Meet Zach and Julie Ertz. Zach is a Super Bowl LII champion and NFL Pro Bowler, and Julie is an Olympian and two-time World Cup champion for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.
What makes a person—or, in many cases, a couple—successful in a demanding job? Whether you’re a pro athlete or a pro in the home services industry, there are certain qualities that can help you succeed.
Zach and Julie joined us for Jobber Professional Development Day 2021 to talk about eight of these qualities and how they experienced those traits while competing in their respective sports.
Do you have these characteristics of an entrepreneur?
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These are the top qualities of a successful entrepreneur
Intention is your ability to plan for the future. When you have work to do (and you always do), it’s hard to see the big picture every day.
That’s why it’s so useful to have something to aim for. Zach and Julie set their goals as high as possible, then break down each goal into a set of smaller goals.
This allows them to focus on daily tasks and milestones to help them reach their goals. If they aren’t hitting their milestones on time, they simply adjust their to-do list and keep going.
Intention-setting is a learning process. It gets better the longer you do it, and you’ll become more skilled at identifying individual steps and knowing how long they’ll take to finish. You can do this on your own or as a team.
“You’re never going to be perfect. You’re never going to be finished as a player. You’re always going to find ways to get better. After every season, [I ask myself] what are my goals to be a better player next year than I was this year?”
Other people will always have something to say about you during your successes and your failures. Staying the same person through these highs and lows shows humility.
Remember, your identity doesn’t come from how well you perform. It comes from who you are, what’s most important to you, and how far you’ll go to achieve it.
You can talk about yourself and what you do well, but you aren’t immune to failure. Zach and Julie try to maintain that attitude and use it to get better every day.
“If you buy into how good people are telling you that you are, you’re going to become complacent. Being humble and understanding your identity isn’t going to come from how well you’re performing. Try to get better every day with that attitude.”
Taking responsibility for your actions goes hand-in-hand with humility. When things go wrong or a project doesn’t go as planned, it’s easy to blame someone else or make excuses.
But accountability is one of the top qualities of successful entrepreneurs and respected leaders. You can’t fix a mistake unless you understand it, and you can’t understand it unless you acknowledge it.
No matter how or why it happened, owning up to your mistakes creates a learning opportunity. Be honest with yourself about the experience and figure out how to grow from it.
Your team will respect you for it, and you’ll respect yourself more, too.
“It’s so easy to blame or make excuses. Say, ‘Here’s where I fell short,’ or ‘That play was my fault.’ That allows you to earn respect from understanding that.”
4. Willingness to Learn
No one enters the service industry and becomes an overnight success. It takes time to see results, effort to make the work happen, and plenty of willingness to learn.
If you see someone else doing well, try not to feel jealous of them. Instead, take the opportunity to learn from them. Remember, it’s about community, not competition.
There’s value in this experience. You just need to find it. And you might even find a mentor relationship with that person in the process.
“Philadelphia had another great tight end. I would say, ‘I think I’m better than this guy.’ But instead of being narrow-minded, I took the opportunity to learn from him. He’s been a great mentor to me. In those situations, how are you going to look at that opportunity?”
In business and in sports, the game is always changing. There’s so much pressure to keep up. Your inner drive keeps you moving forward and chasing goals, even when it gets hard.
This drive comes from knowing there are obstacles and deciding to keep going anyway. Other people can encourage you, but you’re the only person who decides what you can and can’t do.
Julie lives by the saying, “Believe in yourself so much that everybody else can’t help but believe in you, too.” With enough inner drive, you can do anything you put your mind to.
“You have a battle of the external and your internal drive. So many times we let the external dictate our choice. Your mind [determines] what you can and cannot do. It’s really just a choice.”
Resiliency is how you face and overcome setbacks, both in life and in your career. Pro athletes face adversity every day, like a new game, a new opponent, or a new injury.
As an entrepreneur, you’re facing troubles of your own, especially during a pandemic. Supplies are low but costs are up. You’re short on labour, and you’re having to turn down new work to keep yourself and your team safe.
Setbacks are one of the few certainties in the life of an entrepreneur. Resiliency may be the most important characteristic of entrepreneurs who survive and succeed.
When you hit a setback, don’t dwell on it. You can’t change what happened. But you can decide if you’re going to carry that problem into the next job, or if you’re going to learn from it and move forward instead.
“After the Olympics in 2016, where we lost, I was benched. I started asking a lot of questions. Where is my career going? How do I accelerate?
“That was a moment in my career where I could either face the adversity head-on and push myself through, or just accept the negative side of that. I decided to keep going.”
ADAPT AND OVERCOME: Find out how COVID-19 shifted the home service industry in 2020
What do you do in a challenging situation? Do you close yourself off and try to get through it alone? Or do you lean on others to help build you back up?
You might work side-by-side with your spouse to run the business. Or it might be just you, with your partner or your team supporting you from a distance.
Either way, remember—you have people to help you through the good times and the bad. Put effort into those relationships so you have the support you need to keep going.
“I have a great group of guys in my life, not only on the field, but in my faith, keeping me being a good husband, and continually building me up.
“Surround yourself with people that truly care about you as an individual, not you as the successful entrepreneur or athlete.”
Waiting for your ideal future can be hard, especially when you have to go through difficulty and sacrifice first. That’s where patience comes in.
Your career is just one chapter of your life, and it won’t last forever. Be patient and remember that the future you want is coming. It’s just going to take a little time to get here.
So instead of calling it a sacrifice, think of it as an investment. Everything you’re doing now is investing in the future and will help you become the best version of yourself.
“We can’t wait for that day when we can be a ‘normal couple,’ but we’re not looking at it like we’re giving up so much. Everything we’re doing right now is being the best version of ourselves in this season of our life.
“When we’re done with it, we can say, ‘I loved what happened, I wouldn’t change anything, and now I can move on to that next chapter.’”
What do you think of these entrepreneur qualities?
These qualities of successful entrepreneurs won’t always come easy. You’ll have to work at them every day. After all, both Zach and Julie do, too.
But give yourself grace and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Every setback is a chance to grow. Notice these opportunities, no matter how big or small they are, and grab onto them.
Times are hard right now, but something great is coming. Just wait and see.
Thank you to our event sponsor Visa for inviting Zach and Julie Ertz to speak at Jobber PD Day 2021 as our closing keynote.
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