We’ve been exploring with several clients recently the positives of a portfolio career and how to make it work well for them as so many more people are finding this a great option for them.
We talked to one of our learners James Turner who has stayed in touch with us as an affiliate Leapfrog Mountain member about his journey:
JT: That’s a tough one as there is a lot on! To start with, it would be good to talk about my full-time profession. I work at Karrek Chartered Financial Planners in Newquay, Cornwall. We provide a high-quality service to clients in the community and I find my role in the company very rewarding; I take real pride in the integrity of what we do.
My background though is as a martial artist which is my first love. I am both a competitive Kickboxer and a martial arts instructor. I am currently furthering my studies in fitness training with plans to provide personal training services in the near future.
Martial arts and fitness have always essentially been “two halves of the whole” for me, so I am passionate about both.
I have been involved in performing arts for most of my life and have worked as an actor and a singer. I have some professional performance projects this year in that regard too.
JT: I try and approach life overall with the perspective of it being one cohesive whole. I consider myself a martial artist first and foremost. I grew up idolising legendary martial artists and I was inspired to follow in their footsteps.
The way I approach tasks and obstacles in all aspects of life, I have focus and discipline that I’ve learned from the martial arts.
For example, I make sure to practice my singing every day, whether I’m in a professional musical setting, or in the car. I treat my voice like my fighting technique and my physical fitness; you use it, or you lose it.
JJ: So, James it’s clear you see the martial arts disciplines as really important to you so please tell us more about what they mean and how they fit into all your life.
JT: The martial arts have a long history of traditions. Through generations, people in various circumstances and living situations basically developed an effective way to live. An example would be the Samurai Warriors in Japan.
They lived by a code of honour. Today, the modern martial artist, if he really “gets it”, is integrated with the world he’s living in; adaptable and flexible to ever changing circumstances, but he is also integrated with those traditional values.
You are a man of your word, you respect yourself and you respect others and you always set out to achieve your goals – you have self accountancy.
I approach every day with a disciplined mindset with regards to what I want to accomplish.
You have to be adaptable to unexpected circumstances, but it’s important to keep your mission in mind. I start my day with my 5-mile run, and this is my first “victory” of the day; it sets the tone for productivity.
I set long and short terms goals, relating to whatever I’m working on at that time.
My overall mental approach is consistent. In any field, you are going to experience some setbacks. As a fighter, you have setbacks, mistakes, injuries and roadblocks.
With financial services, it’s just the same. I may aim to prepare a certain number of client information packs and I don’t, whether it’s due to circumstances out of my control, or poor planning on my part.
The important thing is that I learn from the experience. I try to learn from any setbacks and aim not to put myself in that position or make the same mistakes again. I then move forward with newly gained knowledge. An “indomitable spirit” is an important characteristic of the martial artist.
JJ: With achievement being so important here how do you deal with your feelings with any setbacks?
JT: I initially feel very disappointed because what I do means a lot to me. For example, in Kickboxing: losing fights, missing opportunities to compete due to illness or injury, or my opponents being unable to compete for the same reasons.
In these situations, I’ve recognised that my setbacks weren’t through a lack of sincerity or effort, so the positive I could take from the situation was that with my passion and desire, I knew that I would do what it took to bounce back and win my next fight.
I’ve always learnt something from any setback, in any area of my life. Little by little, I’ve learned to get rid of the worry and anxiety and look at situations logically, which is important to be able to do when it’s something you’re passionate about. In those situations, emotions are liable to take too much control if you let them, so awareness is key.
JJ: You have clearly gained great personal development and self management disciplines through your martial arts. What would you say the top three martial art disciplines are that you’ve been able to use in the world of business that may also help other business people?
Discipline – This relates to being accountable to yourself; ranging from the trivial, such as making your bed in the morning and keeping the car clean, to your important personal goals, such as obtaining a qualification or winning a competition.
Discipline “across the board” becomes a habit, and you then hold yourself to a high standard. I’ve learned from fighters, athletes and business people who are older and more experienced than me, that success is often dependant on doing things on a consistent basis that many people don’t want to do. I’ve learned that this kind of discipline over the long term is worth it’s weight in gold.
Integrity – Having a moral code means you’ll take pride in what you do. This gives you a sense of self worth and a feeling that you’re making a difference. It’s about acting as you’ve set out to, even if no one else would know.
For example, I do my early morning runs and my Kickboxing trainer wouldn’t usually know if I had or hadn’t, but it’s important to my goals that I do it, so I do. In financial services, we put clients needs first at Karrek.
Yes, any business needs to make a profit; it’s just a matter of doing it with the client’s best interests as priority. That’s not always the case in the business world, but by having integrity, you know that you’re “one of the good guys (or girls!)”, and this serves as a constant motivator to stay on track.
Care – I care about what I do, and I strive for quality. I also believe it’s important to take care of yourself so you’re able to do what you set out to do. We need to look after our minds and bodies, because we only get one of each!
That’s not selfish as it’s integral to our success. I often see driven people in the business world who will sacrifice their own health and well-being as long as they’re achieving their professional goals. However, in the sporting world, we recognise that taking care of yourself is critically important to long term success.
Business tenacity is great; it’s just that I see with some business people that they are not functioning optimally as they have unhealthy food habits, they don’t exercise, or they have poor awareness, and this means both their health and businesses suffer in the long run.
JJ: As you know James I totally agree with the principles here and interestingly as I am most certainly not from a sports background I train these principles in both our leadership and our energy work. It’s a key question to me though with all your hard work and focus as to where your off switch is here to relax?
JT: Over the past few years, I’ve paid more respect and attention to scheduled rest and recuperation to gain more benefit from the work I put in. I am still learning the best ways to do that for me personally.
I now take Sundays off from my Kickboxing training to let the muscles heal. I train six days a week in the morning and the evening and pay attention to good sleep, nutrition and rest between my workouts. It’s good and even beneficial to your goals to enjoy time with friends and family.
“Chill out” time is about moving slower and enjoying that downtime in itself to recharge.
At the end of the day, that means I run better on a Monday morning – it just took me a while to learn this the hard way!
JJ: We have both worked in family businesses so know the unique benefits and challenges that brings. What have you found especially important here to make it work?
JT: It needs managing with care in a professional environment to work well I think. Any parent likes to help their child on their way and it can be a great opportunity.
I’m lucky here in that I have a positive close relationship with both my parents in and outside work. They are great people and I was brought up in a loving supportive network and when they realised martial arts was important to me, they backed me.
I can’t say enough about my parents; they’re the best. Dad’s business ethos has been a big influence on me, alongside my martial arts influences; there are many parallels between the two. He has real pride and integrity in what he does.
I think to make it work well in a family business, it’s important to not take the opportunity afforded to you for granted. Go in with your nose to the grindstone, be polite and don’t have any preconceived notions of superiority because of your family ties; this is a poor attitude. You’re fortunate to get the opportunity, so work hard and leave your ego at the door.
JJ: So, James with all your plates spinning what are your next plans?
JT: Well with my Kickboxing I look forward to more competition, training and passing my knowledge on to others; it’s a whole lifestyle.
With Financial Services I have been working with the advisors, so they have extra tools to support clients and I want to do more of that, so right now I’m expanding my horizons significantly, and learning more skills to benefit the business, and this year will reflect that.
I’m currently studying for further fitness qualifications and I look forward to establishing a Personal Training business within the next 12-18 months.
The performing arts area of my life has both music and acting projects in the pipeline this year. I’ll schedule and prepare for each challenge thoroughly, with the hopes of gaining valuable life experience and becoming a more rounded person.
JJ: You’ve shared here some fantastic goals James. We both know how critically important it is for someone to have a sense of purpose. How would you describe yours linking to those goals?
JT: It’s ongoing in that I want to work at each area of my life as best I can. I take pride in what I do, and I get satisfaction from giving it my all.
When I’m teaching martial arts, I enjoy seeing the students adopt this positive mindset as well. It’s great to have positive influences in your life. I’m lucky that I’ve spent time with the person who inspired me to become a Kickboxer, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, who of course is a legendary World Kickboxing Champion and Action Movie Star.
This was great for me as I’ve looked up to Don as a role model since my youth. I hope to have the kind of positive influence on people that I have experienced myself. I started teaching martial arts in my teens and seeing others develop in terms of not only their skills, but also their confidence, is just so rewarding.
JJ: You have a taken part in a huge range of learning opportunities through sport, business and college. How did you find working with Leapfrog Mountain?
JT: I attended the SME Marketing course 9 months ago as I was invited by our sister company Karrek Accountants.
I thought at the time it would be great to listen to an enterprise specialist. It really resonated with me as there was a lot of respect for both modern and old, new and in-development areas, plus I enjoyed the holistic approach to life and business in respecting people.
I’m someone who cares a lot about the mental approach and overall philosophy of any training and I am a big fan of Leapfrog Mountain’s mission statement.
JJ: If anyone wants to get in touch with you where is best to find you?
JT: For financial services, it’s Karrek Chartered Financial Planners, and for accountancy services, Karrek Accountants. www.karrekfinancial.com and www.karrekaccountants.com
For martial arts, you’ll find me at Koncept Gym which is family friendly studio for kids, adults and competitors. www.konceptgym.com
My email is Jamesturnermartialartist@gmail.com
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