Back when I was running Peak Advisor Alliance, (now Carson Coaching), most of the advisors joined the coaching program because they wanted to “be like Ron.” In fact, I clearly remember an advisor asking me, “What’s the weight of the paper Ron uses for the invites he sends for his seminars?”

I said to this advisor, “The weight of the paper isn’t what made Ron successful and simply copying everything Ron does will not make you successful either.”

The only thing you can learn from other successful advisors is what made them successful.

The only way you’ll be successful is figuring out what works for you, in your market, with your skills, talents, and interests, at this specific point in time.

So no, it’s not about best practices. Best practices are merely a guide to what works for other people and are no guarantee that they will work for you.

Copying Others

Valorie Kondos Field was hired as the head coach of the UCLA women’s gymnastics team in 1990. The funny thing is, she was never a gymnast and had never even done a cartwheel. Instead, she was a dancer and ballerina who for several years was an assistant coach and choreographer for the UCLA team.

Shocked that she was asked to become the head coach, she had to learn how to be a head coach and create a culture in a sport that she never participated in. So what did she do? She looked around and began to “copy” the best coaches at the time—who came from an Eastern European, dictatorial, authoritative style with little empathy or compassion.

So, Miss Val’s coaching style leaned toward this Eastern European model and it didn’t take long for the results to come in. After two years, the results were horrible, she felt terrible, and she decided to resign.

On her way to visit her boss to resign, she happened to spot a copy of Coach John Wooden’s book They Call Me Coach. She opened it and magically landed on a page that defined Coach Wooden’s definition of success: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”

Miss Val was struck by the fact that Wooden—one of the most successful coaches of all time in any sport—didn’t mention the word “winning” in his definition.

As she writes in her book, Life is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance, “I realized I had been trying to be someone else. And I also realized that whenever you try to be someone else you will always be a second rate them and worse, you will never become a first rate you.”

She was trying to mimic the Eastern European style of coaching and that was not who she was. Instead, in that moment, she felt liberated to be who she was and to bring her unique gifts and experiences to the gymnasium.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Miss Val’s teams went on to win 7 NCAA gymnastics titles, 19 Pac-12 championships, and she won 4 national coach of the year awards.

Do You

I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to be you. Sure, we can admire and respect the success that other people have, but that doesn’t mean we should do what they do and how they do it.

Your greatest success will come from being 100% true to who you are. As Frank Sinatra sang, “I did it my way.”

Take some time and really explore what makes you—you. And then step on the gas and do more of that. At that point, you’ll experience what real success is. If you want help, you can learn more about my coaching services.

She has an incredible story to tell and you can listen to it on my latest Barron’s Advisor Actionable Intelligence show. Listen here.