Practice vs Playing - There’s A Difference

Tyler and I played together in PeeWee, Bantom, Jr B, Jr A and then went onto play Div 1 hockey with Tyler at RIT and then we even competed in Holland against one another.

Tyler and I played together in PeeWee, Bantom, Jr B, Jr A and then went onto play Div 1 hockey with Tyler at RIT and then we even competed in Holland against one another.

We are living in the most amazing time in history! Access to information through the internet has accelerated research, sparked the influencer economy and made the ability to learn and hone your skills extremely affordable and accessible. Let's face it, you can literally learn almost anything from your phone and free youtube videos today.

The one thing I know that has made a huge impact on my growth as an Entrepreneur is practice.  I was chatting with a good friend of mine recently Tyler Mazzei, who I played a lot of hockey with over the years. He asked me how I ended up becoming the CEO of a technology company and able to lead a growing organization. It was when he asked this question it became clear to me - I said " All it is, is practice Mazz" 

I said, “I've been leading the company for 8 years now, but during that time I've practiced enough that it feels like im like 15 years in”. It's just like when Mazz and I we were in hockey. We were never the most talented or the biggest but man did we work hard on and off the ice. I have always taken what I was trying to achieve extremely seriously and becoming an entrepreneur with those habits has made It feel quite easy.  

Since I started GetintheLoop here's a few of the ways I practice my craft: 

  • I use my weekends to learn: I have worked 90% of weekends for 8 years in a row. I use weekends to learn new things, push projects forward, go for coffee with mentors and take time to develop my personal skill sets. Most weekends,  I’ll get 10 hours of personal development and learning achieved while pushing forward key projects.  

  • Use mentors speed up growth and learning:  For 4 years straight I spoke with my mentor Mark Payne on the phone every morning at 5:30am. We talked about what I learned the day before, what we were trying to achieve today and discussed any road blocks, landmines or routes to achieve our goals quicker. Spending two hours a day with a mentor who has 30+ years of extremely relevant experience allows you to grow as an entrepreneur -  like you have never imagined. I now continue to spend an hour or so a day speaking with a variety of mentors all geared to help me better run our business. I’ve surrounded myself with mentors in finance, banking, franchising, technology and business growth. 

  • Have the courage to commit: As our company has grown significantly and I needed to understand new areas like capital markets and what growth opportunities looked like for GetintheLoop, what did I do? Moved to Toronto and live 2 blocks from Bay Street. I have networked, researched and gone for a coffee or beer with dozens upon dozens of industry leaders in Toronto to help hone my craft and become the leader our organization needs. I am still early in this development but feel as if I've learned 3 - 5 years worth of experience by throwing myself into it 100%. 

So what's the point? I believe, too many entrepreneurs are only playing games and not spending enough time practicing their craft. 95% of an Athlete's time is spent practicing in preparation for games but so many entrepreneurs run their business with 95% playing time and less than 5% of their time spent on practice.  

I want to encourage all entrepreneurs to practice their craft and over-commit to personal development to help you achieve your goals. Watch videos, listen to podcasts, network, find mentors, develop knowledge and skills that allow you to add more value and better achieve your goals as an entrepreneur. I speak a lot to our team about the compounding effect of extra effort and personal development. We have amazing young talents at GetintheLoop who inspire me by their desire to improve themselves to help us improve our organization. 

It's just math. The more you put in the more you get out.... 

As a local owner at GetintheLoop, practice has much more to do with gaining a wide understanding of the local business landscape and less about us. In my view, our local entrepreneurs need to be practicing: 

  1. Continually learning about social media and digital platforms in the space. 

  2. Learning about traditional media and who the relevant players in our country, your province and your community are. 

  3. Understanding trends in consumer buying behavior. What are consumers looking for? Our ability to understand this helps us coach our business partners on attracting those consumers. 

  4. Practice Selling - Talk to you family, your neighbours, your accountant... Everyone responds to information in a different way.  Practicing selling in a safe environment will help boost your confidence and arm you with new ways of thinking about your product.

  5. Practice networking - At an awkward social event? Hanging out with your spouses co-workers? Get out of your comfort zone and practice the soft skills of networking. Find someone that you don't know and see if you can learn what they do. Practice listening and engaging. 

  6. Know Industries: GetintheLoop’s local marketplace helps a variety of industries and companies attract customers and grow their business. Our team needs to continually develop their understanding of each industry to become a local expert in retail, dining, activities, golf, fitness, home and auto and more. Our ability to understand industries drives our ability to help make a positive impact for those companies. 

As an entrepreneur you never know what exciting opportunity, interesting challenge or extremely difficult business challenge is just around the corner. The one thing we know for sure is your ability to overcome that challenge or maximize the opportunity will be directly correlated to your experience and the amount of practice you have put in. 

If you’re running a growing business or growing your role within a company this practice is going to happen either before or after you put in 10 hrs a day of game time and pushing forward your business or role... get up early, stay up late or find focused times on weekends to make yourself a better player. 

Don't be an entrepreneur that expects tremendous success if you are not prepared to put in a tremendous amount of time and practice on the path to get there.

All the best,