‘A 1000 mile journey begins with the first step’ - Lao Tzu
We are so driven by outcomes that we forget about the enjoyment of those steps it took to get to that very outcome. I will draw on an example I am familiar with. Being in a privileged position of educating thousands of trainers, I can always detect who is there just for the certificate (Outcome). When I ask ‘why are you here’ sometimes the reply is ‘to get accreditation points (which keeps them registered as a trainer/coach) or ‘qualified’ which is a classic response. This is not to say that they are completely wrong for being at the course. Rather it is a mind-set shift that needs to occur for them to appreciate, learn and enjoy the process of getting their accreditation points and being certified.
The outcomes are not wrong but their motives are. By shifting our focus away from the outcome (future tense) we can focus on enjoying the journey (present tense). By being present and focused on what it is we are doing, the outcomes do not become an end point. Once we begin our career or family life as a process, we appreciate things for what they are and not what they may look like a month from now; a year from now…
As trainers, teachers and coaches, it is tasked upon us to be present to each and every moment we spend with our clients, students and athletes. We may only spend an hour a week with them yet you need to make it count. How you design and deliver the session is dependent upon the energy you give. That is why the advice I always give is to steadily build your client base to ultimately manageable levels whereby you can give 100% every time. Not only will you avoid burnout but you will create a more enjoyable environment for your clients too!
So long as we are replenishing our energy stores, then we too will enjoy the process of training a client, teaching our students and coaching our athletes. The universal law of ‘what you put in you get out’ applies in this context. Our journey of a 1000 miles must begin with us. Before we take that first step towards making the decision to pursue a career as a trainer or coach we first must be psychologically prepared, ready and pumped to take the journey.
Once we shift our mindset and focus on the process everything becomes a flow. In his wonderful book ‘Flow’ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about this concept as a way for us to be engrossed in everything we do. Only if we can place our ‘physic energy’ into our work will we begin to experience the flow effect.
Consider the flow within your training sessions for your client and group and you will reap experience after experience akin to something of greater and deeper purpose than ‘getting someone fit’. You are impacting their life on multiple levels. Consider that!
If we treat life and what we do in our personal and professional lives as a process we will continue to enjoy each and every outcome, even if it seemingly does not go our way. For us to begin our journey we also need to know our WHY or purpose in life. This will be discussed in our next principle ‘Focus on Purpose’.