I recently had the privilege of attending the Perform Better Summit in Providence, Rhode Island. Having never attended a Perform Better Summit, I went into the weekend unsure of what was to come. I was prepared to learn and meet other fitness professionals in the field, but I was not quite prepared for the change and perspective it brought to my life.
One year after graduating with my degree in Exercise Science from Brockport, I had completed my internship at a Cardiac Rehab facility and was one semester away from receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. My time at Brockport had taught me many things about the fitness and coaching industry: it is hard to be successful, it is rarely a steady income, and unless you know people, you are not going to get far. From this mindset, I decided that I was going to give up on my dream and passion of coaching so that I could have a steady paycheck, have a purpose everyday, and a career that people understood. This is the part where I wish I could say I had a startling revelation that made me realize I was lying to myself, but I didn’t. For some reason I gradually began to realize that I was never going to be my best version of myself with a career in nursing. For every person who said I was crazy for not going back for my last semester, I became more and more determined to find my own path for my true passion.
Fast forward about eight months. I was at the Perform Better Summit alongside Ryan and Christina, hearing some of the greatest coaches and mentors of all time discuss what it takes to be a coach, not just a trainer at a facility. The knowledge and information that they shared over the weekend was both life changing yet humbling at the same time. I learned that there are so many ways in which a coach can impact the lives of people. I also learned that I have a long way to go until I can consider myself a successful coach. One lecture specifically had the largest impact on my thought process and motivation. We performed an assignment that consisted of the 10 “abilities” of a great coach. We graded ourselves on a scale of 1-10 based on how well we were currently executing those abilities. For the first time, I had to step back and look at myself. I had to evaluate myself as a coach and really be honest about my strengths and weaknesses. It was this outside perspective that truly opened my eyes and allowed me to think differently than ever before.
Not only was this assignment beneficial for my career and desire to advance in the world of coaching, it was also beneficial in my relationships with others and myself. One of the specific “abilities” was the act of being reliable. Meaning we, as coaches, should never bring anything less than our “A game.” We have no “B game.” This point could be related to all aspects of my life. Nobody wants to finish something and look back at it to realize that they half-heartedly completed it and aren’t proud. This is an especially hard task for me because I have a tendency to over stretch myself and never say no for the fear of disappointing someone. However, at the end of the day that does not allow me to accomplish my goals. I am focusing on improving on this aspect in everything I do from coaching, my own health, my relationship and my family.
Another huge take home point that we can all benefit from is knowing that change requires four things and without these, change will NEVER fully happen. The first and easiest one is you must begin doing MORE of “x” in order to begin change. For example, if you want to get in better shape and become healthier, you must start eating more healthy food, more exercising, and more sleeping. This is the easiest part of changing because we can always add more of something to our lives. The next part is slightly harder; do LESS. Taking the same example, you must begin eating less of the bad foods, less drinking, and less sitting on the couch. This step is harder than the first, but still fairly easy to do everyday. The third step is harder yet. If you want to make change you must START something that you have never done before. For the example of getting healthier, you must begin watching your food and caloric intake or begin seeking out a support system that you may not have had in the past. The fourth and final part of change is the hardest and can sometimes be the reason people fail to make changes. This step requires you to STOP doing something that you are currently doing. Without committing and successfully implementing all four of these steps, change will never fully happen.
Overall, I learned a great deal about myself as well as what it takes to be a coach. I can continuously work on improving and building upon these “abilities” to become the best I can. It is exciting and motivating to know that there is so much work to do and every step I take is going to make me better in all aspects of life.
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