A new gym just opened up near my house, and being curious as I am, I had to pop in and see how it was set up and what they had to offer. I always like check out other centers, see if there is anything unique to offer, see what kind of equipment and space they have. In the past, I have signed up at different centers because they either had a great instructor teaching something I wanted to learn, or because they offered equipment I wanted to use.
After I took the tour with the sales person, I asked if I could speak with the owner. I like to get to know the other fitness and sports coaches in my area, it is always good to know people in your area and connect. In the past, I have either recommended or sought recommendation on employees or interns with other coaches I have become acquainted with. And I have said it a thousand times, you never know who or what you can learn from. My conversation with the manager started off great, but as soon as I mentioned that I worked up the road at a different training facility, he turtled up and got real short with me. I felt the temperature drop to frigid as he made me feel very unwelcome, treating me like I was some sort of CIA spy stealing his secrets.
I left there a little disheartened. I prefer not live isolated in my little concrete cell of a gym. I personally don’t believe that all other trainers are a threat to me. Instead, I believe we can all learn and share ideas with each other and help each other grow. Are we all so convinced that we can do this on our own? That we already have all the answers and that we can learn everything we need from the safety of our homes on an illuminated computer screen. No, friend, I refuse to be some sort of professional hermit, afraid of the rest of the world.
Take Ego Out of the Equation
Ego, the idea of self-worth and self-importance, is not necessarily a bad thing. What is a bad thing is, the anxiety that your ego is threatened by those with different experience and back grounds than you. The idea that your self-image and worth can feel threatened by others attitudes and experiences. We will all struggle with ego in our lives, but I urge you, in your professional life, to take ego out of the equation. Understand that you don’t always have all the answers. That you don’t always have the solutions, hell, you may not even recognize the problem. And that sometimes, someone else just flat out knows better than you. This shouldn’t be threatening to you. On the contrary, it should be a relief, because now you have a source to learn from. That person that had more experience than you, or knew the right answers, befriend them and find out what else they know that you don’t.
That’s something I loved about the college strength coach community. I always knew the other coaches within a 60 miles radius, and I considered many of them to be friends. Every season, I went on a road trips with my teams, and the coaches at the other schools always welcomed me with open arms. Giving me tours of their facilities, sometimes finding the time for a meal or a beverage. I always felt welcomed, instead of being greeted by locked doors and cold stares. The same thing at the national conferences, I never felt there were big ego battles, I would look around the room of hundreds of college strength professionals and see smiling faces, laughs, and handshakes.
Those acquaintances became great resources for me. People I could ask questions and talk training with. People I could observe, not talk but just watch, and learn new things from. You need people like that in your life if you want to grow. You need to be able to take the defense shield down, put yourself out there and leave your comfort zone. Don’t isolate yourself. Whether because you are meek, or whatever other reason. The good people out there want to talk and discuss and learn from each other.
I am going to set a goal for you. Over the next 6 months, seek out and introduce yourself to at least 4 other professionals in your area. Maybe they are college coaches, sport coaches, gym owners, personal training, physical therapists, or anywhere in between. Meet new people. Learn new things. develop relationships. Grow as a person and professional.