By Craig Hysell
Each craft has its tools and each craftsman has his or her “toolbox”.
Years ago I asked a friend of mine who owns an extremely successful action sports clothing line for some advice on how to build a better coaching business over time.
“Do you have a war chest?” he asked.
War chest? Man, THAT sounded COOL! I totally want a war chest! But I shook my head no. I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about. “What’s a war chest,” I asked.
“A war chest is where you collect the things you like, the things that FIT you, the things you can use… or the things you MIGHT use later. It’s your collection of ideas, tactics, tools and experiences that you carry toward the fight with you.”
I didn’t fully understand this seven years ago (I was too new to business), but I vaguely grasped the principle behind what he was saying: If I’m going into a fight, I want to HAVE what I need instead of needing what I wish I had.
How does this relate to you?
YOU are a craftsman. A war chest is a toolbox. What’s in YOUR toolbox? Are you developing your toolbox? Are you refining it?
Many of us start with the same tools: We have similar mindsets (I can do this), similar passions (I want to help people) and similar methods (our education and certifications).
Put with practical application and ACTION, we begin to create our own personal war chests.
The folly is to think our way is the best way, that there is only one way, that we have come far enough and can stop, or to try to carry everything we possibly can in our war chest. (Start listening at 0:12:30 if you click the link.)
See, every craftsman experiments, but what separates the craftsman’s experiences from others is this: when the experiment fails it is OKAY to the craftsman/operator/artist because we have LEARNED . Learning what NOT to do is a PART of learning what TO do.
And with this mindset two things happen: the war chest expands AND simplifies at the same time. It becomes highly effective with the more time and discipline that we use it. There is no wasted space. It is refined again and again and again.
Methods are explored over and over again and, EVENTUALLY, refined.
Experiences collect, wisdom accrues, and we can look at situations and say, “Yes, I like this piece so I will keep it,” or “No way, here are the problems that will come if we operate in this manner.” Our product, and our production of it, get better and better and better.
We travel: literally (to places, symposiums, gatherings or Summits) or in books and on The Google and explore things not only inside our industry but outside it.
We collect what we feel can be useful to us in our mission to make lives better. We experiment with it. We throw our what didn’t work or maybe put it down and try again in another circumstance.
Here’s the thing, your war chest is based on intuition, awareness, humility, gratitude and acumen. It is the constant culmination of your experiences as a coach or a business owner or a mother or a father or a friend or whatever. (And, most likely, it is a combination of all aspects of your life, not just your professional one.)
Each war chest is particular to the individual yet holds basic foundational/functional principles. (Example: When we deadlift, we lift with our legs first and our back flat. HOWEVER, the individual’s anthropometry means the set-up is nuanced for the individual and how you get the client to the optimum level of performance is personalized.)
Your war chest is not a blueprint, it is a practical guide to success. There is no ONE blueprint… we build people and businesses, not houses or cars.
And as you progress some tools you will utilize more than others. This is FINE and EXPECTED! You will come to realize your strengths and where you enjoy having the most impact.
This is you becoming a craftsman! Artists, soldiers, executives, tradespeople, etc all have specialties. Coaches and entrepreneurs are no different.
What’s in your war chest? More importantly, why is it there? Review, explore, and evolve. Hugs.