Team-Building and the Other Qualities Instilled During Collegiate and Professional Sports Career
There is an interesting phenomenon that tends to occur at the highest levels of competitive athletics, especially when the interest in a specific team (or individual player) is so great that the public has the opportunity to closely follow the team’s performance over an extended period of time.
Even though the overwhelming majority of spectators never personally interact with the athletes they observe, it’s still quite common for spectators to draw conclusions about the nature of each athlete’s character, including outside of the realm of athletics. This phenomenon is not at all surprising to Jon Palmieri, an All-American at Wake Forest University who went on to serve as both a player (with the organizations of both the Expos and Angels) and coach (with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and the Chatham A’s of the famed Cape Cod League) in baseball’s professional ranks.
As Palmieri explained in a recent interview, athletic competition is an especially revealing endeavor: There is a great deal you can learn about a person’s values and character just by observing their approach to the sport. Jon Palmieri also pointed out that, during any sporting event, athletes offer clues about certain aspects of their character, including their commitment to preparation; their willingness to accept constructive criticism; their attitude in the face of chaos; and their ability to place trust in those around them.
Now a financial advisor who specializes in working with small businesses, the Long Island-based Palmieri has long asserted that the qualities instilled in him during his time as a collegiate and professional athlete — qualities that were only further reinforced after he moved into a coaching role — have proved instrumental in his own professional success as well as the success of the small businesses he now advises.
During our interview with Palmieri, the Wake Forest graduate and business finance advisor further elaborated on the complexities of transitioning to a career in finance as well as the value of leadership, team-building, and the other qualities that enabled his success while competing against some of the very best athletes in the world.
Was there anything that inspired you to focus on small businesses in particular in your current role as a financial advisor?
Oh, absolutely. I think it is just fascinating how small businesses take on a sort of collective identity that draws on the best qualities of each member of the organization. With my experience as a player and coach, I felt an immediate sense of familiarity when working with small businesses because I have a clear understanding of the challenges that come with balancing organizational goals while also making sure individual team members feel like they’re properly valued and have the opportunity to grow.
Do you think your experience as a player and coach in both the collegiate and professional ranks eased your transition to your career as a financial advisor?
In certain ways, yes, but I wasn’t under any illusion that I could just jump into the world of finance without first taking the time to prepare for such a transition. There are definitely qualities that were reinforced during my athletic career that I continue to draw on today as a financial advisor. But I also invested a great deal of energy in educational pursuits so that I was fully prepared to take on a role within such a complex industry, especially in an advisory role featuring so many serious and consequential responsibilities.
As you transitioned from a career in athletics to your current career in finance, did you experience any difficulty in channeling your competitive side? Is there anything you do to help keep your competitive fire burning, so to speak?
Yes, without a doubt, and “difficult” is probably an understatement.
To prepare to go up against the top athletes in the world, you have to continually find ways to challenge yourself and stoke the competitive fire that burns from within. And while the need to be challenged through competition is universal regardless of the pursuit, the type of competition found in athletics is just different from what you experience in finance.
Fortunately, I’ve found that training for and running in charity races more than satisfies my need for athletic competition while also providing me with an avenue to support so many different causes that do so many wonderful things for people in need.