Navigate 010: Learning from Pain – Marcus Whitney’s Steps on Turning Pain Into Success

While many people may think of success as avoiding failure, healthcare leader and innovator Marcus Whitney thinks success is more about having courage and taking action even in the midst of failure. 

“You’re not going to get to wins and success without failures and without losses, so the most important thing is stepping out on faith and courage and confidence and doing something,” he said in the latest episode of the Navigate Podcast. “Nobody remembers all the losses anyway, and if they remember they don’t bring them up to you. All they remember are the things that you did that were value creating and successful.”

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Marcus Whitney has certainly found plenty of success since moving to Nashville at age 24. In addition to his role as CEO and founder of Health:Further — a strategic advisory firm that works with healthcare organizations going through disruption — he’s also a founding partner of Jumpstart Foundry, the co-founder and co-owner of Nashville Soccer Club. He’s an author and digital content creator, be sure to subscribe to his weekly email The Grind, and subscribe to his podcast (listen to his full InFlight presentation here). 

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The New York City native moved to Nashville after college thanks to some “dumb luck,” and he happened to arrive at just the right time, he said.

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“I think in a time when so few New Yorkers even knew what Nashville was much less would move here, I was able to exist here with New York energy at a time when I think the city was really open to that, and that was the environment that allowed for me to have an impact here,” he said.

That New York energy may also account for Whitney’s ability to wear so many hats, from entrepreneur to father to podcast host to martial arts enthusiast. But while it would be easy to look at Whitney as an anomaly, he thinks everyone has the potential to pursue many different passions. 

“If you’re an entrepreneur and you subscribe to the philosophy that the more authentic you are the more successful you’ll be because you can really lean into your strengths, then you just bring all those things out. But I actually don’t think it’s that unique,” Whitney said. “ I think most people are renaissance people, but I think the world doesn’t allow people to be who they are.”

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But out of all the things Whitney does on a daily basis, he thinks martial arts holds some of the most valuable lessons. 

“Martial arts is an incredible metaphor for life,” he said. “Whenever we’re learning a new move, our teacher will show it to us, and then as we’re doing it and he recognizes we’re not doing it right, he will then do it to us. And when he does it to us, we feel the pain… Your information is exponentially more rich when you feel the pain as opposed to him showing you or telling you.”

“Don’t be afraid to have a loss or learn a hard lesson, because I promise you,  you will never forget those things.”

blog post written by Bronte Lebo

photos by Dezmond Perry & Montez Mickles


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