5 Types of Executives/Athletes




The Workhorse athletes or executive has a very high work ethic. They get to work early and stay late. Their work ethic becomes part of their identity and they wear their grueling schedule as a badge of honor. They are in the regularly work out and often have extra curricular activities. 

The Workhorse instinctively understands the notion of hard work. For example, if they are met by a challenge, they know they will find the answers by "grinding," "putting in the time," and "rolling up there sleeves." 


For example, Taylor identified as a Workhorse and used it to his advantage.  Throughout high school and college, he used his work ethic to excel in the classroom and on the field. Therefore, It was an easy transition to utilize that same mindset in his career. He was the first one in the office and the last to leave. He even used it when studying to earn his CFA.  

While The Workhorse rarely finds issue with the amount of work on their plate, they may not realize that putting the foot on the gas has taken its toll. Over time, they may recognize that they haven't spent enough time recovering - pulling back, taking vacations, and finding a stable work/life balance. 



The Intellectual is dedicated to performing at a high level, and they set a very high bar for themselves.  

They are confident in their abilities and see themselves as successful - because they usually are. Their self-image and self-assurance are usually intact and possess an intrinsic motivation and internal drive to succeed. The high bar they have set for themselves is the basis for their desire to do things well and do them right.

Although Intellectuals consistently perform well, their performance can be negatively effected by perfectionism, anxiety, and self-doubt. This type of executive/athlete can become over-whelmed by the desire to PERFORM well. Their focus is on impressing others, appearing competent, and being liked by their peers, boss, or employees. 

For example, an Intellectual may give a presentation to bolster their status amongst the team. They feverishly prepare out of fear, not necessarily to give a great presentation which offers value to the audience, Whether in business or sports, most Intellectuals focus on results and others' perceptions of them. 

The key to helping Intellectuals is not to perform perfectly  - trying to keep their nose above water and getting closer to the preverbal "perfect" - but instead to lower the level of the water. 




It is easy to recognize Rookies in sports. They are new to the game or to the current level of play, and they are learning the “rules” of that level of play, whether they are a freshman in college or a first-year player in the pros. They will learn the norms of each organization, such as the repercussions for being late, the level of work ethic or intensity demonstrated in practice, the attention to details, where they fit in the depth chart, dealing with the media, and so on.


Rookie executives are no different: They have started working at a new job or in a new industry/career, are in the early stages after receiving a promotion, started a new company, or merged their company with another and now need to learn and understand the rules of this new environment. They have trouble with the clarity of their new role. 

During this time, Rookies deal with a tremendous amount of interference, distracting them from what’s really important, the job at hand. The Rookie earnestly works hard and has every intention to do well, they're just not sure what that means at the moment. 




Natural Talents are an interesting type of executive/athlete. They amaze us with their God-given talent. Being great at their job comes easily to them. And, of course, that makes it even more enjoyable. They "play" with ease, and therefore want to "play" all the time.

Issues occur when they need address areas outside their comfort zone. Learning new skills or managing parts of their job that do not come easily becomes something they tend to avoid because they are worried about an insufficient result. Natural Talents need to learn and internalize the relationship between effort and outcome. If they do, the law of averages tells us they will start to improve their performance and ultimately meet their potential. 

The Natural Talent excels when they are in their lane. It's time to be open to new roles and responsibilities. As Jim Loehr once said, "Energy expenditure that prompts discomfort has the potential to expand capacity."




These executives and athletes are “Spectators” because they seem to be sitting on the sideline of their own lives. We see this in sports when players are simply going through the motions. They are not pushing themselves on or off the field. They made the team, they are able to spend time with their friends, and that’s about it. And that’s okay. Not every athlete has to be the star.

In business, Spectators are just going through the motions at work. They spend little time thinking about how to find success. Spectators are not particularly driven to succeed, nor are they concerned about failing. They aren’t trying very hard, and they make excuses for their lack of effort. These behaviors serve to protect an individual’s perceived self-worth by providing excuses for poor performance on challenging tasks.

Inspiring Spectators to perform can be quite challenging. They may suffer from low competence motivation and have difficulty mustering the energy to try when they feel incompetent to begin with.


Spectators need to create their own personal vision.

Spectators may have never thought about being successful, therefore, they have no vision of what it would be like. The goal is to get these executives to see themselves in a new successful environment, internalizing those images, causing them to become interested and/or excited in making that vision a reality. Without homing in on a very clear personal vision of their future and working toward making that vision a reality, Spectators will simply remain going through the motions.