This article is a continuation of the post What Role Do You Play As A Fitness Professional so I recommend you read that one first and then follow it up with this one.
you know what type of training role you are passionate about?
This is a
good question for which there are a number of different and great answers.
Knowing the answer, or at least knowing AN answer, is arguably one of the most
important pieces of insight a human being can have in guiding them to have a
more enjoyable and fulfilling life. The reality is that most people do not ever
think about the question, let alone taking the time to uncover an answer to it
because they simply just follow their nose and go along with whatever comes to
mind from one moment to the next. Plus, it can be hard work to take a personal
inventory and dig into your life in a way that is prying and revealing. This
means that for many, luck is the only way in which they uncover their passion
because their life is just a big experiment of trial and error. The quality of
your life is too important to leave to chance, so it is very important that you
spend some time to come-up with an answer to the question “what are you
article was supposed to deal with personal training but the advice about how
you uncover your passion is general, so anyone can use it. “Passion” is not job
or career specific, it is a technology that one uses for engaging the world
that will predictably create a consistent state of mind that has some very
distinct properties. Experience is necessary for knowing what you are
passionate about, so if you are brand new to the field of personal training you
may want to book mark this page and revisit it after a few months of full time
work. No harm will come of introspection without experience and if nothing
else, it will make you more self-aware that life can and should be meaningful from
moment to moment and not just on pay day.
will need to complete this exercise is a pen or pencil, some paper and about 30
minutes of uninterrupted time. It cannot be done on a smart phone or a computer
because they offer the opportunity for distraction and, more importantly, they
place a layer of distance between the words that flow out of you and how they
appear. It doesn’t matter if it is messy and slow, the goal is to draw out from
your brain the experiences and memories that land as significant, important,
and represent the answers to the questions that appear below.
no right or wrong providing you are doing your best to surface the information
that is being call on and as long as you don’t think about “looking good.” The
truth about the world and about life is that the people who look the best are
the ones who are living their own life doing the things that make them feel the
way they want to feel and not tearing down the journey of other people. Anyone
who cares about the rightness or wrongness of your passions and choices in life
does so out of self-interest and NOT because they have any compassionate
feelings towards you. If you are trying to look good, you won’t to those who
know and like you, so just take the time to answer the questions honestly so
you can get re-calibrated and know which way is forward.
if you find out that being a personal trainer isn’t something you can be
passion about, having a clear picture of the value you need to deliver in order
to have the life you desire is only going to make your life simpler and more
straightforward. Before you know what it is, the answer could be anything and
is therefore massively complex. As soon as you know, the answer becomes one
thing and that is very simple to deal with – achieving it will require hard
work, but at least you’ll know what the work is.
write down the answers to the following questions, the rational for the
questions and other comments will appear below the questions:
1) “What do you like doing” or “what do you get enjoyment from” as it applies to training.
2) “What are you good at doing” or “what have your clients told you that you are good at doing” or “what have your clients told you that you do differently from other trainers that is good?”
3) “Have there been moments that you have experienced while training a client that you are able to bring to mind that you were lost in time and space?” Phrased another way, list all of the training experiences that you have had were your mind was completely focused on the client, their movements and creating the solution to the problem they have asked you for help to solve.
4) “What training experiences have you had that have left you feeling energized or elated and what experiences have you had that have left you feeling completely drained and empty of energy?”
5) “How much money do you need to make per week / months / year to have your needs met, some of your wants met, to be in good standing with the CRA or IRS, and be saving money for retirement?”
6) “When you look inside, are there jobs or tasks that you think SHOULD be done and that you are put on the planet to do?”
Question 1 – Doing things that you enjoy. There is a relationship between enjoyment and passion because it is very difficult to be passionate about something when we are in a negative state of mind. Enjoyment should not be mistaken with feeling good – pleasure is a separate experience and while the two things may go together, they do not necessarily have to.
Question 2 – Doing things you are good at. Getting good at something does not happen by accident. There is a formula – paying attention completely while practicing consistently for a long period of time. It’s very simple, but it is hard work. The fact that you are good at something is an indication that you have put in a lot of the work for some reason. This reason is NOT chance or a random thing. More likely you did it because it didn’t seem like work while you were doing it. This characteristic is important because no matter what you do or how much you like doing it, following your passion in terms of work will not mean that you do not work. The opposite is true, you will likely spend more time working, and most of this work will be at a very high intensity. While it is not impossible that your passion will land on something that you have not yet done, it is best to consider the things we have already done when checking for clues. There is a lot of useful information that we’ll benefit from processing before we go off into the realm of the unknown in the event we need to go looking further.
Question 3 – Being completely present. This is the opposite of clock watching, being aware that other people in the gym are watching you, or wondering what else might be going on. Some might describe this as a flow state or a hyper awareness of the present moment. I’d describe it as interfacing with reality in such a way that your brain and body react to whatever is going on without a moment of thought or consideration.
Question 4 – Level of energy tasks leave you with. I find this question to be one of the more interesting and revealing questions that someone can answer simply because most people do not think about the world in terms of energizing experiences; although most are familiar with draining ones. This is weird given that humans spend so much of their life working. A third of your week days and a quarter of your time is spent in an activity that is aimed at generating enough money to make life possible. Consider that for a second. While is seems like maybe it’s fine if you hate your job, or just don’t like it, but if you were given the task of designing a life for someone else, would you set it up in such a way as to ensure that a quarter of their time was spent doing something that was draining, unpleasant, or the chore that “work” seems to be for so many people?
it this way: Let’s say that you have a life expectancy of 80 years. Consider
that while eating a chicken wing at your 60th birthday party you start to choke
and no one comes to help you out. You die and it’s all over. Now imagine that
no one in the world thinks there is anything bad about this. They just see it
as normal and the way life goes. Lots of people die at their 60th birthday
party. In fact, it’s kind what 60th birthday parties are for. Everyone just
accepts that the final 25% of your life is just taken away because that’s just
how it goes.
stupid thing to think about because we are raised to believe that life is
precious. There is a disproportionate amount of money spent on the healthcare
for those who are in the last years of their life meaning we want to prolong it
for as long as possible. There’s no way anyone would agree to just cut it short
by 20 years and eliminate 25% of it. Except this is very close to what most
people do with 25% of their life. And it isn’t the final years when mobility
and vitality are reducing, we are burning 25% of the time between 25 and 60 –
35 years of living and hating a quarter of it.
why passion is so important and why working at something that leaves us feeling
energized should not just be a luxury, it should be a necessity. Energy is
critical for engaging the world, being alert, and enthusiastically identifying
and solving problems.
Question 5 – The amount of money you need. This question has very little to do with passion per say, but knowing the answer to it will close off a lot of open loops that the brain has evolved to be concerned about that siphon off a lot of useful mental energy. A simple fact about the brain is that it cannot focus on the present when it has doubts about the future. When it is not certain that there will be enough money to cover rent and food next month, it will get caught in a loop trying to solve the problem of getting enough money to cover rent and food. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but thinking about a solution to a problem that you haven’t really realized is a problem is not the same thing as taking the actions that are necessary to solve the problem. In fact, the brain spontaneously seeks out problems to solve even when no problem actually exists, so knowing how much income you need to cover your needs, some of your wants, and your retirement will effectively shut down 85% of the automatic problem finding and solving that the brain gets after.
Question 6 – Your unique purpose for being on the planet. This question has nothing specifically to do with training, fitness, or exercise; although the reason why you do these things might reveal a lot about the answer. Doing a job that fulfills your purpose will contribute more to the quality of your life than almost everything else.
concept of purpose is relatively new, and is a consequence of technological
improvements and the specialization of labour that have allowed us to get our
needs met with incredible ease. Since we no longer need to spend all of our
time hunting, farming, building shelter and protecting ourselves and our
families from threats, we have the ability to expand our understanding of who
and what we are past the boundaries of mere survival. This is both bad and
good. It’s bad because it adds a level of complexity to life that cannot exist
when one is in a constant battle for survival – when scarcity and danger lurk
everywhere, remaining alive IS our only purpose and taking care of things didn’t
leave much room for anything else.
no longer the case, there is a lot of space to fill with novel activities or
things that are done for no clear reason other than for their own sake. We are
now free to do almost anything, and that means that we need to figure out what
that is. This isn’t as easy as it seems given the hollow and empty nature of
many things. Narrative meanings are complicated and not self-evident. The level
of knowledge / wisdom / understanding that is required to accurately articulate
a congruent meaning is remarkably high. It can be argued that without society
the notion of living a life of meaning would simply never have been considered
let alone talked about.
deep. Meaning requires a system of morals / ethics along with a clear
understanding of the scale of experiences ranging from bad to good and then to
better. While human beings may be innately curious and are spontaneously moral
in so far as we know the difference between good and bad, or good and evil, the
plotting of experiences as bad, good, or better is not universally shared. Some
people who love working out will consider an exhaustive near maximal piece of
work to be a better experience than a warm-up that isn’t painful, hard or even
remotely tiring. These same individuals would consider the same piece of work,
if done to unsuccessfully make a connecting flight at the airport, to be a bad
experience. When this is compared to moral rankings, reducing suffering or
improving someone’s well-being are ALWAYS morally positive actions, regardless
of the level of ease at which the goal is achieved and regardless of the person.
said all of this, we live NOW when there is both the free-time to fill with
activities and the baseline level of knowledge to allow for the cultivation of
a narrative meaning for our purpose to life. We are of course able to ignore
this opportunity and just run through life on autopilot, enjoying and suffering
whatever happens to occur. Congruence and consistency are not critical for life
to continue; they don’t actually matter when we get right down to it. Life
however, becomes much clearer and a lot easier when we are able to answer the
questions “why am I here on the planet” and “what is the purpose of my life?” Knowing these things gives us direction and
power / energy to START and KEEP moving in that direction, which makes decisions
easier and creates a strong rational for the logical trade of effort in the
quest for a specific outcome.
have answered the questions, reread the answers over and over again and allow
your brain to track in on the patterns or realizations about the connection
between all of these things. There will be something there that you will have
been living by but have been completely unaware of the role it was playing on
your decision making process. This step is not easy to explain given the nature
of how human beings think and the impact our personal history has on shaping the
specific nature of our individual thinking. But a lack of ease should not stop
you from taking the time to uncover the invisible patterns in your life,
particularly given the huge upside to doing it.
thoughts start to flow into your mind, start writing them down. Spelling,
grammar, and sentence structure do not matter, what is critical is capturing
the thought. Most of them will not be accurate and may not have anything to do
with anything important. But each one of them that you capture will be like a
stepping stone that moves you across the stream. This practice can be helpful
in other areas given how it serves to interrupt your automatic thinking and
force you to critically review the words that you write down. Under normal
thinking conditions, a thought enters our mind, it is instantly accepted as
true and then we reprocess it. This is only the experience of it, the reality
of it is that we have already started to reprocess the thought BEFORE we became
consciously aware of it. By writing it down, we get to go back to the beginning
to re-evaluate the statement for accuracy while buying our brain a little bit
more time to generate other thoughts or possibilities.
The more your write, the better your thoughts will become in general. Some of them may seem silly, some of them will be silly, and some of them will be transformative leaps forward. Just keep writing them down. The purpose of this exercise is not to end-up with a single uniform answer that reframes your entire life as a straight line between related events. That might happen, it has for some, but that isn’t the goal. The truth is that life is so complicated, that YOU are so complicated, that a uniform theory of everything isn’t really in the cards. Instead, you are trying to generate clarity about the interconnections of your choices. There is a thread that joins them all, and that is what you are trying to find and start to pull on.
point you will either have a flash of profound insight, run out of thoughts, or
possibly be flooded with a sense of gratitude. All are fine. Exhausting your
thought stream is a powerful accomplishment, one that will pay off over the
days and weeks that follow. Thinking is both fast and slow. The results can be
instant or they can take time to grow. When nothing more is coming out, you can
be confident that you have pushed a lot of information into the brain that the
slow thinking will be working on over the next few hours and days. Be aware
that these insights will be revealed shortly and be ready to capture them when
they bubble to the surface.
profound insight and sense of gratitude should also be captured on paper. Both
will be staggering to your thought processes and to your consciousness. Both
will steal your attention and effectively hold it hostage for a period of time.
Good, that’s what you want. Emotional experiences that are this powerful tell
us that something very important has occurred and the emotion is the brains way
of telling us to pay attention, learn, and use the information in the future to
shape our decisions.
reach the end – either by running out of thoughts, feeling grateful, or having
a profound insight – make sure you captured everything in writing and then do
something else if you can. Clear the mind and give the brain a chance to
process everything that it has experienced during the exercise.
outcome will be a sentence or two that describes why you are on the planet. It
will be so much more than that though. The sentence or two will contain what
you would do with your time if you didn’t have anything else to do. If you won
billions of dollars, after you got back from a long vacation and grew bored
with eating the best foods and had grown tired of amusing yourself almost to
death, you would do things that were the manifestations of the purpose
statement / sentences. While you may not have the luxury of not having to work,
you do have the opportunity to seek out work that allows you to live your
where question 5 comes in. Most of us do not need nearly as much money as we
think we do. We come to need it because we don’t enjoy our jobs and the money
allows us to distract ourselves from the hellish experience we are living
through. When we are pursuing meaningful work that allows us to actualize our
purpose, we do not need to be distracted from our life. In fact, our work will
give us energy while we are doing it and it will allow us to sleep very soundly
at night KNOWING that what we are doing matters, is helpful, and is a good use
of time. We’ll get paid enough to live comfortably, so we won’t think about
money and will be free to put our full attention into our work, which will help
us do the best work we can. Our clients will notice and respond to this. They
will work harder, recommend your services, and feel completely connect to you
as both a service provider and as a human being. You will grow your business
and your level of wealth will climb.
importantly though is that you’ll be content, valuable, and completely present
when you are working. Your conscientiousness will be at its peak as the right
answers will just come to mind and flow out of you. There will be no need for
motivational self-talk and you will have abundant energy for work and for life.
And this is what living on purpose is all about, having passion for every
waking moment and every action that you get to take!