We clean up well for a bunch of gym rats.


Let’s face it, I’m a gym rat.  Since the first time I stepped foot into a gym at 15 years old, I knew that I would combine my love for sport and training into a career.  At the time, I had no idea what that would eventually look like, or the wonderful, and sometimes challenging, path that it would take me down.

I have been fortunate enough to work at two National Sport Centres (Malaysia & Canada), have been a testing specialist for an NHL team, have worked with Paralympians and Olympians alike, and spend most of my summer trying to make some of the best NHL players better.

I feel good about the career that I have carved out for myself over the years.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am not easily satisfied though.  I crave a good challenge and I am always pursuing great over good.

So three years ago I took on the biggest challenge of my life; becoming a business owner.  I have always viewed myself as an entrepreneur in the waiting, but when life situations changed, it was really thrust upon me.  I do not lack confidence, and I fully expected that I would be successful in this new arena I was competing in.  The management of the operations side of things was pretty straight forward, I had been doing that for the better part of 5 years, so I had a pretty good handle on that.  Conversely, the behind the scenes work that truly characterizes an entrepreneur or business person is where I struggled.  I was out of my element in regards to accounting, both financial and managerial, and marketing.  Arguably these are two of the most important aspects of being an entrepreneur.  I was finding out quickly that I was just a little over my head.  I like to make an analogy to when I taught my dog how to swim at three months old.  I took her out into the water and dropped her in.  She learned instantaneously:  it was either swim or die.  I was now in the same situation.

I had surrounded myself with successful people in business, and had been listening to them through my entire journey, but always felt I could get by on my own; I’m stubborn in my belief of myself.  I finally allowed myself to actually listen, learn and implement ideas from my mentors.  It was at this point that I started to believe in myself as a business person.

A few months ago I was nominated as a candidate for Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and I made it through as a finalist, much to my surprise.  This week I attended the event to announce the winners of each category.  As I walked into a packed conference room full of the Who’s Who in business in Kelowna, I began to feel some of those insecurities again.  Sure, I put on a brand new 3 piece suit, because “look good, feel good” right?  But I still had this nagging little bit in my gut that I didn’t quite belong.  I am gym rat, not a business man.  I felt like I should be sitting at the kid’s table during a busy family holiday meal.

Throughout the evening I watched videos of all of the nominees from every category.  What I learned was that for the most part, they were just like me.  Their successful businesses were all based on a true passion for their industry.  I have that.  They built their businesses behind a team of dedicated, loyal and hardworking employees.  I have that.  They all started out small and had a vision of growth.  I have that.  Slowly, I started to feel more comfortable in my own skin and began to feel like I truly did belong in that room.

I did not win the award, which I had expected.  I was shocked to have even been considered, and to have even been a finalist was a huge achievement for me.  I was profiled in front of 300 of the most influential business people in Kelowna.  What a marketing coup!  What I did win however was respect for myself as a business person.  I felt like I belonged. When it comes to business, I now feel that I can have dinner at the adult’s table.

Shane Pizzey, Mkin, CSCS, CEP