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Marcel Daane – Don't Get Overconfident in Your Expertise
26th October 2021 • My Worst Investment Ever Podcast • Andrew Stotz
00:00:00 00:27:28

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BIO: Marcel Daane is an award-winning executive coach and author living in Singapore.

STORY: Marcel built a great gym, but because he thought he was the expert in the field, he became a horrible boss. He wanted to run the show to the point where he burnt himself out. Eventually, he had to leave the business that had taken him 10 years and $500,000 to build.

LEARNING: Don’t start believing your own hype to a point where you ignore other people’s insights and opinions. Just because you have strong skills in an area that doesn’t mean you’ll make a great entrepreneur.


“When we become over-reliant on what we think, we know we get stuck in our heads.”
Marcel Daane


Guest profile

Marcel Daane is an award-winning executive coach and author living in Singapore.

Worst investment ever

Marcel had a desire to start his own gym, and it took him about 10 years or so of saving. With the help of his wife, he managed to save a quarter of a million dollars. But Marcel needed about half a million, so he went out and sought some partners and managed to raise the half-million. Marcel then built one of the most awesome gyms in Singapore that you could imagine.

He built a speed institute with the intent to give everybody an opportunity, including children, to feel like they were athletes. The gym had sprinting lanes and all that kind of stuff in there. But there were no treadmills.

When they opened their doors and invited people to see the gym, they all asked where the treadmills were. It was right there and then that Marcel knew there was a problem. The problem was that he had built a gym that was for him, and it took so much energy to get people to buy into it.

But where the investment went wrong was actually with Marcel. As a personal trainer, he was extremely passionate about how he did his work. He considered himself an expert in the field, so he treated his partners and staff like they were working for him and it was his way or the highway. Marcel became a horrible boss.

With this kind of attitude, it didn’t take Marcel long to burn out. He finally concluded that he couldn’t sustain this way of operating. So he spoke to his partners, and they came to a settlement, and Marcel left the company. He had basically bailed on his own company. Interestingly, the company started doing better after he left.

Lessons learned

  • If you’re an expert in your field and want to start a business in that field, first check yourself. Make sure that you don’t start believing your own hype because other people around you may be less knowledgeable than you but might have some phenomenal insights that can help your business.
  • Don’t get so determined that you put blinders on and stop opening yourself up to perspectives, ideas, and thoughts from other people.
  • If you think you’re the expert, get other people to put you in check because you’re going to need them.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • Give your customers what they want.
  • Don’t get overconfident in your expertise. Just because you have strong skills in an area that doesn’t mean you’ll make a great entrepreneur.

Actionable advice

Stop believing that what you think you know is the only option. There are millions of different ways of operating and doing things, and there are ideas out there that you just lock yourself off to by believing in your own hype.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Marcel’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to make sure that his new book The Five Energies of Horrible Bosses and How Not to Become One ends up in bookstores all around the world and in people’s hands. He hopes the book will create a conversation around how we can lead our businesses differently and look at leadership and how we run our businesses from a more human perspective, rather than just being data-driven.




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