Broker Check

How Coaching Basketball Prepared Me for a Career in Financial Services

Erik Johnson
Managing Director at The Bulfinch Group

August 27, 2019
Business And Athletics Finding a Career that Fits

When I made my professional pivot from the world of collegiate athletics into the business world, I knew that I was looking for three things: Culture, Opportunity, and Mentorship. I got a lot of great advice and totally agreed that those things were much more important than the specific industry that I chose. As I started meeting with key people in all kinds of different companies, I also realized that I was looking for inspiration.

When I met Seth Medalie, president and founder of The Bulfinch Group, I found that inspiration. Seth explained that he mentors financial professionals to go make a difference in people’s lives and that when you bring great value, your business can thrive. This resonated with me because that philosophy is exactly how I have always coached. I taught our players that individual greatness would come from pouring hard work into their skill sets and from their ability to make everyone around them better.

I am amazed every day at the parallels between my role as a basketball coach and my role in coaching our financial professionals at The Bulfinch Group. My interactions with our financial professionals every day are the same as the interactions I had with college basketball players. I work with high-achieving, driven individuals who want to be great. I help them analyze their past and current performance and help them put together a plan to become the best version of themselves. I then help them stay committed to their plan.

I work to challenge them, inspire them, teach them, and motivate them to be their best. One of my favorite parts of the job is that in my search for our next group of financial professionals, I get to have career conversations with all kinds of people every day.

I help people network just as so many great people helped me during my own career pivot. For those that are the right fit, I help them engage in our selection process and I get to watch them change their own lives by helping others live their best lives.

Musings on Leadership

What is your personal philosophy on leadership?

Leadership to me is all about helping the people around you become the best version of themselves. Great leaders help their people accomplish a mission while taking care of their people at every turn.

How would you define a good leader?

A good leader can connect, serve, and inspire his or her people to improve every day, both individually and collectively. People WANT to follow a great leader.

As a leader, how do you motivate those whom you mentor?

My personal style is to strive to bring positive energy to every situation. A good leader knows that their mood, tone, and approach will have a huge effect on the people he or she is working with. The best leaders can hold people accountable to high standards by believing in the people they are leading and inspiring them to believe both in themselves and in the path to success even when it’s a difficult one.

Is there any specific advice you would give to another leader from your own learned lessons?

My advice is “It’s not about YOU!” Many leaders get in their own way by being too concerned with their own ego, reputation, or issues. Great leaders are selfless and rise above their own issues to put themselves fully into the success of their people.

This material contains the current opinions of Erik Johnson but not necessarily those of Guardian or its subsidiaries and such opinions are subject to change without notice.

Materials discussed is meant for general informational purposes only. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice.

Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. The Bulfinch Group is not an affiliate or subsidiary of Guardian. Life insurance offered through The Bulfinch Group Insurance Agency, LLC, an affiliate of The Bulfinch Group, LLC. The Bulfinch Group, LLC is not licensed to sell insurance. 2019-81793 Exp 6/21