Your degrees & all the letters next to your name don’t mean JACK SH*T
Before I left my consulting job in 2008 to work full-time in the fitness industry, I deliberated for 5 years over the decision for two reasons…
- I was afraid to leave a “secure” office job with a steady salary and health benefits because I wasn’t sure I could create the same “security and safety” of my office job on my own working for myself as a personal trainer; AND
- I suffered from Imposter Syndrome. I had a BA in psychology, so how am I “qualified” to work as a personal trainer?
I remember having a conversation with my brother about this…
He has a BS in Kinesiology and is now a DPT and at the time (2003-ish) he was working as a personal trainer for Equinox in NYC.
He knew how miserable I was working in an office and how much I loved working as a part-time spin instructor and knew that my most authentic self would only be able to be expressed by helping people and by making an impact by working in the fitness industry.
He pointed out that I had been moving my body athletically and working with coaches since I was 3 years old (ballet, kung fu).
Based upon this practical experience, I understood movement, coaching and how to coach people and my degree didn’t matter.
My practical experience alone qualified me.
I knew he was right, but there was still a part of me that didn’t feel “good enough” or “qualified enough” to work full-time as a personal trainer.
Fast forward to 2008, I passed my NASM-CPT, obtained a kettlebell certification and finally left my office job to work full time in the fitness industry.
When I left my job, my boss said to me,
“You will be successful because you truly care about people and you cannot fake that.”
As I moved forward in my career, I stayed focused on learning, showing up authentically, and truly caring about my clients and helping them.
However, Imposter Syndrome still creeped in once in a while, ESPECIALLY when I started to be invited to speak to groups of other coaches and at fitness events.
From my first speaking engagement at Crunch at 34th Street in NYC to Perform Better, the Mark Fisher Fitness Lab and many others, I couldn’t believe that people wanted to pay ME to give a talk.
BUT a larger part of me knew that I had something to share that no one else did that helped people, AND what I had already shared had made an impact.
Fast forward to 2017, I was hired as a Strength and Conditioning coach for Cirque du Soleil.
At Cirque, the Strength and Conditioning department was structured so that there were two full time strength and conditioning coaches and all other coaches were part-time hours (12-15 hours per week) and either solely dedicated to one show or a floater across shows who filled in as needed “on-call”.
I applied and interviewed for both a full-time and a part-time strength and conditioning position.
Even though I was “qualified” I did not have a degree in Exercise Science so I was not hired for the full-time position.
A coach with an Exercise Science degree was hired for the full-time position.
Initially, I was hired as a part-time, on-call strength and conditioning coach.
After about a year of filling in at other shows, I was assigned as the dedicated strength and conditioning coach for KÀ.
I was assigned KÀ to replace one of the full time strength and conditioning coaches who had a BS in Exercise Science and a Masters in a related field.
When I replaced this coach at KÀ, this coach was transferred to another show.
When I started at KÀ, strength and conditioning morale was at an all-time low.
The energy and environment in the training room was almost toxic.
Training numbers were way down and many of the artists were conditioned to believe that strength and conditioning was meant to be a beat down and leave you sore for days rather than help build you up and make you stronger to support your performance.
When I arrived, I put good music on the stereo, kept the training room neat and tidy, smiled and greeted everyone as they entered, made a strong effort to understand the specific physical demands of each artist’s work in the show, plus I communicated proactively with Performance Medicine.
Within a short time, training numbers skyrocketed.
I had a wait list for people to train with me and often fit artist’s sessions in on top of the ones already scheduled.
The strength and conditioning room became a warm, inviting place, with good music, good vibes, laughter, love and joy.
I worked my magic, which really wasn’t magic at all.
It was just me being authentically ME…
AND based upon my many years of practical experience of ballet, kung fu, and kettlebell training, I knew how to write strength and conditioning programs that SUPPORTED what the artists did rather than BREAK them.
I also truly CARED about helping them.
This had NOTHING to do with my degree.
As coaches, we are in the relationship business so if you don’t truly care about people’s well-being or about helping them, then you will not be successful.
You cannot fake this.
This desire to care comes deep from within and it must be authentic because if it is not, people will see right through it.
BUT when you DO truly care, authentically, people are drawn to this energy and know that you can and truly will help them.
CARING is a key element to being a great coach.
When I said goodbye at KÀ, it was one of the hardest things to do not only for me, but also for the artists…
Because we all knew, degree or no degree, I was one of the best strength and conditioning coaches that they would ever work with.
Do you struggle with Imposter Syndrome and the feelings of “not good enough” or “not qualified enough”?
Please share your story by sending me a message, I’d love to hear from you!
Sending Vibes of Positivity & Abundance
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