In my last column, I shared with you an exercise reminiscent of a Mad Lib with five quick fill-in-the-blank statements. The objective is to keep you from over-thinking and over-strategizing what niche you should make your career focus and instead use your intuition and passion as a guide. [Click here to read more]

I find that many fitness professionals, especially when they are new to the industry, don't have a clear vision of where they want to take their career. While there are of course exceptions, I would argue that many professionals find that they are more successful and more satisfied when they focus their time, energy and expertise on a particular niche.

If you're still navigating your opportunities in the industry, here are three guidelines that may give you more direction:

1. Realize that discovering your niche evolves as you evolve as a fitness professional: you may not immediately know your niche
Our July/August Journey to Success featured professional Dan Ritchie, for example, initially started his career thinking he wanted to work with athletes. However, he eventually realized that he did not enjoy training athletes and found he was attracting a senior clientele. Turns out he really enjoyed working with active adults and has built a successful and robust business dedicated primarily to active adults as a result.

2. Pursue a niche because you love it, not simply because the market dictates it
While there will always be trends in fitness, don't rely on those trends to dictate who or what you train. If you open a ballet barre studio because it seems to be the going trend at the time but at a core don't enjoy or don't believe in it, you're setting yourself up to fail. But if you believe in the methodology of training and resonate with the clientele it attracts, run with it and you'll be a success.

3. A good master is always a great student
Put simply, never stop learning and never think you've mastered a niche. When you stop learning, you run the risk of becoming stagnant and stagnant in our industry means you'll be left behind. Are you established as a fat loss expert for moms? How else can you augment your services with new training techniques, services or out-of-the-box strategies to make yourself even more invaluable to your clients? Always look for the bigger opportunity.

As you continue to pursue your career in fitness, continue to reflect on what is giving your career most meaning and purpose. When you're working in your zone of genius, you're more likely to succeed long-term!