Alex Weber shares his strategies for how to better yourself and advance your career.
By Jason Henninger
Professional development has always been a major catalyst for growth and success in the facilities management industry. But where does the drive to improve in your career begin? According to Alex Weber, coach, athlete, TV show host, motivational speaker and author of “Fail Proof: Become the Unstoppable You,” it starts with bettering yourself.
Weber spoke at the ConnexFM 2023 National Conference and shared his inspiring perspective. We followed up with him to learn a little more about his professional and personal background, his views and how his philosophy can be of value to facilities managers.
A Strong Foundation
The most glamorous aspect of Weber’s journey is, without a doubt, his time on “American Ninja Warrior,” both as a contestant and host. But when it comes to the development of his life philosophy, it all starts with his parents. Weber praised his mother’s unconditional love and his father’s intense spirit of determination, crediting each for aspects of his views on personal improvement and empowerment. “What I learned from my dad was to go all out,” he said. “If you're going to do something, you give all your being to it.”
Weber shared that he seeks to manifest his mother's goodness and his father's drive. His upbringing was “not without challenges,” but “those mental and emotional challenges helped me be better at what I do because I think it helps me better relate to audiences,” he said.
During his time on American Ninja Warrior and as a lacrosse player and coach, Weber looked for ways to empower himself and those around him. His experience as a speaker and author stems from his coaching experiences. Coaching, for him, was all about getting players to believe in themselves, taking particular pride in those who began without the strongest drive at the beginning of the season but finished invested in the team and themselves. “I saw those individuals who only had one foot in start to gain confidence, and be needed by our team, and see fulfillment through in doing things that they didn't think they could do,” Weber said. “It was really cool.”
This notion of personal development is at the heart of what Weber hopes to inspire in others and to maintain in himself. For him, obstacles are not something to go around but are there to overcome and gain necessary experience from. “I learned that your challenges create your gifts,” he said.
Speaking of his career path and personal journey (which, for him, are one and the same), “I had ups and downs as a Division I lacrosse player, but it was those challenges that then led me to win U.S. Lacrosse Coach of the Year, and in my first season, win championships. The challenges I'd been through as an athlete gave me more empathy, humility, grit and relatability to the people I was leading.”
Weber takes a two-fold view of personal improvement: giving yourself love for the person you are and focusing on the things that naturally help you grow. “Part of me improving is being more present and enjoying the ride,” he said. “Being at peace with who I am right now; I struggle with that. I need to make room for me to love myself as I am. What we don't want to do is perpetually chase a future. We don't want to constantly feel inadequate, attaching our self-worth and success to a moving target. Self-betterment is not always grinding. Sometimes self-betterment is pausing, taking a few deep breaths and sending love to yourself.”
Don’t Get Weighed Down
Among Weber’s core concepts is the idea of floats and anchors. Anchors are the ideas, activities or relationships that weigh you down or keep you stuck in one place. Floats, on the other hand, elevate, energize and motivate. The five floats are, in brief:
Choices: You can’t control everything in life, but you can always control your choices
Habits: Focus on the habits that support the life you want
Self-talk: Speak to yourself with kindness
Activities: Put your energy toward activities that motivate success
People: Connect with people who uplift and inspire you
Weber said anything can behave as a float or an anchor, depending on how you respond. “My encouragement is, what are your big floats? When you lean on them, what things make you do better, feel better, and get more confidence, peace or fulfillment? Try to engage with those people, actions or habits more. Then, what is your critical anchor? We all have a thing that holds us in place. What is your critical anchor, something that if you were to remove it from your life, your life would get better?”
Bringing it Home
While these concepts could benefit people in any walk of life, how do they apply to facilities managers? Weber has two principle points to convey. “It's a hard job, what facilities managers do,” he said. “At the ConnexFM 2023 National Conference, I had an awesome experience, loved the people I met and loved my time with the audience. I had many meaningful conversations with the human beings in that room who have a really challenging job. A lot of people depend on them, and they don’t know what they’re walking into every day. They are literally putting out fires. There’s a lot of pressure. So, first is commitment, knowing that what they do matters and that if you're committed, you’re committed. The second point is that when people need us, it activates our best qualities. So don’t resist or avoid that we’re needed — embrace it.”