Zach Colman: Welcome to another episode of The Brand Power Analysis. Today I have an old friend of mine, Brian. Brian, why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?

The Story of Brian Wood

Brian Woods: Yes, I am old as a matter of fact, I appreciate you pointing that out to your audience, Zach. Good to see you, always had tons of respect for you. My name is Brian Woods, and I am a coach. And not an Xs and Os coach, but I’m a coach with Transition, and executive coaching, athletes, former athletes, humanitarian efforts, and learning and development, all that stuff rolled into one. So, that’s me, Zach.

Zach Colman: Oh, that’s great. Sounds like a journey. And I don’t think I’ve ever even really… I think we might have talked to it a little bit when we were in Miami, but I don’t think that we ever dived deep into your journey and how you got to where you are today. So, why don’t you kind of tell everyone a little summary of yourself and the journey you took?

Brian Woods: I will, so… And it’s funny too. When we were in Miami for that event, to help out athletes, former athletes, that was about 10 minutes before COVID hit.

Zach Colman: Yeah, I know.

Brian Woods: And then everything changed, right? Like at the Superbowl walk. And so, anyway, what a journey it’s been. So for my journey, I went to a small school in New Jersey, and played basketball there. And it was the best, like great memories, great lessons, it really served me as I continued to grow. After college I played in money tournaments, I never made a bag of money but a lot of money tournaments, tons of traveling, several different countries. I ended up being a professional picker with the NFL, and… That’s not true, I’m just making stuff up now. [inaudible 00:01:47]-

Zach Colman: I was going to say, I’m like, “I think I would remember that one.”

Brian Woods: I’m just stealing your dad’s identity. Like, how inappropriate is that, right?

Zach Colman: Yeah.

Brian Woods: Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh. So it ended up, I headed down that path of just loving the game and doing anything to be around the game. And then ultimately, it was over. And I played at a smaller level, right? Small college money tournaments, but not big time, not big time like your dad. So, I can only imagine how it was for people that were at the highest level, and what that transition may have been like. But anyway, so I went into the corporate world. That’s kind of a natural progression for athletes and former athletes, I think, to compete. And there’s nothing more competitive, than being in business, and being in the real world, and grinding it out.

So I had like 30 years in the corporate world before it dawned on me that I just wanted to do more, that was more impactful. So, I went down the path of coaching. And I got to tell you, Zach, I’ve never worked harder. But, I have never been more satisfied. There is a difference between being just exhausted from transaction-type stuff, and just being overwhelmed with gratitude, and realizing that, “You know what? I think I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.” I know that’s kind of a roundabout way, but that’s part of my journey. And it’s a lot longer than that, but that’s the short version.

Zach Colman: It’s always longer, right?

Brian Woods: Yeah.

Zach Colman: It’s always hard to sum it up, it’s always hard to sum it up. So when you went through transition, when you went through that transition what do you think were some of those difficulties that you made when you had to go through that transition?

Brian Woods: So, that’s a great question. So, I’ll tell you a quick story. So, way back when, again, 100 years ago. But in college, I remember we had a practice, and it was a pretty intense practice. We had a big game coming up, and I remember one of our guards was just not taking the warmup real seriously. And I’m getting to a point, bear with me. And he’s just messing around, he’s just doing these little half-effort layups. And the captain says, “Hey man, knock it off, let’s go. We’ve got a big game.” Next play, same thing. And the captain walked up and just blew him up, punched him right in the face. And I know that is not the most conventional leadership, but when the coach came running over and says, “What happened, what’s going on here?”

No one said a word, right? That’s just, “No, this is how we… This is leadership, this is how we… This is leadership, this is how we handle that kind of stuff in the locker room.” And so the moral of the story is, when you transition, I’ve noticed that that hardly ever works in a boardroom, or at a staff meeting right? That kind of an approach. So I think the struggle is, it’s really… It’s twofold, it’s saying, “Okay, I’ve got to keep the intensity that really helped me, and shaped me, that competition.” Like, that really fueled me, but you have to use that as a secret weapon, as opposed to allowing people to push your buttons. So, that was one of the takeaways for me. Like, as I grew up and as I matured I realized that, you know, I’m not going to give you the power, Zach, to just push my buttons.

Like, if I have to tap into something that I know I have, I’m good with that. But I’m not going to have someone push my button at their will. I’m not going to give… We were going back and forth today, right? I’m not going to surrender my power, I’m not going to give you the power to control me. I’m the one that’s running this, and when I need to tap into that I feel like my crazy might be better than your crazy, and I’ll use that. But, I’ll only use that when it’s to my advantage. So, sometimes you get lost with that transition. You don’t realize that it’s a secret weapon, the things that you’ve been exposed to, as opposed to just something that you use every single day.

Zach Colman: So, how are you able to overcome that, like that situation when… I mean, it probably is one of those things that kind of just happened over time. But, you probably have like a key moment in time that you were like, “Oh yeah, that’s the aha moment, that’s the mindset shift.”

Brian Woods: Such a great question. So, it seems like, and a lot of things… And I know we work a lot, we talk a lot about our interactions with athletes. So much of what the best athletes do is deliver practice, right? They don’t just, “Okay, I’ll show up and hope I have a good workout.” They do the drills, over and over again. When there are two minutes left in the game, this is what I’m going to do. In this scenario, when I’m faced with this scenario this is what I’m going to do, I’m ready. And so it’s a similar approach, for me, I don’t think it was overnight, I think it was constantly practicing, and constantly questioning myself. Like, in a good way right? As an athlete, you’re saying, “How can I get a little bit better?” And from a development perspective, and from a leadership perspective, it’s very similar.

So, “How can I get a little bit better every day?” And not beating yourself up at the end of the day, the week, the month, the quarter, but reflecting frequently, “What could I have done better?” Again, not from a place of judgment, but from discernment. “What can I do better? You know what, that didn’t serve me. When I blew up like that, that really didn’t serve me, and I lost my power, and I lost my cool, and that didn’t… What am I going to do next time? All right, let’s do some more drills. Practice, practice, practice. Better, better, better.”

Zach Colman: I forgot what I was going to say there, I was going to… So I tend to feel like, even as a leader myself, that that stuff never goes away, correct? So do you feel like you’re always… You feel like you’re always kind of going through the, “Hey, I have to look at me, I have to grow, I have to always make sure that I’m making sure I try not to be too…” Because you know, we’re both business owners, you know?

Brian Woods: Right, yep.

Zach Colman: And so, I feel like there’s such a correlation between the two, being an athlete and being a business owner. But I feel like that’s been my hardest challenge myself because even if you have this end goal in mind you tend to… There’s no real stepping stone set forth just for you to kind of look at yourself and say, “Hey, am I doing better than yesterday?”

Brian Woods: Yeah. So I just finished reading a book, Atomic Habits, by James Clear. And that’s what you’re reminding me of here, right? It’s the small habits that, how am I going to get better than I was tomorrow? It’s not like, earth-shattering stuff it’s doing to deliver practice over and over and over again. And one of the passages in the book talks about, “Okay, a plane is going from… I think it was like LA to New York. But if you go three… The pilot for whatever reason goes 3.5 degrees off-target, and now everyone is like, “Hey, what are we doing here in DC?” And over time, that’s the moral of the story, right? Over time, those small habits that comprise that 3.5%, that’s what change the game. So it’s the small habits, and I also think… Zach, I think there’s also some value in embracing the fact that there is no finish line, right? It’s not-

Zach Colman: Yeah, yeah. The journey, it’s the journey, right?

Brian Woods: Yeah, it’s the journey. And, there’s a difference between really leaning into it, and enjoying the deliberate practice, and the pursuit as opposed to saying, “It’s the grind.” And even the slightest change, and maybe this is an atomic habit, of how you show up. Whatever it is that you’re doing, whether it’s, you’ve got to work out, you’re going to work, you’re making some sales calls, whatever it is, changing the narrative from, “Oh, I’ve got to go work out.” To, “I get to go work out, I get to… I have an opportunity to do whatever it is.” As they say, the things that we complain about, other people pray for. So, just sometimes changing the narrative to connect to that 3.5% makes all the difference in the world.

Zach Colman: It’s funny, I was talking to my wife the other day about… And this is-

Brian Woods: That is funny, that you’d be talking to your wife.

Zach Colman: Well, we were talking about a good subject that was similar to what you’re talking about, and showers for instance. Like, she hates taking showers and things of that nature, but… She thinks it’s boring, where I’m like, “You know, we have two children now. We have a three-year-old, and we have a five-month-old.”

Brian Woods: Wow.

Zach Colman: So, just getting alone time for like 15, 30 minutes I’m like, I’m in there, I’m just like, “This is a blessing now.” Like just going to the grocery store, I’m like, “Oh, I’m getting out of the house for a little while.” Like, I get to walk around. And other people would be like, “Oh, I have to go to the grocery store.” And I’m like, “Yes, grocery store.”

Brian Woods: Yeah, this is an event right? No, this makes perfect sense, I love what you’re saying because there’s some truth to that in most things. Just like the way you receive that, is there’s some… That whole idea of, there’s a gift here somewhere. I’m driving three miles to go to the store, I get to listen to something I like on the radio, and I get to observe around. Like, there is something positive there, and more times than not people will make that left turn into negativity as opposed to saying, “Hey, this is pretty good, this is not a bad thing.”

Zach Colman: Well, and it’s hard not to right? I mean, I still do it every day, and it’s that concept of… Like the atomic habits, is kind of telling yourself by catching yourself when you’re doing it and trying to refit your brain when that’s happening, you know? I mean, one of the biggest things recently for me is, that my wife’s always like, “Why are you working on holidays?” Like, “Why do you work on holidays?” And I’m like, “Well, it’s actually great day two work because it’s like I get alone time. I’m not talking to anybody, my employees are all off,” you know?

Brian Woods: Yeah.

Zach Colman: So I can kind of just sit down and do stuff without having any sort of interruptions. And, that’s why I enjoy it so much. And so, instead of looking at it negatively like you said, like what you’re saying, like, “Oh, I work on the holidays, I’m a business owner, I’m a grinder.” It’s like, “No, I just enjoy working on the holidays because I have more time to myself.

Brian Woods: Yeah. And from her point of view, and not to pick on your wife by any stretch, right?

Zach Colman: I’m just using her because she’s the only [inaudible 00:13:04]-

Brian Woods: No, no. What I’m saying is, from any perspective, if the wife is saying… Not your wife, not my wife, just so we’re clear. If the wife is saying, “My husband, he’s always working. Ah, this is the worst, he never spends time with me.” Then a different way to look at that is how, what’s the different matter? “Oh my gosh, that guy is breaking his face for me, and our three-year-old, and our five-year-old.” Like, that changes everything. So it’s all us like it’s everything, and it’s really everything personally and professionally. Like, changing the narrative and really thinking through your thoughts. That whole idea, metacognition, is thinking about your thinking. Someone did a study, there are like 60,000 thoughts that bounce around in our heads every day.

And we’re not talking about dissecting each of those, but we are saying, what are my patterns, what are my tendencies, and how can I shift my mindset to a place where the best of the best… You look at the best of the best in every industry, in every sport. How do they show up differently? Because they don’t think the same, they’re a little bit different as you know, in a really good way. So, how can I replicate that kind of approach that they take, and be just as great in my arena?

Zach Colman: Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, I think as a business owner myself I tend to… I have bad anxiety, so I tend to wake up at like 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning because I just… It starts going on up here. And I take that opportunity now to be like, “Oh, now I’m up, I might as well go, that’s my gym time.” So I use that, I’m like, “All right, how do I embrace that in a way to kind of push out and do something that I really have no time for with two small children?” But…

Brian Woods: I remember those days, Zach. I remember those days, you know? And it was like, the greatest fantasy is if I could just have an hour of sleep, so… And at the same time I’ve got to say, there will be a time in your life where you say, “Oh man, that was the best. They were three and five, it was just so amazing.” It’s almost like-

Zach Colman: We’re going through that right now, we’re finally starting to look at daycare for one of them. And I’m like-

Brian Woods: Wow. Yep, yep.

Zach Colman: … “Finally have to let them go.” Like, that first step towards when they leave, you know? And you’re like, “Oh, oh. Finally have to.” But you embrace it, and that’s what I tell… You know, I and my wife talk about how blessed we are because we both sell… I have a virtual business, we’re a branding agency, but everything’s virtual and we can thank 2020 for that situation. But some blessings, it did pivot some things in the environment that helped certain people out. And I’m like, “We’re so blessed because we get to stay home, yes. We’re full-time parents, and we’re watching our children, and trying to work.” But you know, we get to be with our children up until their developmental stages, you know? So, it is nice.

But back to the subject, I could talk about my kids all day, they’re always on top of my mind. So, you work with plenty of CEOs and plenty of athletes themselves. So, let’s talk about some of those correlations. When you work with athletes, what do you think to make them or have them… How do they transition to becoming such good business owners?

Success Talk

Brian Woods: So, I would say not all of them do. I think the ones… Like if you looked at the common denominators, the ones that excel realize, whatever the sport… Most people could say that track is just you against the clock. But, you have a team around you for nutrition and stretching, and weightlifting, like all the above. So, I feel like the athletes that do really well transitioning recognize the fact that “Okay, it wasn’t just me. I’ve put in the work, no question about it. My work ethic was insane, and I leveraged the people around me.” So, we can really get into trouble when that ego… When we start to believe that it was just us, I can push through, and I’ve done it before on my own. And I think the athletes that do the best when they move into that business environment, realize that “Wow, I had a team when I was excelling on the field, the ice, the track, the diamond,” whatever.

“And I’m going to do the same thing. So, I’m going to actively reach out. In some ways I’m going to be humble, I’m going to be vulnerable, and I’m going to ask Zach for help. I need some help, Zach. I know this is your sweet spot, I know this is your lane. I want to do great, and this is not my thing. Can you help me out?” So, those are some of the things that come to mind, Zach.

Zach Colman: Yeah, there’s this analogy I like to kind of do when I talk to athletes, and it kind of went back to what you said when they’re on the team and they’re playing. I mean, I think a lot of sports fans, if we’re talking to a lot of colleges and high schools that may still really be fans of the sport as well, and haven’t gotten deep into it yet, we’ll kind of see that you know, you have your coaches, you have you… As you said, your nutrition team, your weightlifting team, you have different… Often it’s a coordinator, defensive coordinator, you have the opposite team. And so it’s like, “Okay, one person’s catching the ball, but one person’s saving the ball.” Or you have a lineman, who doesn’t even touch the ball. So, those are all different positions, and they’re all…

But they all need to work together to form a good game. Not just that, but you also need to look at the competitors and say, “All right, this is a different team I’m playing, this is a different approach.” And so like what you said, teamwork is necessary. And I feel like one of the phrases I’m starting to say to a lot of people is, time really does equal money when you’re first starting. But, you need to learn that money actually should equal time, you know?

Brian Woods: Mm-hmm.

Zach Colman: Like, you have to learn that, “Hey, you need to go out there, you’re going to need to hire people.” And I’ve seen it too as you said. A lot of athletes come in, and they start off, and they’re like, “Oh, I’m going to do this all myself, I’m going to do this all myself.” But I’m like, “There’s a point when you can learn it because you need to hire for it, but there’s also a point on, you just need to let go and focus on what you’re good at, and build a team around you.”

Brian Woods: No question. There are a couple of things that come to mind, there was… You talked about the trainers. Clay Thompson, when the goal is day one this year, NBA Championship, there was a picture I saw that showed him embracing his… Not therapist, physical trainer. And it was just so cool, because I don’t know the guy’s name, and I know that Clay put in tons of work. But at the same time, he knew that that team member, that strength coach was the one that played a huge role in his overall success. So, that was just kind of interesting.

Zach Colman: No, that is very interesting, that the ones that the fans don’t see, like, “Oh, the physical therapist helped us with the game,” you know?

Brian Woods: Yeah.

Zach Colman: Like, “Really?” Like, “Yeah, kind of.” So, you kind of already mentioned some of the struggles. What would you say, if you had to look at…. You said some of the things that… Really that’s more of a struggle than anything. But do you feel like there’s anything positive, like anything great that can come out and-

Brian Woods: Oh, yeah. I kind of turned that question around, I guess. So the other side of the coin, I would say you think about the situations that athletes are in. Performing under pressure, performing under adversity, working in a team environment, and making decisions, like all those things that it feels like. And maybe when they go out into the real world it feels like, “Oh, I’ve got to start out all over,” no you don’t. You brought all of those skills, and the majority of those skills, translate really nicely to the real world. But sometimes, it goes back to the narrative. Sometimes we tell ourselves that, “Oh, I’ve got to start out from square one, I’ve got to pay my dues.” Well, in a lot of ways you’ve already paid your dues.

So if you have someone who’s competing for a job, who is trying to run a business that hasn’t got hit in the face 100 times, fallen, gotten back up, do you think they’re going to be as competitive as you? I don’t think so. I think we’ve got to remind athletes of the reality that you’ve already been through a ton, you’ve already trained for this moment, and all the things that you did, regardless of what your sport is, these are things that you can absolutely leverage as you walk into the business world. So, we shouldn’t convince ourselves that we’ve got to start from the very bottom because we don’t, we shouldn’t.

Zach Colman: Yeah, they have this special ability to influence, most athletes do as you know. And I keep telling everyone that athletes are the next influencer, and I feel like from a positive standpoint. Not from going out and just showing off sitting on a boat, with a car on the boat. But really like, you have this message that you can give out to the world, a positive message that you can give out where business owners when they start out they’re paying for… You know, they’re paying for exposure and marketing, you know?

Brian Woods: Yeah, yeah.

Zach Colman: And I’m not saying athletes don’t need to pay for that stuff. What I’m saying is that they really just need to find what they’re good at, find their values, and as you said kind of… And they have just this special ability to help the world in a much more spoken manner.

Brian Woods: They could use that platform for amazing things, and they could head in the wrong direction. So, absolutely huge opportunity. And you said something, Zach, that reminded me of another point I wanted to make, and that’s the idea that for the question, what’s the best use of your time? So when you’re talking about, “Hey, I’m not going to do that, I’m going to get someone else to do that, I’m going to hire someone.” That’s the question you have to ask yourself, as an athlete, former athlete, or business owner. Like, “Is that the best use of my time?” And more times than not, your time is probably spent connecting, building rapport, and cultivating relationships, as opposed to doing that task that someone else could do. So, I think that’s something that…

Another one is that the best athletes realize is that “I’m going to have someone do that with the best businesses and business people. I’m going to have someone do that, I’m going to pay that, I’m going to invest that so I can get my time back, so I can use that time for this.” And just the opposite side of the coin for those that are not successful.

Zach Colman: Yeah, it’s funny you say that because every time we work with an athlete prospect with what we’re doing, that’s the first thing we say to them is, “Do what you’re good at. Let us focus on the marketing and branding department, you can… Your internal marketing department, you’ll still have to somewhat work with operations, but I can kind of help you with that if needed, find some people.” But do what you’re good at, be the face of the company. I mean, you see a lot of CEOs, that’s what they do. I mean, especially some of the larger ones that you may follow too, you have a lot of inspiration. It took them years, but that’s… Athletes have this extra ability to really just get paid to speak before most business owners do.

Zach Colman: So do that, you know?

Athlete Talk

Brian Woods: There are advantages, for sure. But you reminded me of something else, Zach, that it’s interesting how… And this is really unrelated to everything, but you reminded me that when we were in Miami and supporting the NFL players doing their pitch competition, it’s amazing that on the outside looking in you might say, “Well this guy played at a Superbowl, he actually has a Superbowl win, he played in front of millions of people.” And the one guy, you probably know who I’m talking about, was just… He said, “I was shaking like a leaf up there when I had to deliver my pitch.” So, just because you’re really good at something over here, doesn’t mean that you can be good at everything without help.” So, I just felt that was kind of interesting.

Zach Colman: Yeah, it’s funny you say that, because yeah, we… Because you know, like you said athletes tend to go in certain directions. A lot of times they’ll either open a business related to the industry, they’ll go out and they’ll do public speaking, that’s kind of their business. Or they’ll become an announcer, that too. And it’s one of those situations where I’ve met plenty, if not multiple PR people because we have a couple of on-staff that we partner with, that will teach athletes how to be broadcasters, you know? Because they have that kind of in already, so… But they still need to learn it. You seem like Tony Romo and all those people going up there, you think they just went up on stage and they were good like that?

No, behind the scenes I bet you not that they had someone sit there with them, and they paid a good amount of money to learn like how to be a better broadcaster. Because that in itself is, there’s a degree for it, you have to go to school for it and all that nifty stuff. And so, it’s funny you said that. So, in regards to athletes and you working with athletes, is there anything that they can learn from maybe some other athletes that… You’ve brought a couple up, but some other athletes that may be out there right now, that they could say, “Hey, this guy’s doing it right?” Or, “This guy is tending to head the right path,” that they could learn from?

Brian Woods: So, I would say this. Without getting specific, my example’s going to be Encyclopedia Britannica, and you are way too young to understand what life was like before the internet Zach, right? But that was our knowledge base. Go to the Encyclopedia, this is amazing, we can learn anything here. And now, fast forward, we are in the information age. So, not specifically one person, I would say the strategy between Instagram and being able to reach out and connect with anyone, any time zone, and really understanding who’s got the best brand, and maybe is similar to what I’m trying to do, and what are the habits that are connecting that person that is working? I think that’s the trick behind it. It’s almost like, so you’re going to a buffet.

And this is a bad example because I normally eat everything at a buffet. But you pick and you choose, right? And in this space, and in this age, where there’s not the Encyclopedia Britannica, it’s way bigger and way better in a good way, I can do some shopping and say, “Wow, that is an amazing brand. I’ve got to reach out to that person, to that company. I’ve got to replicate what they do.” Not completely copy, but just replicate maybe either the habits, or the themes, or how they show up with their branding. So, that’s my strange answer, Encyclopedia Britannica. You can Google that.

Zach Colman: It’s kind of similar to what I said earlier when a team goes out to play another team. You have to study that team, you don’t know their playbook, you have to watch take, you have to do all that. But then the next week, you’re playing another team. Your strategy is going to be completely different based on that, and I like to tell athletes it’s very similar to your audiences and your competitors. Like, okay, you want to… You know, I had a… And I won’t say names either, but I had an athlete that I was talking to, who was creating an app for… That he said was a competitor against Uber Eats. But his partner was in solar, so he was like, “Oh, we’re going the solar model.” So they were like, “Oh, we’re going to go do this, and we’re going to have this, and we’re going to have…”

And by that I mean they’re going to do certain sales rep things. I’m like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re like the Uber Eats of this field, like, you don’t need… The solar model isn’t the direction you need to go here.” And so, I think… And that was a very broad answer, and people probably don’t understand what I mean. But long story short, you have so much information, as you said out there. And that’s kind of what we do, you probably use something very similar when you go into a company. And I call it a competitor analysis of some sort, where we kind of go through and study competitors for branding, all the marketing stuff, and all that nifty stuff. Not to copy, but to say, “Hey, what are they doing, how can we improve? If they have a different audience, how do we tailor that to our audience,” you know?

Brian Woods: Yeah, yeah. Gap analysis, right?

Zach Colman: Yeah.

Brian Woods: This is where I am, this is the gap, and this is where I want to be. That’s the vision, for sure, that’s a huge part of it. And I would also say that what you’re saying, Zach, reminds me of the Marshall Goldsmith book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. And so athletically I think about, “Oh, okay. In 7th grade everyone can make a right-handed layup, I guess unless you’re lefty right? Right hand, right hand, right hand. Now, wait a minute, now you’re telling me I have to do something completely different? And it’s ugly but it’s growth, right? And it’s like, you have success over here, we ran 42 dives. It always works, it always works, it never fails. Until it does, now you have to do something else. So, that’s what it’s like in business and athletics.

Where, “Okay, I’m so comfortable doing this. All right, for me to do the next level here, I’ve got to get uncomfortable, do something that feels terrible, but have the faith and understanding that that’s what’s going to help me grow, not staying in your comfort zone,” right?

Zach Colman: Mm-hmm. And a good example I could say from an athlete’s perspective is when you see an athlete in a certain position, and a coach tells them to move over to another position because they can see that they’re not as good at that position yet, but they can be 100 times better than the position that they’re in. And you see a lot of athletes kind of… Not the good ones or the bad ones, but you see a lot of them like, “Oh, I don’t want to do that.” But then you have other ones that are like, “I’m down for it, let’s give it a shot,” you know?

Brian Woods: Yeah, yeah.

Zach Colman: And then they end up doing great in that position. Even athletes that you see that are close to retirement, that are like… They’re like, “Oh, we’re going to move you to this position.” If he were not to move, he’d probably be retired because he’s just not working for that position anymore. From the business world, it’s very similar like you said. There’s a time to pivot, there’s a time to… And I think 2020, I think taught a lot of people a lot of stuff. And the only reason I say that I just say 2020 so everyone knows because I don’t want to get demonetized for this video. But it’s like, we recently went through, and I don’t mind talking about it because it’s part of natural growth of the business, is I hit what a lot of people call the five-year burnout, you know?

Brian Woods: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Zach Colman: We were five years in, we were doing pretty good with what we were doing, I had automation in place, I had all these systems. There were a couple of things in place that I just saw weren’t working, one was our conversion rate because of the way we were pushing this kind of service. And the other one was, I just realized it was boring, you know? I was like, “You know, I could do this and make millions and millions of dollars, like, I could.” And I’m like, “But I’m bored already, like…” And so we still do those services of course, but it’s not a highlight of what we do now. So, now we’ve pivoted, and I still… My why has been still, “Hey, I’m still going to work with athletes, but let’s do something different here.”

Like, “Athletes want to come to us? Great. But, let’s really start on helping that mental health issue early.” So, we’re starting to develop courses, and it’s funny you said Atomic Habits because we present that in one of our first courses that’s coming out.

Brian Woods: Nice.

Zach Colman: But, we’re turning much more into a branding and education company. And so, we want to help college kids learn their why early, learn that, hey, being a professional athlete isn’t your end, that’s just the beginning. Like, that’s going to help you, so let’s help you find your way now so you can find either the right degree or the right passion that can mix with that passion, and you can find something further on. So, we’re kind of doing that a little bit, that’s part of our growth process. But, just so people are aware pivoting’s normal. I mean, you see a lot of companies having to do it time and time again. And so, you have to look at the pivot from a mindset perspective, are you failing in… Did you fail? Probably yes, a little bit you did.

Because if not, you wouldn’t have to take this pivot. But those learning examples, as you said, are what is going to help you make it to the next level. Who cares if it’s two years, who cares if it’s 20, who cares if it’s five, you know? It comes when it comes, but that’s how you’re going to get to the next stage. I would have never pivoted the way I have if it wasn’t for realizing-

Brian Woods: Everything went virtual, everything went virtual right?

Zach Colman: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brian Woods: It changed the whole game, for sure. It’s interesting because you talk about these things, and it makes perfect sense. And one thing that shows up for me, Zach, is just if you’re playing too conservative in business, or on the field right? If you never get a penalty you’re probably playing it too safe, so that’s not good enough. Same thing with business, right? You’ve got to take chances, you’ve got to pivot, you’ve got to do something different. And then the other thing is passion, if you really are not excited and waking up like you at 3:00 in the morning and thinking through stuff, then maybe you’re not doing the right thing. And someone told me about the why, and that’s connected to passion. Someone talked about asking yourself if no one were paying you any attention and no one was paying you any money, what would you do?

And that can help you understand often what you’re passionate about, right? Now you can make a living in that space? Oh, that’s a pretty good place to be. And then the other thing, and ironically that’s pretty close to your organization, is creativity. You’ve got to figure… There’s a way to make it work, you just have to get creative, and find it, and innovate, and not just stay in almost like that victim mode, if you will.

Zach Colman: Yeah, the victim mode. And it is hard like you said. It’s hard to get out of the victim mode. And it’s funny you say that because I’ve read… I have a couple of books up here that I’ve read, and Scaling Up is a good one. But the reason I’m going about that is that there are certain spectrums in business very much like a team. You always have a quarterback, right?

Brian Woods: Mm-hmm.

Zach Colman: Of course, there is a couple of placement without the quarterback, but for the most part you always have a quarterback on the field, you always have a wide receiver, and you always need a golf club of some sort to hit a golf ball, you know? So you always have certain structures in place, and it’s just finding your way to gain that knowledge, and then being creative around how you could take that based structure, and how you can transfer it to good. I think back to your conversation earlier about athlete strokes, they want to do it all themselves, is I think a hard time… Not just athletes have, but business owners have is expenses in general. Like, they don’t realize how much money it costs to bring value to people.

And I think even end users don’t understand as much, like, “Oh, he made this video, and he did this, and he just wants a sale.” It’s like, “I’m paid two, $3,000 worth of my team’s time to create that video for you.”

Brian Woods: Right, right, like, yeah, good point. There’s also the clarity too, right? Like, I know athletes, and I know we’ve had discussions about this. Athletes and business owners both will show up without that clarity. We’ll stay in the athletic space, and so when you ask, “Well, what do you want to do, what’s your vision, what’s your why, what would you like to do?” And it could be really good intentions, “I want to help people, I want to help kids.” Like, what does that mean? You’ve got to keep digging and digging. “Oh, what does that mean? Oh, you want to help kids at risk in the age of 7th to 9th grade with mathematics skills,” or whatever the case may be, you’ve got to keep digging. And sometimes we stop, and we just… And it’s not lazy, it’s just that we just don’t know.

Like the example you talked about, someone goes down that path of being an announcer. I didn’t know, “What am I supposed to do after I play? I guess I’ll be an announcer, I guess I’ll be a coach.” Like, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I’m just going to kind of follow the crowd,” as opposed to taking a step back and really investing time, maybe an atomic habit, in understanding what you’re really, really passionate about, and then making a strategic plan, gaining clarity to get there.

Zach Colman: Yeah, I actually did another podcast before this with an athlete who is creating an app-

Brian Woods: Wait a minute, I’m not the only guest on this show? What’s going on?

Zach Colman: I should have been a devil, I should have been a devil right? And he was telling me something very similar to you, where he was talking about when he found out his transition was done he… When he was at that transitioning point he set out a five-year plan, and we were talking about how hard it was for him to… How hard it must have been for him to sit down and be like, “I need to come up with this plan.” And then two years later he was a valet, and we were talking about, “Hey, if you didn’t have your why, and know that in five years, 10 years, “I want to be doing this, this is my passion,” you would have been struggling to be a valet. But the fact that you came up with this plan and you had your way, you knew being a valet was…

For his instance, was because he wanted to be around some of the higher elites that needed their cars. So, he knew at that point that it was part of his goal, you know? And I think that that’s something that, really trying to push on these athletes is what you just said, is why, and like you want to work with kids? Great, and there’s nothing wrong with… I like to use this analogy all the time because we had a client a couple of years ago that wanted to be a veterinarian, an athlete, a veterinarian. And I’m like, “Okay, that’s great.” And so they were becoming professional, they still had… They got their degree, they became a veterinarian, but they went on to become professionals. And there’s nothing wrong with that why, you know?

The steps to get to that why shifting, and so it was like, “Hey, well, maybe in two, three years you don’t want to be a veterinarian anymore. But you still want to work with animals,” as you said. But their main goal is really, “I want to work with animals,” and stuff. So then they open a foundation, or they open a nonprofit to help endangered species, or there’s a plethora of different ways you can go about it. But it goes back to what you said about finding you why, and then like me as I told you, we loved working with athletes. And that was just, that what we were doing wasn’t working. And so, I’m still able to hit my why with helping athletes, but doing it in a different way.

Brian Woods: Wow, yeah, that’s awesome. Zach, it’s also ironic, this contradiction of what athletes experience. And what I mean by that is, when they’re… During their playing days, this is when you eat, this is what you eat, this is the time to lift weights, and now you have to watch a film, and now it’s sprints. Like, everything is so structured. And now what? Now when that phase of your world is over, you don’t have that kind of structure in terms of the next five years. Then it really just magnifies the confusion and the anxiety, right? You can just imagine, “I’ve been in this space for X amount of years, and I’ve always had this structure, this itinerary, this agenda.” And now it’s like, “Okay, now I’ve got to figure it all out by myself? What am I supposed to eat?”

And that’s why a lot of people will head down, and I know you’re a fitness guy also. Zach, they’ll head down the path of just mailing it in in terms of their health and wellness and energy, and then things can spiral from there. So again, back to the habits that we were talking about.

Zach Colman: It’s true, it’s true. And that’s one of the reasons I got into this field because I saw such a connection between business and mental health, and finding something that’s in your control, is really what it comes… Because business, the difference… Being an athlete is actually very similar to having a job. Because it somewhat is, but they’re more freelancers, but that’s a different story. Is that you know, they have this regiment and this routine, and when they have a job they somewhat have this regiment and routine that they can nail down as well. I remember when I was in the corporate world, I was able to make my lunch every morning, I was ready. I was going there, I knew when I was going to eat my snacks and my lunch, I knew what time I was going to go to the gym.

And now it’s like like you said with the food it’s like I have two children, I’m trying to run this business, and we have to do podcasts, we have to do prospect calls. Like, everything we have to do at different times, you know? To [inaudible 00:43:40] for everyone else’s schedules, and so-

Brian Woods: But you get to, you get to do a podcast, right? You don’t have to, you get to, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Zach Colman: Yeah, I get to do podcasts. Yeah, I don’t have to, I get to do podcasts, yeah. Going back to what you said earlier, the habit shift, was a good call. But it’s finding those things that are in your control, and somewhat that is in your control. You do have control over going to the gym, you do have control over finding an hour, or saying, “Hey, I’m going to watch what I eat,” or, “I’m going to do this.” And those little things are like the habits you were mentioning, where it’s like, “These are going to help me start small, start with the food, and then start with that.” And then a lot of those, I’ve seen a couple of athletes here, one in particular in Scottsdale. He has a gym now, and he’s pretty successful with his gym. And it just goes to show you, you get your mind and you just shift it, you know? Shift it to something that you-

Brian Woods: And even something that’s small, like to your point with the nutrition. Instead of having that soda, I’m going to have water, right? Over time, that’s that 3.5 degrees that we’re talking about with Atomic Habits. That changes the game, so we’ve got to do that. And I would say we also… It’s important to give ourselves grace and bounce back. So, I could seriously crush an entire pizza pretty easily, right? True story. That’s not the end of the world, not the healthiest thing, not the end of the world though. Now, if I do that for seven or eight days straight, that’s a problem. So once again, a lot of people will say, “Oh, well I had that piece of candy, I might as well just have three chocolate bars.” Wait a minute, give yourself some grace, get back in the mix, get back in the mix and get those habits going again, and start over.

Zach Colman: This is from the guy that said he goes to a buffet and eats everything at the buffet.

Brian Woods: That hurt. Are we recording this, is this on… Can we edit this?

Zach Colman: No, I do the same thing. I always have to have a little bit of every… I used to love buffets, man. I used to go a lot back in the day, that was my thing. And now I’m older, and I have to watch my [inaudible 00:45:51]. But like what you said, I had body dysmorphia too. Like, once you get to a certain point where I was working out six days a week, you eat that pizza and you’re like, “Uh, why did I do that?” But now it’s like, I know like, “Hey, life isn’t perfect, and what is in control for me right now, what makes me feel better is knowing that not everything is in my control, knowing that hey, if I can’t go to the gym today because I have to take care of my children, then that’s okay. If we want to have a cheat night here and there and say, “Let’s go out with the family and get a pizza,” I’m spending time with my family and it happens.

We don’t make it regular, we try not to make it regular. But it goes back to what you said, it’s very similar to that. So, we could probably talk about all this stuff all day. So, why don’t you go in a little bit into your… Into Mars Coaching, and you can tell everyone how you can help athletes and CEOs with what they do.

Brian Woods: Sure. So, anything connected to having an advisor, professional coaching, training at an organizational level, so that’s virtual training, that’s in-person training, that’s instructional design. I have the tools and the resources with facilitators and systems, learning management system, to be able to help shift the culture of any organization, and really support… And I think this is why we’re really aligned, Zach, for the world of athletes. Whether it’s teams, professional teams, or individual athletes, do not show up as a fan, right? I have a ton of respect for the discipline and the talent, and some of the things that I work at really hard at Mars Coaching is maintaining the reputation of not being a fan.

I would rather not be in your circle than to tell you something that I think you want to hear, I would rather not be in the mix than to be that guy who says, “Hey, I want to get a selfie,” or, “Hey, can you let me just… Can I get a loan?” And I think that athletes are surrounded by people throughout the course of their lives, where people want something from them, and that’s the opposite of what I am and how I operate. I’m really interested in impact, and that impact involves me helping you get to be as good as you can possibly be so you can serve others. So, that’s at an organizational level, with a for-profit, a non-for-profit, in the world of athletics or beyond, that’s what I can do to support you. And it’s been an honor to be on this journey, Zach.

Interview Outro

Zach Colman: It is, and back to what you said it… I agree with you 100%, going in as not a fan. I mean, that’s what I tend to try to do too. Because you know, sometimes athletes have some things they need to hear, you know? And they just don’t know, and you need to tell them straight up like, “Hey, you need to work on this,” or, “This is something that we need to work on,” you know? And if you come in as a fan, that’s not going to happen.

Brian Woods: The best coaches that we’ve had, they were probably tough on our… At the moment I didn’t realize it, but now I looked back and I was like, “He was right, she knew what she was talking about.” So you want to be that guy, and that’s why, again, I think we’re aligned. Because it’s not for this moment, I’m really supporting you and the next… The best version of you down the road, that’s what we’re shooting for, so…

Zach Colman: Beautiful. Well, I appreciate having you on. Again, we could probably talk about this forever. I’ll throw all your comments and stuff, the link to your website, your LinkedIn, and everything in the comments when I publish this. Again, it’s always a pleasure to have you on, Brian, and I-

Brian Woods: It’s an honor.

Zach Colman: … look forward to… We’ll see each other again, we see each other… We randomly run into each other here and there at some events, so we’ll see each other soon.

Brian Woods: Sounds really good. Thank you, and keep doing great things. I love the way you show up Zach, and you’re making a big difference out there in the community with athletes and organizations. So, keep up the great work, and thanks so much, I appreciate it.

Zach Colman: Take care, appreciate it.

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