What you going to do when Hulkamania goes all professional development on you?!?!

Hulk Hogan: Icon. Wrestler. Thunder lips.

There are many different thoughts that spring to mind when I think of the Hulkster. Not only is he a real American (what exactly does that even mean?), but he was a world wrestling champion, part time action hero and now a subject of reality TV show. Whatever your opinion of him, you have to agree he has endured.

But how did a guy who used to get steel chairs and the Ultimate Warrior‘s forearms smashed in his face get this far? Is there something we can learn from this? Well let me tell you something brother, there really is something to be learnt from his exploits – and not just that you should train, say your prayers  and eat your vitamins! Check out three lessons to pick up from ‘The Immortal One’.

Have a good corner to back you up

For years Hulk always had someone knocking around to back him up in his hour of need. Brutus the Barber, Macho-Man Randy Savage, Jimmy Heart – there always seem to be someone helping Hogan out of a jam now and again. Sure, they might turn from allies to advesaries from time to time and vice versa (at least Hulk never had it as bad as Marty Jannety did in this instance)

You will always need a little help from your friends now and again so make sure you surround yourself with people who are not only going to help when they need to, but are also pushing you to evolve and develop further.

The Mega Powers in 1988
Play your cards right and you too can have two men in spandex and bandanas to back you up in a tight spot (The Mega Powers in 1988. Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Think there cannot be a modern-day equivalent of Brutus or Randy within your organisation or professional life? Then have a read of Guy Kawasaki‘s ‘Enchantment’ and when he talks about eco-systems in an organisation. He outlines how having a diverse and knowledgeable community can be crucial to organisational success. Not only does it mean more solutions being developed, but in those instances where people are cynical will mean that your best laid plans will be more closely scrutinised before launch. Two heads really are very much better than one.

Go a la carte on this sucka!

Sometimes in life you do not always want the everything that is on offer or, in some cases, you cannot get all that you want – this is when you need to take the a la carte menu approach to your professional development.

Hulk Hogan did this with his magnificent hair. Sure, he was pretty light of hair on the top of his crown but boy did he make the most of what hair he had at the side of his head – no Bobby Charlton comb over for this guy. Not only did he make the most of it but you could argue that it is a reflection of accepting what were his limitations – he could not bring back to life hair follicles (he should really get in touch with Wayne Rooney – now that’s a tag team I would like to see), but those that were alive he grew out to the max. Although it might have appeared odd at first sight, those bright shock of blond hair became as much a part of his image as ripping his shirt off before a match.

Cat's hair close-up.
This is a world Hogan never understood - well, apart from the back and sides. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The lesson here? Work with what you have got and don’t worry about what you do not. Take what I like to call an ‘a la carte’ approach to your professional development: push everything to the side that you do not have control of or is not of interest to you, and then put all your energy in to the things that matter and you can affect.

Tony Robbins may split opinions but I think he sums it up quite nicely when he says if you do not have the resources, you have to become resourceful. It is a change of mindset also – moving from worrying over what you do not have to being much more solution focused in your approach.

You need to work on those 24 inch pythons

If you do not know the history of Hulk Hogan than do not be alarmed by this paragraph title, it is not some cheap innuendo!

Hulkster was always banging on about his pythons and what they were always going to do to people. You necessarily be going round telling people about what you are going to do (“You know something, this months payroll is in for a whole world of hurt!”) but you do need to get to work on your intellectual ‘pythons’, so to speak.

So whether this is reading books on your area of expertise, industry journal/magazines, online blogs, forums, etc; you need to be all over what you are interested in to broaden your knowledge.

But a word to the wise – this will not happen over night. You think Hulk went in for a gym session one day then woke up the next morning with a pumped up, brand new body? No, of course not – to think this would even be possible would be ridiculous (or so my mates down the gym keep telling me).

You also need to accept that there is not a single silver bullet, one book or one source of information that will resolve all of your developmental needs. Sure, there will be some that you come back to more than others (I treat O’Connor and Lages ‘How Coaching Works’ as my reference book at work, and Gary Veynurchuk’s ‘Crush It!’ for professional refelection, new ideas) but you cannot realistically expect it to happen over night – and when it doesn’t happen over night make sure that you do not beat yourself up over it either.

Instead accept it is a gradual process of continuous development; small steps that culminate in some large leaps. And if you think something is not working, be like Hulk and go to back to steps one and two in this post: speak to you corner and see what good ideas you can come up with, and remember to go a la carte and trying new ideas that might not have come to mind in the first instance.

Think there was a better WWF superstar I could have chosen to represent personal development in this blog? Whack a comment below about which one you think would have been more appropriate and why or if your prefer choose from the selection on the poll at the end of this post. In the words of another famous wrestler, “Can you dig it?!”


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