Through out my professional life I learned that by asking questions(especially the right ones) one can learn a lot. This article series focuses on interesting people within my network. This segment is about Joe Gaspard who transitioned from a military career to become a successful performance coach.
Joe Gaspard, a military veteran of the Iraq war, served with the 101st Airborne’s Combat Aviation Brigade. He is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist. He also holds a degree in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu and has traveled the world as a private chef.
Joe, first thanks for your service. So you were a Screaming Eagle just like Jimi Hendrixx?
Yeah, just the same. Although we served a few years apart.
I assume Jimi Hendrix was a better guitar player, but you must have learned some important life lessons from your time in the military. What were some?
Some of the most important lessons I learned in the Army were the most basic. Be 15 minutes early for EVERYTHING! I am still Mr.Punctual to this day. Some of my other favorites are simple yet often overlooked by the civilian world. The ability to manage chaos for example.
In the military no matter what your job is you are expected to be able to do it even when the world is literally exploding all around you. If you can learn this skill you can manage anything life throws your way. The other favorite skill the Army taught me was how to practice. It sounds strange put there is a proper procedure for just about everything you do in the military and if you just sit down and practice them you can master virtually any task no matter how complex it is.
What motivated you to build a highly successful career around performance coaching?
While serving in Iraq I suffered my second collapsed lung. This ended my Army career but launched a new one in the fitness industry. As I climbed the ranks in fitness I began to work with very high performers such as pro athletes, CEOs and celebrities. I noticed and learned through studying them that they brought a certain mindset to everything that they did. It was the one thing that made them all ultra-successful. Once I understood this my own success took off like a rocket. It was like someone turned on a light switch for me and my whole life began to change. I knew I had to teach others how to think and act this way.
Are there certain types of individuals that you have specialized in coaching over the years?
More than anything else I like to educate my clients so that they can walk away from me a self-sustain their new skills forever. So the people who benefit the most from this type of training are ambitious, motivated self-starters who just need some guidance to get them going in the right direction.
How do you define performance coaching?
Performance coaching is about learning to be your best no matter what life throws at you. It’s like an athlete that steps out onto the field. They know they have practiced and prepared and no matter what the other team does they will have an answer and even if all hell breaks loose they will have the skills, knowledge, and ability to handle the situation.
Is performance coaching something that professional salespeople can benefit from?
Absolutely! Salespeople often benefit the most from performance coaching.
Why is that?
Salespeople are their own micro company. They are solely responsible for their income. Even in a large company if a salesperson drops the ball or has a bad day or week there is no one there to cover them. As a salesperson, you are your own business and your own economy and learning the art and science of performing at the top of your game every day is what sets good and great salespeople apart; and what makes the difference in those commission checks!
Also, sales professionals have to deal with a lot of chaos, adhere to deadlines, manage timelines, gather intelligence about their competition, and be rather fearless.
What benefits can sales professionals receive from performance training?
Performance coaching is about making a constant and consistent improvement. If you remember what it was like to make your first sales call and how nerve-racking it was versus how you handle a sales call five or ten years later the difference is vast because you as a salesperson got better at the skills necessary to close a sale. If you want to close more sales you simply have to learn the mental and physical skills required to do so. This is where performance coaching comes in.
Are there actions a sales professional needs to take to acquire such habits and put them to productive use? And what are they?
The number one thing I work on with my clients is focus. In the digital age, it is easier than ever to let tasks pile up, get interrupted by phone calls and text messages or get lost in our social media feeds. Our modern brains are addicted to these little distractions and the dopamine hits that come with them. It’s a Pavlovian response to the bell or the phone vibrating. So you have to be able to not only physically shut out these distractions but be able to shut out the mental distraction they cause through the “addiction” as well.
What books or publications would you recommend for a sales professional who wants to develop habits that increase performance?
I love “Turning Pro” by Steven Pressfield. It sheds light on the difference between what we think is our best work and what our best work really looks like. I recommend it to virtually everyone I meet.
Are there any interesting projects you are working on?
Right now I am just finishing up my second book “Mindset Mastery: How to beat the odds and achieve the Impossible”
What was your first book about?
My first book was “The Habitual Man: How to Be the Man, Be the Boss and Get the Girl.” It was a book written for men on relationships. I would love to say it was about how to have a great relationship but it was more of a cautionary tale of “here is what I did to screw it all up, now you go do the opposite”
How can you be contacted so folks can learn more?
The best way to reach me is via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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