Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Vince Fowler, Founder of Fowler Performance Coaching, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Human performance coaching to CEOs and Leaders who lead leaders. What a mental performance coach aspires to do for professional athletes, I aspire to do for CEOs. While there's no one "type" of client segment, what is common among all of my clients is that they are very human-centric (other people matter), and they aspire to make a meaningful impact in the lives of others - their business is simply a mechanism in which to achieve it.
Tell us about yourself
After a 7-year career in the military - airborne infantry - I found myself living a dual life. During the day, I worked in professional sales, and during the evening, I played and coached rugby. After nine years of selling, I was recruited to a private school as their strength and conditioning coach. I fell in love with "coaching" and thought coaching athletics would be my future. I was half right. In 2008 when the economy crashed, I ultimately lost my job at the end of the school year. After 16 months of unemployment, I landed on my feet, back in business selling "Business Coaching Services" for a local firm. Eight months later, I was encouraged to take my certification, and a year of coaching later, I left the firm to start my own private practice. That was September 2012.
As I look back, there were some bumpy and uncertain years, and I'm grateful I remained resilient and stuck it out. I've had the pleasure of working with so many amazing people, their staff, and the community. I've learned a tonne along the way, and I'm excited to see the journey continue.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Harmony. Meaning while I have a thriving practice, I also have a thriving personal life, an amazing business partner & wife, our two teenage children, and the freedom/flexibility to pursue my athletic goals, namely ultra running. In the last year, I've completed three 50k races, an 80k race, and a 100k race, along with a renewed appreciation for multi-day backcountry hikes.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest thing was getting out of my own way and giving myself permission to be successful. Sounds odd to others, I'm sure. "What, a performance coach who struggles with his own self-narrative?" In a word - yes. Despite growing up in Canada with people who cared for me, I grew up with a number of challenges that - shall we say - compromised my self-esteem, self-worth, and overall value. I was abused, bullied, and had ADHD (that wasn't really a widely known thing then), and I developed both a disbelief in positive feedback, an unhealthy relationship with anger, and a belief that love was conditional upon achievement. The military, athletics, and a career in professional sales only amplified this narrative of conditional love/appreciation upon achievement.
While there's much more to the story, I was extremely fortunate to meet some people in my life who could see that I was suffering and cared enough to reach out and help me get the help I needed to ultimately become the best version of myself. It's been a journey and a lot of hard work, to say the least. Business, while not a cakewalk, is a lot easier to build and run when I'm healthy physically and mentally.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Business is the ultimate infinite game. The players are known and unknown, the rules are changeable, and the goal is to stay in the game. Sometimes you're ahead; sometimes you're behind... do everything you can to stay in the game. Having said that:
- Embrace the suck » Life and business will never be absent of suck. Meaning... acknowledge that something hard, uncomfortable, or unpleasant is also necessary and unavoidable for forwarding progress.
- Never stop investing in yourself » Exercise self-care, have boundaries, ask for help when you need it, and accept help when offered. Do this, and you'll outperform your wildest expectations.
- There is no one way » There is only a way. When someone says, "This is the way," while it might be their way, it's only one way. There's always more than one way...
a. Life is short so find enjoyment in the journey. "You only live once" is bullsh*t. You die once - you live every day. Get living!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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