“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” This quote from Carl Jung is a gamechanger if you just pause to give it some reflection.

Fifteen years ago I was angry, frustrated, jealous and jaded. Mostly, I was terribly sad. Sad because I had tried absolutely everything you were supposed to do to become a successful fitness professional. I followed the goal-setting experts. Listened to the success gurus. And did the work that the ‘hustle’ authorities claim is required. None of it worked for me.

In disbelief that I would ever achieve my goals and exhausted from trying to make it happen, I started believing that I was broken. While my friends and colleagues were crushing it and on the cusp of even greater heights, I was bound for mediocrity. That was my fate… until I started making my unconscious conscious.

Success – so I came to realize – isn’t about working to become successful, so much as releasing yourself from the reasons you’re not. I had a “story” in my unconscious and without realizing it, that story played on repeat. All day. Every day. It was the cause and source of something we know very well: self-sabotage.

We live in such a testosterone-heavy culture (and industry) that is forever telling us to just ‘kick the door down,’ ‘get after it,’ ‘be relentless,’ and ‘kill it.’ But that stuff never worked for me and I’ll bet it doesn’t work for you sustainably, either.

The “gentle way” is often confused for being less effective, maybe because it lacks the dramatics of the motivational messages we get bombarded with. But it is the only way that creates lasting change. You have an unconscious story that is speaking to you at every moment of every day that you usually don’t pay attention to. But it controls your life.

Take a moment to think that all through. You may resonate with my story in this industry. Now, think about your clients. The ones who self-sabotage all the time. Who can’t ever seem to take consistent steps forward, are full of excuses or don’t always take your advice. Remember that shaming them, growing frustrated with them, firing them, or assuming they’re lazy isn’t ever going to help or be the right answer. Because, like you, they have a story. An unconscious dialogue that plays on repeat and keeps them stuck.

Fitness professionals must evolve and come to realize that mindset is much more than just motivation.