The best career advice from WWE wrestler Chris Jericho
This pro wrestler and rock star knows a thing or two about taking chances—and winning. With his latest book, Jericho aims to help you break the walls down.
When you were little, anything seemed possible. “If you can dream it, you can achieve it,” you were told. But now that you’re older, you might be second-guessing that theory.
Not Chris Jericho.
“If you want to do something, just go do it. If you believe in your talents, nothing can stop you,” the wrestling superstar told Monster. “I’ve heard ‘no’ each time I’ve started something new, and each time the naysayers were wrong.”
Were they ever. Having decided at age 12 that he wanted to be both a professional wrestler and a rock musician, Jericho launched his wrestling career in 1990 at age 19, and about a decade later, he became lead singer of the heavy metal band Fozzy. Jericho can now count 32 wrestling titles, seven albums, and four books among his victories. Oh, by the way, his three previous books were all New York Times bestsellers.
In Jericho’s latest book, No Is a Four-Letter Word: How I Failed Spelling but Succeeded in Life, each chapter covers a different principle that has helped shape his remarkable career so far.
Packed with uproarious tales of what Jericho’s learned from celebrities—from Gene Simmons of the band KISS, to William Shatner of Star Trek, to his own father, legendary NHL player Ted Irvine—this is the most fun career-advice book you’re likely to find.
Monster recently spoke with Jericho about pursuing your dreams and enjoying your life along the way.
Q. You’ve reinvented yourself several times so far. What would you tell someone trying to break into a field where they have no experience?
A. Try not to pay attention to what other people think. If you concentrate on yourself and what you’re capable of doing, you will find it a lot easier to move forward. Anytime you hear “no,” there’s always a way to get it done. I’m living proof.
Every time I’ve ever started somewhere new, I got off on the wrong foot and had to struggle to get my confidence back. I think that’s true for most people in a new situation, with new people, new rules. But if you know you have the ability, keep at it and don’t worry about your mistakes. You’ll always make mistakes. Focus on your victories.
Q. No has a great chapter on how to deal with a career disappointment—in your case, losing out on hosting a popular TV show. Could you sum up what you took away from that?
A. The sting of rejection starts to fade away when you know you did the best you possibly could, and the rest was out of your hands. Then, you just have to let it go.
To help me with that, I reached out to some of my friends, including William Shatner. He said, “If I dwelled on every gig I didn’t get, I’d have quit showbiz after a year.” He was in his seventh decade as an actor, so I figured he knew what he was talking about.
Q. You clearly admire your boss, WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. Any tips on getting along with a demanding manager, especially in a new job?
A. The relationship I have with Vince now—and I think of us as friends—took years to develop. When you’re working with someone who’s at the top of their game, they are really complex, and it’s not possible to gain their trust and respect overnight. You can’t rush it.
It helps to put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s been a boss for a long time. How many people have worked for him in the past, and how many have not worked out? He, or she, is looking for someone who will stand the test of time. So try to be that person.
Q. Why is it important to stop and “smell the metaphorical roses,” as you write, before tackling your next goal?
A. This matters especially for people who are really busy and always have half a dozen projects going.
My band’s song “Judas” was No. 1 on the radio a couple of weeks ago, and I was in a meeting where everyone else was like, “Oh, we’re No. 1? That’s nice, but now let’s talk about this other thing…” I said, “Whoa, no, let’s not!”
Don’t rush on to the next appointment or goal in your life. Celebrate your successes and the people who helped you, especially your family.
I always take a few seconds after a match to stand at the top of the stage and savor the moment because I don’t know when I’ll be back in that city again. If you’ve climbed a five-story mountain and all you do is keep on climbing, without stopping to admire the view, what’s the point?
Anne Fisher has been writing about career and workplace trends and topics for Fortune and other publications since 1996. She is the author of If My Career’s on the Fast Track, Where Do I Get a Road Map?