How the ‘Leningrad Express’ taught me about going the extra mile

As a young athlete, Andrew became aware very early of the discipline needed to be the best. Here, he shares with us his reflections on how hard work in the swimming pool has translated into hard work for clients three decades later…

In my youth, I competed in 1,500-metre swimming events and once swam 80,000 metres in a week as part of my training programme. This involved training before and after school and at the weekends.

At the time, the Soviet star Vladimir Salnikov was the master at 1,500 metres. Known as the Leningrad Express, he won gold at the 1980 Olympic Games and became the first man to register a time of under 15 minutes for the event.

While Salnikov could not defend his title in 1984 due to the Soviet boycott, he returned in Seoul in 1988 to reclaim the Olympic title. He regularly trained 80,000 metres plus a week. 

As a young athlete, the thing I learned back then was the discipline it needed to compete with the best. Our training group in Stockport aimed to match the training regime of the very best, and to keep challenging ourselves and pushing the boundaries.

This lesson has stuck with me the whole of my life. Going the extra mile becomes a habit and second nature and this is something I have always aimed to do whilst looking for progression and development.

It is now more than three decades since I was at my best in the pool, but I still compete in open water events and train once or twice a week with my swimming club. I was pleased to come second in my age group for the Dee Mile in Chester last month.

I have spent much of the last 23 years working in financial advice services and this is now my 20th year as a leading adviser. A friend of mine recently said that he has come across another adviser who knows of me and my fine reputation. This is nice to hear, as I have never met this other adviser!

I have spent my career applying the hard work and dedication that I learned in my youth to the advice process: due diligence research, understanding clients’ objectives and key drivers, focusing on clear, jargon-free communication, always acting to a high ethical standard, and working to ensure that we deliver expectations as a team. 

How hard work has helped us grow Depledge – and take on a new team member

It was this passion for hard work and dedication and working as a team unit to push the boundaries, that was the backbone for establishing Depledge Strategic Wealth Management Limited more than five years ago. 

In this time, we have grown the client database to over 900 clients and look after combined assets of more than £160 million. We now have a team of ten who are heavily involved in the business and providing our clients with a high level of service.

Our latest recruit is Shannon Lowe, who has recently graduated and will be working with us towards a technical and advisory role in the future. We are also now working for the business to be recognised by a leading international standards agency.

These are all factors showing our progression and our appetite to go the extra mile to be the best.

Salnikov ended his career with four Olympic gold medals, four World Championship gold medals and four European Championship gold medals and he has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. While I may never have reached that standard in the pool, the hard work involved in becoming the best is built into my DNA and something that I will ensure stays with me and the team for the future. 

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