Oneof the great things about the personal training industry is that it is a young,vibrant business that is growing and evolving every day. To some degree, we arepioneers or trailblazers moving into uncharted territories; we can create ourcareers and lives. Personal trainers work with celebrities, professional athletes,average Joes, injured, fit, old and young, live or online -- and even bytelephone. The variations seem endless. There are not many jobs that can makethese claims.
Theother great thing about personal training is that, while it isyoung, there are already many, many great people that have come before us thathave started the ball rolling, and we can learn from them. While we arecreating new ways of doing this business, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can emulate and refine what they have done. This goes for exercise techniques as well as business sense.
In my career in fitness, I have looked up to and learned from some really great teachers and fitness educators. I have gotten to know some of them personally, which has been a wonderful experience. I have also looked outside the world of fitness for inspiration and for lessons that I could take and apply to my career. I really believe that successful people have common traits that help make them successful which extend beyond their respective disciplines.
Here are a couple of my role models and what I have learned from them:
My dad. My father is a self-taught mechanical engineer that rose up through the business ranks to become president of a high-tech company that served the apparel manufacturing industry by designing robotic sewing systems. When I was young, I often helped him fix things around the house. Even if he didn’t know what he was doing, he would just figure it out. Occasionally, however, we would hit a dead end, where something was just “stuck.” My favorite expression of his was “If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it.” This was his way of saying that we were doing something wrong. We needed to take a step back and figure out our next move. “Forcing it” would result in something being broken beyond repair. When you hit a road block, step back, ask better questions and figure it out. Don’t force it.
My mom. Like my father, my mother was an immigrant from Germany shortly after World War II. She lived through unbelievably tough times as a child growing up in the middle of a war. This has shaped her and made her who she is and has always been. You could never meet a more positive person; her glass is perpetually half full. Slow service in a restaurant doesn’t bother her. Power failures don’t faze her, and if we have a blizzard, she starts shoveling. By comparison to living in wartime Germany, everything is a piece of cake. The business lesson to take is that you should always live and work with a sense of gratitude. If you are breathing, eating and nobody is bombing you, it’s not as bad as it could be.
Choose your role models wisely. Study what makes them successful, and see if what they have could help you in your career.
Ernie Schramayr is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and the owner of All Canadian Fitness, a private training studio in Hamilton, Ontario (www.allcanadianfitness.com).