What I Learned from Warren Buffett about Wellness

In addition to his reputation as the “Oracle of Omaha” and the “World’s Greatest Investor,” Warren Buffett is quite well known for his love of hamburgers, Coke (owning over 9% of Coca-Cola), candy (owning See’s Candies in full) and many other personal habits that might not be at the top of the list when it comes to wellness pursuits.  This past weekend, I had the unique opportunity to spend the weekend in Omaha, NE at Buffett’s (Berkshire Hathaway) annual meeting, and his wisdom is actually quite beneficial to wellness coaches who are looking to enhance their careers.

Here are a few tidbits from Mr. Buffett and his long-time business partner Charlie Munger:

“We’ve been doing it now for 49 years, so people trust us” (Buffett)–  Initially, Buffett didn’t have this advantage.  He initially worked with friends, family members and utilized his own personal funds to build a track record worthy of that trust.  Now, 49 years later, if he sneezes, people want to know what type of tissue he chose.  If you’re just getting started as a wellness coach, you may not be able to depend on your track record (yet) to build your business.  Eventually you will, but in the mean time…

  • Start with “Friends & Family.”  Don’t provide your services for free, but you may consider a short-term discount (and request a testimonial if all goes well).  The key is to build a track record over time that will create that trust among people who don’t already know you.
  • Tap into the credibility of those around you.  For example, in earning your CWC certification, you’re able to now note the credibility of the organization through whom you earn that certification, as well as their various accreditations and history.
  • In the wellness arena, sometimes your best credibility comes in the form of… you!  That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect or some amazing athlete.  But it does mean we need to make an effort to consistently walk the talk in terms of wellness pursuits.

“Scrambling out of our mistakes is one of the keys to our success” (Munger)–  Berkshire Hathaway isn’t perfect, and neither are any of us.  However, when we do make a mistake, it’s critical to recognize it, admit it, and then set up systems to insure those mistakes aren’t repeated.  As a wellness coach, what are some of the mistakes that have negatively impacted your business?  Are you immediately scrambling out of them so they don’t continually bring you – and your business – down?

“It’s important to recognize your circle of competence and focus within that circle” (Buffett) – Berkshire has made a habit of not investing in technology companies, because Buffett doesn’t feel comfortable making reasonable and accurate estimates about their true value.  Has that hurt his returns during certain periods? Absolutely.  However, he knows that isn’t within his circle of competence and so it’s off the list.  As a wellness professional, you have certain areas that are within your circle of competence and others that are not.  It’s a VERY broad field.  Rather than faking it, stay the course in providing what you know well and while your short-term results may suffer, your long-term outcomes are likely to be quite solid.

“Find something that interests you and ask a lot of questions” (Buffett – when asked how to become an entrepreneur in 2014)– Most of the individuals reading this blog post are current or future coaching entrepreneurs.  Buffett’s advice to you is succinct, straight-forward and likely exactly what you’re already doing as a health and wellness coach.  It’s probably what put you on this path in the beginning!

Buffett is 83 and Munger is 90.  Both are sharp as tacks. The brain is a muscle, and we either use it or we lose it.  These two gentlemen clearly stretch and exercise their mental capacities to the limit on a regular basis and continue to reap the rewards.  They may be good examples (at least in this area) for us – and maybe some of our clients…

“The best way to get a good partner is to deserve a good partner” (Munger)– While you may not be looking for a business partner, you are looking for clients.  While there are exceptions, more often than not, we get the partners we deserve (not only in marriage but in life).  Be the type of person you’re looking to attract.

“It’s very difficult to ‘fix’ people with the wrong parents.  Financial education starts with the example set by the parents” (Munger)– Obviously we could easily replace the word “Financial” with “Health/Wellness” and the statement would be quite accurate.  As a wellness coach, this statement can be utilized as a reminder of the importance to purposely break habits set growing up as well as the incredible impact you are providing generations of people who seek you out as clients (and their families).

As a wellness coach, you can learn from a wide range of potential teachers. Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger probably wouldn’t make the “top 10” list for many wellness professionals, but their wisdom extends far beyond finances…

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