Intrinsic motivation, external motivation, patience, being coachable, confidence, positivity, humility, and more. If you don’t have these traits right away that’s okay. The beauty of working out is that it teaches you a lot of these characteristics along with life lessons that can be utilized both in and out of the gym. While many of these will help you be a more successful lifter and better person in life, one trait remains supreme right off the bat.
If you didn’t already know, for many years I worked as a sales rep in the beer industry. Like most jobs, there was a yearly performance review period at the end of the year. I rate myself in certain categories, my boss rates me in the same categories, and then we have a discussion and compare our ratings. At the end I get feedback about my performance (and then that hopefully leads to a raise, but that’s neither here nor there).
Feedback often came in the form of constructive criticism. You know, the thing people often get all bent out of shape about. Nobody likes to be told they aren’t good at something or that they need to improve in certain areas. Everyone wants to think they’re the best at everything they do.
My performance reviews were usually good. This particular year my boss was going through everything I needed to improve on. It hurts to hear that you need improvement especially on things you thought you were good at. However, he stopped and said one thing to me that I’ll never forget.
“You take constructive criticism better than anyone I know. Most people get offended and defensive. Not you. You take what I say seriously and actually apply it and use it to improve yourself. I really appreciate that about you. It makes doing your review a lot easier because not everyone is like this. Most aren’t.”
While I was slightly taken aback, it also didn’t surprise me in the least. If someone saw opportunities for me to improve, why would I get defensive about that? Why should I be upset at being able to develop my skills more fully and become better overall? I shouldn’t.
While my story has absolutely nothing to do with the gym, it still applies very much. There are always opportunities to improve in the gym, especially if you’re a beginner.
If you are not coachable you run the risk of injuring yourself. I know it’s nice to pack on the plates and think you’re stronger than you probably are, but what happens when you hurt yourself from poor form for the sake of appearances? If there were ever a place to drop your ego and be open to criticism it’s in the gym.
Of course, I don’t mean taking unsolicited advice from the bro benching 225lbs for reps, yet he barely brings the bar halfway down. I’m talking about from qualified professionals. It’s exactly why being a member of Kansas City Barbell is so valuable. With floor coaching, you have qualified coaches that are there to help correct your form, demonstrate proper technique, and ultimately teach you why you’re doing what you’re doing and how it fits into your overall big picture fitness journey.
Being coachable allows you to learn and have an open mind. There’s a saying that goes, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably in the wrong room.” You want to surround yourself with those that can help you and whom you can learn from.
Again, I know how tempting it is to think you know it all and don’t need anyone’s help. I’m as stubborn as they come and have my moments where I think I know best. But that’s exactly what a coach is for. They take an objective and unbiased look at things and see the opportunities for improvement that you likely have your blinders on for. If you haven’t hired one, I’d highly recommend doing so because it could make a world of difference for you.
I mentioned this before, but the gym is a world in which many traits and lessons that can be applied to life are learned. Being coachable is no different.
You can be coachable in quite literally every area of your life. Some of them include:
I mean you name it and I guarantee you there’s an opportunity for you to learn something new, even if it’s small.
By being coachable you are allowing yourself to become better and at the end of the day that’s worth it even if the initial criticism hurts. Allowing yourself to learn from someone more experienced than you can only help if you take it seriously.
The next time you think you know it all I encourage you to open your mind, drop your ego, and be open to being coachable. You may just learn something that helps you or changes your life.