Following on from my recent blog about information overload, I wanted to share the following story, told to me by one of my mentors a few years ago when I was feeling overwhelmed with the amount of I felt I needed to learn, wondering how I would ever know as much as those I looked up to.
A brash tourist is on safari in Kenya. He asks his guide to take him to see a lion on his own so he can take photos up close.
“No no”, says the guide, “lion does not like photos”.
But the tourist insists he wants to get close to a lion and nags the guide until eventually he agrees to take him.
Before they set off, the guide takes a small rucksack from his truck and slings it on his back. The tourist briefly wonders what’s in the bag but thinks nothing more of it.
After walking for some time the guide spots a lion in the distance. “Take photo here” he says to the tourist.
“No, I want to get closer” the man replies.
“Too dangerous” the guide warns, but again the tourist argues and convinces the guide to go further towards the lion. So they carry on walking, the tourist with his camera, and the guide with his rucksack.
After another minute the guide stops. “Lion too close,” he whispers, “you must be quiet”.
“He won’t hear us” says the arrogant tourist loudly and begins setting up his camera, with all its clicks and whirrs.
“Uh oh”, says the guide, and the tourist looks up to see the lion has noticed the two men and is staring at them closely. Then it starts to take a few steps towards them.
“What do we do?” asks the tourist nervously.
With that, the guide quickly but calmly takes the rucksack off his back and out of it produces a pair of trainers, much to the tourist’s surprise.
“What are you thinking??” he exclaims, “you can’t outrun a lion!”
“I don’t need to outrun lion”, the guide replies coolly, “I just need to outrun you…”
As a personal trainer, there will always be other fitness professionals you aspire to be as good as, and you will likely always feel there is more to learn than you could ever know (that’s a good thing – it means you don’t get complacent). But don’t put undue pressure on yourself - you don’t need to be the world’s best trainer to be successful. Remember that as long as you are able to coach, educate and support your clients more than they could help themselves, you are offering them a valuable service.
Paul Swainson is Head of the Future Fit School of Personal Training, a role to which he brings over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. Having run his own personal training business and worked as a PT manager and tutor for some of the UK’s leading brands, his aim with the School of PT is to provide the next generation of fitness professionals with all the support and resources they need for a successful career. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSwainson