Stay positive but be rational. Pushing through the tough times while keeping your team motivated is arguably one of the tougher traits to have as a leader. This comes down to knowing each person’s motivations and providing as much transparency as possible. If you stay positive but provide key information, your team is more likely to stay the course because they have faith in what you’re telling them.
As a part of my series about “Grit: The Most Overlooked Ingredient of Success” I had the pleasure of interviewing Christopher Patton.
With more than 10 years of experience in the health and wellness industry, Chris oversees the revenue focus across the Peerfit organization by building an integrated approach across marketing, sales, network development, product design, and customer service to create the best user experience. Chris holds an MBA from Florida Atlantic University’s Executive MBA Program and resides in Colorado Springs, CO.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path
I think of the book ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell, wherein some folks were just at the right place at the right time. For me, that was starting my career in the fitness and wellness industry at 20 years old with Gainesville Health & Fitness based out of Gainesville, FL. I was immediately drawn to the mission and vision of the organization along with the built-in community that was prevalent within the four walls of their club. As a young person in need of a bit of grooming in the professional industry, I received exposure and mentorship from their leadership development process, and shortly thereafter was hooked to the industry as a whole.
Can you share your story about “Grit and Success”? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
There is no doubt that determining my own path was tough for me. There was a point in my career where I was burnt out from working a few years in substance abuse & mental health, so I took a role with a company I shouldn’t have. After a few weeks, I could see the position was in no way what I was told it would be, so I made the scary decision to leave. I preferred to work for a company that better aligned with my values versus staying in a job that was “stable”. An opportunity then presented itself with Peerfit to join a team of 6 people and work a maximum of 10 hours a week with no guarantees. 5 years later, I’m in my role as Chief Revenue Officer.
I recall thinking that, worst case scenario, in a few years I may be on the hunt for a new job but I’ll have more experience to work with as well as the fact that I know I gave it a shot. Luckily my girlfriend, now wife, was very supportive and agreed it would all work out in the long run.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
My problems are but a fraction of what some others face day-to-day. Having the perspective of being a person that has been gifted with a very comfortable life, it’s a waste of time, in my opinion, to focus on the negative. I will always take time to process whatever was “hard” about the situation but then it’s time to learn from it and move on.
So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?
An element of grit that I think of is the ability to take the bad with the good. Everyone has their ups and downs but too often we let it define us or drag us down emotionally. Learning that the path to success is subjective and will have bumps along the way mentally prepared me for the good and bad days to come.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit? (Please share a story or example for each)
- You are who you hang out with. I’ve chosen over the last 7 years of my life to make sure the people I surround myself with are better than me in ways where I can learn and improve. This could be in their careers, how they handle themselves, physical fitness, etc. Inevitably this forces me to level up.
- Stay positive but be rational. Pushing through the tough times while keeping your team motivated is arguably one of the tougher traits to have as a leader. This comes down to knowing each person’s motivations and providing as much transparency as possible. If you stay positive but provide key information, your team is more likely to stay the course because they have faith in what you’re telling them.
- You get what you give. It could be feedback to others that they need to hear. It could be volunteering. It could be offering to assist someone with a project. Simply offering to help and expecting nothing in return pays dividends in immeasurable ways if you’re in a leadership role or in any sort of relationship.
- Get over it. You shouldn’t ignore your failures or screw ups but you should learn from them and then move on. Being open and seeking feedback about situations that didn’t go your way is something that will set you apart vs. placing blame on others or even realizing you made a mistake and becoming fixated on it.
- See the forest through the trees. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day minutia of one’s role and not realize what you’ve accomplished along the way. I have to remind myself to celebrate the wins along the way as it allows me to see progress is happening.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
Early in my career I was in a leadership role while still in college. I was doing well at work but my boss, Shawn Stewart, kept it real with me that I needed to get my sh*t together outside of work. Albeit, I was a young guy partying too much alongside my peers, he understandably expected more out of me and it helped me go towards a path of a healthier lifestyle both in and out of work.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Working for and building companies that produce healthy outcomes is high-level passion. Also, my hope is that I’ve been able to help individuals that have worked on my teams in their development in a way that is lasting and has put them on a path to whatever success is in their eyes.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We’ve established three north star goals for our company and corresponding working groups made up of individuals from a variety of departments for each goal. I have had the opportunity to lead one of these north star groups and seeing the collaboration amongst the company as well as the mindset shift towards everyone getting aligned on our direction has been exciting to see. The outcomes will provide better experiences for our users and clients which means more engagement with physical activity.
What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Don’t give them all the answers to the challenges they may be facing. I had a great boss and mentor who, when approached with a question on how to handle a situation, would turn it back on you to figure it out. This may create more work for you on the front end but when you’re building a team, giving them the ability and the leeway of coming to and making decisions on their own will grow them into leaders themselves. Managers who harbor all the knowledge vs. sharing it at every opportunity possible, may be more worried about being replaced rather than trying to build the next group of leaders and strong team members.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
More physical activity! Everyone knows at this point it’s important to live a healthy life. What motivates me to stay healthy is being at peak performance for other things in my life, whether it’s cognitively at work or out hiking with my wife. Living a healthier life would have positive downstream effects on your loved ones and on your overall mental health.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
We all live in our own reality. What this means to me and how it helps is when dealing with conflict. We’ve all been raised in different ways with different life events which has made us who we are. Being able to understand another person’s “reality” or point of view can make us better leaders and team members. At the end of the day, you may not always be able to find a middle ground because a decision may still need to be made, but by taking the time to hear, learn, and understand a variety of point of views will give you a wider playing field.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.