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Club Pilates President Embraces Numerous Career Changes

Bennett Conlin
Bennett Conlin

It's easy to feel anxious about switching careers. When it comes to moving to a completely different industry, your nerves can soar. It's not always easy to bet on yourself and take a leap into the unknown.

In the case of Shaun Grove, the president of Club Pilates, betting on himself and jumping into an unfamiliar career helped him find tremendous success and happiness. While it's not for everyone, there are ways to make calculated, logical decisions in your career journey that lead you to success. We've developed three tips from our conversation with Grove that can help you switch careers successfully.

1. Embrace risk.

Grove, who played football in college and then professionally in Europe for a few years, always thought he wanted to be a sports agent or a member of the FBI. After his first year of law school following his playing days, Grove got an internship with a sports agency and quickly learned he wasn't interested in pursuing that job.

Upon his graduation, he spent time at a law firm in California before feeling burnt out and leaving to work on a few franchising opportunities. Eventually, he got to a point where his dream of becoming an FBI agent crept back into his mind. With the age limit for joining the FBI approaching, he took one of many career leaps and applied to join the FBI.

"I really just looked at it and said, 'OK, if this is something that I want to do, I either need to do it or just forget about it,'" Grove said. "You have one life to live. If there's something that you want, you need to go make it happen. The FBI wasn't going to knock on my door and say, 'Hey, do you want to come be a part of us?' If I wanted it, I had to make it happen."

Grove bet on himself and won. He was accepted into the FBI. He fulfilled a childhood dream by taking a chance, even when he had a solid career lined up and could've continued on his current trajectory without any issues. Grove's willingness to take chances provides a lesson for all businesspeople and entrepreneurs: Be comfortable putting yourself in a position to potentially fail.

"That fear propels me to work harder and to be more successful," Grove said. "That fear of failing is what drives a lot of people to either be successful or to crumble."

By not worrying about a negative outcome, Grove took a chance and achieved a goal he'd had for years. A fear of failure or complacency with his current situation would've prevented him from ever achieving that goal.

Eventually, the FBI recommended moving Grove to Boston, which led to another leap of faith – leaving the FBI.

"They decided that Boston is where I should be," Grove said. "My wife is a partner at a law firm in Los Angeles, and she decided that probably wasn't in my best interest. It really came down to 'do I resign from the FBI or do I get a divorce?' I'm still married today, so ultimately that was the right decision. From there, it really prompted me to decide, 'OK, what do I want to do next?'"

2. Rely on your previous experiences.

When deciding what to do next, Grove looked at his background. He'd always found joy in athletics and exercise, and he had a background in law and franchising. After the FBI, Grove took an in-house legal counsel role for LA Boxing, which was eventually purchased by UFC Gym. Grove became a franchisee of the company following a year in his role as legal counsel. The affiliation with UFC Gym led him to purchase three additional franchise locations before stopping his legal counsel duties and becoming a full-time franchisee.

Grove quickly found that combining physical fitness with franchising put him in a position to succeed both financially and emotionally. After success at LA Boxing, he agreed to come on as Club Pilates' president in March of 2015.

"We spent about the first eight months really just redesigning the system, redeveloping the concept and making it truly a scalable system that is a true franchise model," Grove said.

Though it didn't happen overnight, Grove took a business that had about 80 territories sold and 25 studios open and helped it grow it into a franchise that has roughly 800 territories sold and 450 studios open. The company continues to grow aggressively and aims to open 25-30 studios per month.

Credit: Image courtesy of Club Pilates

Using his previous knowledge and experiences, Grove found tremendous success after his time as both an FBI agent and legal counsel. Even if you're switching industries, you'll almost certainly have skills that transfer across jobs. It's important to make use of those skills and to recognize your strengths when making the leap into a new career.

"You combine a passion with your experience and your skill set, and I think that just leads, at least from my standpoint, to a stronger probability of success," Grove said.

3. Don't dwell in the past.

Not every risk you take will be your ultimate success. After Grove was an FBI agent, he quickly switched gears to stay in the same location as his wife. While he doesn't regret this decision, he does sometimes think about what could've happened.

"I'm definitely very satisfied with the decisions that I've made," Grove said. "Do I think sometimes what would it have been like if I stayed in the FBI or if I stayed with this job or that job? I think you always have those, but not to the level where I feel like I've made a mistake or wish I had a do-over."

Grove occasionally wonders what might've been but doesn't worry about his past decisions. He understands why he made previous choices and stands behind them. You won't always make the right business or personal decisions, but it's important to take past experiences and learn from them, rather than dwelling on them. A career switch takes belief and trust in yourself.

It can be difficult to switch careers and chase your dreams, but believing in yourself and living with your decisions is a critical element of the process.

Image Credit: Shaun Grove image courtesy of Club Pilates
Bennett Conlin
Bennett Conlin Member
Bennett is a B2B editorial assistant based in New York City. He graduated from James Madison University in 2018 with a degree in business management. During his time in Harrisonburg he worked extensively with The Breeze, JMU’s student-run newspaper. Bennett also worked at the Shenandoah Valley SBDC, where he helped small businesses with a variety of needs ranging from social media marketing to business plan writing.