Mike Boyle is a legendary strength and conditioning coach whose athlete clients include the US Women’s Olympic Soccer and Ice Hockey teams, Boston Bruins, Boston Breakers, and service on coaching staff for the World Series-winning Boston Red Sox. He’s the coach of coaches via his consulting business – a full professor of how to enhance physical performance.

At FitCon 2019, Coach Boyle pivoted from speaking about training methods to sharing what it takes to succeed as a fitness professional. What struck me was how universal his advice is for those who are in early career and launching their own enterprise.

Here’s an even more boiled down version of some already highly concentrated strong advice:

  1. Understand that aspiration requires knowing your purpose and putting it into words.
  2. Read daily and not only those with whom you agree.
  3. Get a firm grip on the idea that happiness is an attitude for your journey, not the destination.
  4. Honor your relationships and invest in making them work. Be the partner your spouse needs.
  5. Always pay it forward. Reject a scarcity approach to collaboration and sharing your ideas.
  6. “Cheat” by taking up ideas that work. Don’t reinvent. Do network and seek mentors – it’s the best way to get better at what you do faster.
  7. Don’t be in partnership with people who aren’t trustworthy.
  8. Don’t be a dick. Understand early on we are likely to be most confident when we are least competent.
  9. Remember that smart people: change their minds, use simple language, talk less and say more, and listen well.
  10. Sustain daily habits that feed your life and career: exercise, read, nap, and pause to be grateful.
  11. Recognize much of what we worry about doesn’t matter. Decide what you will not worry about, which should include those things you don’t control.
  12. Pick the right people. Be sure team members on your staff love what you’re building. Cut them loose fast if they’re arrogant or not a good fit. Explicitly teach staff and mentees what you expect.
  13. Keep your finances in order. Take a personal finance course because financial options are career freedom.
  14. Take the biggest chances when you’re young.
  15. Stay connected to your clients. Check in often to be sure you are delivering what they need to meet their goals.

If you’re not sure this connects to life as an academic biomedical researcher, read Coach Boyle’s advice again.

While we are building our science and our research groups we are small business entrepreneurs who aim to deploy our knowledge for its highest and most viable use. In some ways we may work alone but we are surrounded by others available to teach us the ropes. We need to assess our aspirations and align them with what the funding market wants while being creative, taking chances, and staying connected to what is current in our field.

Coach or scientist, the basics are basic. We can’t afford to take our eye off that ball.

Reading Suggestions from Coach Boyle:

Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words, by Kevin Hall forward by Stephen R. Covey

The Happiness Equation : Want Nothing + Do Anything=Have Everything, by Neil Pasricha

Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz

How to Not Be a Dick: Everyday Etiquette Guide, by Meghan Doherty

Seven Keys to Being a Great Coach, by Allistair McCaw

InSideOut Coaching, by Joe Ehrmann

Craving more coaching? Cruise his website: www.strengthcoach.com

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