Dr. Jim Taylor: A sports psychologist who has personally branded himself (without even knowing it!)
I was at a ski race over the weekend at Stowe, Vermont, cheering on my two sons, Jamie and Craig, as they competed in college races.
While I was in the base lodge waiting for the second run, I was introduced to Dr. Jim Taylor, who I’ve known of for years as an expert in the sports psychology of ski racing. I told him I wanted to write a blog post about him because he has done an outstanding job of positioning and branding himself in this very specific niche of ski racing.
If you didn’t know already, what goes on inside the mind of a ski racer is as important as what they do with their bodies while speeding down the side of a mountain. As with most things, what they are thinking before, during and after their races impacts their performance as much as their physical training, nutrition, coaching and rest.
Dr. Taylor has put together all the necessary components of a strong personal brand. He has written 14 books and more than 700 articles. He has a well-branded website at www.drjimtaylor.com, and he blogs regularly. He appears on national news and entertainment shows like the Today Channel, Fox & Friends, ABC’s World News Weekend and others. He has the necessary street cred with the racers and the parents he works with, because he himself was a ski racer while at Middlebury College, which has always been a skiing powerhouse.
Jim has done the most important thing anyone can do in building a personal brand: he has built an audience of millions of people who know, like and trust him for his expertise and his opinions. He tends to his community by providing much-needed counsel in the niche of alpine ski racing.
So, when I met him, I was in awe, because we have always looked up to him in our family. I told him I wanted to write this blog post, and I asked him a few questions.
1. When did you decide to differentiate yourself by specializing in sport psychology?
Before I entered graduate school. Sport psychology enabled me to make a huge leap in my ski racing. I fell in love with psychology as a freshman at Middlebury and knew that was the path I wanted to take in my education and career. There’s a cliché that people become psychologists to figure themselves out. That was me, to be sure. Sport psychology enabled me to meld my two loves, sports and psychology, into a really fun and rewarding career.
2. You have done a great job branding yourself. Who were your role models in the field of personal branding?
No one. I didn’t really think formally at all about personal branding. I just made it up as I went along. I’ve been told that I have a natural talent for branding, marketing, etc. Not sure if that is true, but I’ve always striven to make myself unique and differentiated from others in my field.
3. What is your favorite aspect of your career now: speaking, writing, consulting with patients, or watching ski races?
I love them all! And they all feed off each for new ideas, relationships, and fun.
Thanks, Dr. Taylor! You may not have intentionally gone about branding yourself, but you’ve done a great job of it. Actually, that’s usually the best kind of branding: the kind that grows organically and responds to the needs of the community. You’ve built a community of brand followers and you’re filling a need. Keep at it!
To learn more about Dr. Jim Taylor, go to www.drjimtaylor.com.