Gray Skies Distillery and Drew Neitzel

The Place – Gray Skies Distillery: Gray Skies makes a distillery visit more than worth your while with a small batch tasting room and craft cocktails that change every season to include new ingredients and approaches (basic bar snacks are included). Check their website to learn more about tasting hours and their latest creations, such as the Malt Revolver and GSD Sazerac.

The Business Leader – Drew Neitzel: Once a Spartan at Michigan State, Drew traveled the world as a pro basketball player: Now, a financial advisor at Wells Fargo, he helps create the right financial strategies for client goals. Our interview explores how Drew’s past helped him find victory in his current career – because some lessons really are universal.

Why First One In, Last One Out Leads to Victory

1. Hard Work Pays Off

It’s such a truism for entrepreneurs, but this little saying holds a lot of meaning in the day-to-day struggle. There will be times when it doesn’t feel like your hard work is doing anything. That’s because the “pays off” part of the saying is in the long-term, and it can be easy for us to get caught up in short-term gains. Instead of fretting over short-term failures or the feeling that you aren’t really improving, remember that improvement takes time. Hard work will pay off, even if you can’t see the result in a single phone call, a single day at work, or a single year of planning. Don’t stop pushing yourself just because you have a bad day.

2. Time Management Must Align With Your Passions

Time management is closely connected to your work-life balance, and that means understanding that your passions get priority. Is the success of this particular business your passion? Then you need to spend time on it – not only during the work day, but during mornings, evenings, and weekends as well. Is your family your passion, too? Then you have to remember that part of your business time will be replaced by family time, and adjust accordingly. Leaders and entrepreneurs have to understand the ways their passions change over time, and how this affects what they spend time on. Free time is precious fuel!

3. Failure Shouldn’t Stop the Follow-Through

“Learn from your failures” is another truism that entrepreneurs hear a lot, but here’s a new spin on it: Keep your efforts the same, even when you fail or expect failure. Don’t let a failure make you stop in your tracks. The little things like follow-up communication, they remain important even when it looks like things won’t work out. They keep you in practice, open the door for additional opportunities, and show the people watching that you try your best no matter what. Those are valuable skills.

4. Small Victories Keep You Going

Don’t lose track of the day to day victories because you are too focused on the final goal. Entrepreneurs are very good at setting big, long-term goals for their projects, but they tend to rate everything by how close it moves them to that goal. That makes it easy to lose sight of the day-to-day accomplishments, and many find themselves running out of fuel – or find it difficult to hold onto employees. The key is to find energy in the small victories so you can reach those big goals: The two work together!

5. Don’t Stop Asking Questions

Questions open up new opportunities while encouraging others (and you) to think in new ways. Frequently, the most valuable tool in an entrepreneur’s belt is a good question. Make use of them whenever possible.

To learn more about the habits that Drew developed and the experiences that helped guide him, watch our full interview here!

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