlon training too. If you have clarity on what you want to achieve, and develop a plan to get you there, that plan will see you through the dark days. And there will be dark days.
4. Find a coach/mentor and meet regularly
That’s why having a coach is so important. I have coaches and mentors of my own that I meet with regularly. And I simply could not have accomplished all that I have this past year without them. The advice, support, enthusiasm and encouragement I have received and continue to receive is immeasurable. I’ve had to be not only a coach this past year but become a businessman as well. There’s a lot I’ve had to learn and for much of it I simply didn’t know where to begin.
These coaches/mentors of mine are people who have been there, done that. They give me different perspectives and new ways of thinking; they both challenge me and reassure me. And I’m a better businessman, a better triathlete, and a better coach because of them.
This may well be the single most important thing I’ve learned and it goes beyond triathlon and beyond building my own business. This is about life – surrounding yourself with the right people who can support and guide you towards where you want to go, wherever that may be.
‘If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do what you’ve never done’
– Thomas Jefferson
Last year for me was all about making a start in pursuit of new goals. And 2019 is all about continuing to build on that success. Because building a business – like training for triathlon – is about building dreams. And if you don’t build your own dreams, no one else will.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019