'One of the things I’m most proud about my career is I’ve managed to keep my options open' - Clive Owen, Actor
Keeping our options open means we are not stuck or obsessed with one way of doing something. If you are a school teacher and all you do is recite text books back to students will they remain engaged? Probably not! This principle is related to our ability to be creative and to learn to play with the rules. Think of the rules as being our logical way or mode of doing things. This is healthy because it helps us to be consistent and to perfect the basics of our craft. If you are a sports coach, you need to learn the groundwork of creating ‘drills’ that will get your athletes appreciating repetition as the mother of all learning.
Creating options in your career or work life enables you to not be limited in the way you see the world. It is not spreading yourself thin because you have many things ‘on the fly’. Far from that, when we keep our options open, we are still focused on being the best coach we can in our given role. All the principles to this point, interrelate and if you take one of them out then you cannot appreciate this principle enough. Now back to the essence of the message.
Let’s take a leaf out of the fitness coaching sphere which is what I know best. In this industry, it is about getting people moving with an array of techniques and equipment (let’s call them tools) that will eventually entail progress and results for the client.
‘It's only a tool!’, you say. But it is how you teach it that makes it a thing of physical purpose.
There is often an obsession about the latest thing or fad and that includes the type of tool we select to train clients and athletes.
Is the kettlebell a superior option to the dumbbell and if so why? How about the viper, oh that's the best thing right! We can be victims of our own enthusiasm sometimes. We are full of passionate intensity forgetting about the bare boned basics and needs of our clients and athletes. At the end of the day having a tool box requires the right set of tools that will best serve your clients.
Some clients or athletes will prefer using the kettlebell over the dumbbell; others don't like to bench press and prefer weighted push-ups. The point is to give them options. And before you can provide those options you need to place yourself in an environment of endless learning which we will explore in greater detail in another principle.
Reach out and understand client’s preferences rather than making it a mandate to use this tool or that method. At the end of the day creating options gives you more choice and ability to leverage your skill-set as a coach.