If you dive deep into the careers of some of the world’s greatest athletes, the one consistent theme you will find among all of them is that they never sit still, and they are never satisfied with their accomplishments of the past. They are continually looking to the future.
Elite athletes are always looking for ways to improve, and in their quest, many turn to personal coaches to help them be even better than they already are. Surprisingly, many of these athletes are open to coaching from non-traditional sources to give them an edge.
What do Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, Nick Faldo, Michael Jordan, Russell Wilson, Shaq, Russell Wilson, Aaron Judge, and Karl Anthony Towns have in common?
They all use or have used mental health coaches to gain an edge in their careers. (Confession, I am a Tony Robbins junkie and fist-bumped him at a conference that cost me $10k to attend! – totally worth it, the conference that is.) Not content to rest on their laurels, these top athletes have turned to a non-traditional source to improve performance.
In football, top quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Tom Brady have turned to quarterback guru Tom House for years to improve their throwing mechanics. What’s surprising about Tom House is he never played quarterback. Tom House played major league baseball for several years but is best known for being a pitching coach, having mentored the likes of Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.
So why do accomplished quarterbacks like Brees and Brady turn to House, a person who has never played a game of professional football?
Much about what House coaches is based on science and applying those concepts to improving throwing mechanics to maximize efficiency to extend longevity. House must be onto something since with his help, Nolan Ryan played until the age of 46, Drew Brees recently retired at 42, and Tom Brady is still going strong at 43. By being open to new ideas from Tom House, these athletes have maximized efficiency (and, clearly, longevity).
Why do top athletes seek out coaching and mentoring? The answer can be boiled down to one or more of the following reasons:
- Make better and wiser decisions.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses.
- Gain a new perspective.
- Reset expectations.
If top athletes seek out coaches and mentors to improve performance, wouldn’t it make sense to turn to a mentor to enhance our financial paths?
Just like with athletes, investors can turn to a coach or mentor to scale and improve portfolio performance. Here’s how.
Make Better and Smarter Decisions
Why reinvent the wheel when you can work with an expert who’s been around the block? Someone with a track record of success can shave off years of headaches and thousands of dollars in trial-and-error in a new asset segment or market. Even the great Warren Buffett had a mentor in Benjamin Graham who taught him about value investing.
Identify Strengths and Weaknesses. Top athletes willing to take coaching and mentoring are open to criticism. They have the humility to recognize that they are not perfect. An investment mentor can help you identify your portfolio’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can reallocate to the most efficient uses of your investment capital. With athletes, the result is losing less and winning more. With portfolios, it’s allocating to more winners and fewer losers.
Gain a New Perspective. Investors are conditioned by society and the financial press to think there is only one way to invest. A mentor can help investors gain a new perspective – to explore alternatives they may not have considered before. Quarterbacks seeking out a pitching coach to improve mechanics is an example of the value of seeking out someone who offers a different perspective but who can improve performance. (I once worked with a hippy, mostly stoned architect, who was talented in his craft – he said, most guys say “we think outside the box”, I say “what box”. This was a perspective that was crucial to a complex 9-figure development.)
Reset Expectations. Working with a mentor can open possibilities not thought possible before. Before Drew Brees and Tom Brady, nobody thought a quarterback could play at such a high level into their 40’s (sorry, not sorry, Steve DeBerg – you were my Achilles heel in many Tecmo Super Bowl losses despite the Nigerian Nightmare). With traditional investing strategies like the 60/40 stocks: bonds allocation strategy, investors expect a particular ceiling on performance. A mentor offering alternative investment strategies can provide a whole new world of possibilities – with returns higher achievable than previously thought possible. (BTW, I had my securities licenses and previously sold stock/securities investments, and I even shook hands and met with Buffett (I have an autographed picture of us to boot), but at some point, I quit believing in it – I was 23 years old and outperforming “The Oracle of Omaha” (okay, on a percentage/yield/IRR basis and not gross dollars!) … so, I switched to becoming a real estate guy (with an admittedly light S&P holding) and have never looked back). Alternative real estate investments have blessed me and spoiled me, and buying stock in Berkshire Hathaway (again) does not have the same appeal.
Just as in sports, the value of a coach/mentor for improving performance is immeasurable.
For those who value their time and are willing to take instruction, a mentor can help you cut to the chase, accomplish your goals, and scale your portfolio quicker than on your own.
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Isaac Newton