What mindset do you need to be agile in your fitness career? To set the stage, your answer really matters right now… because the fitness industry has been rapidly evolving in the past 15 months, and the stakes have never been higher.

And while the industry is shifting, you have to be able to move quickly to adapt to changing conditions. That means everything from moving online service delivery, to creating online/hybrid offerings, to moving your workouts outside when weather permits … and adapting your business model (and everything that goes along with marketing, sales, operations and more) to the changes.

Here’s the good news… we’ve seen lots fitness professionals and business owners make changes and succeed, including many that have had their best months ever in terms of client success and revenue during the pandemic. One key for all of them was they learned a specific mindset: All of them, regardless of how afraid they were, decided to commit to adapting.

Now that’s easy to say, but what does it mean? Being agile in your career means being willing to try new things and FAIL. It means trying to grow in new directions and MAKING MISTAKES. It means falling in love with the process of failing until you succeed.

Here are some suggestions for creating the career-agile mindset that will take you through the choppiest waters:

1. Recognize lack of confidence is the normal starting point. So many people are scared of making mistakes and want to be perfect before they go and take action. People lack confidence.

We can talk about going online, but people are still scared. You may lack confidence to grow in a new direction. After all, you don’t know the new directions. You may make mistakes. You may fall flat on your face.

And that’s especially true if you’ve been doing it the old way forever and have always done it that way. But guess what? That’s exactly the starting point. It’s just like taking a trip you’ve never taken. The first few times through you don’t know the way, and then with practice, you do.

What you can do is: Get a map. Review where you’re going. Talk to those who’ve been there before. Take chances, take risks and commit to the process. And then once you start moving, the fear goes away. If you stop being afraid of failing, your mindset will strengthen and you’ll embrace the process of failure as a process of learning. And as you learn, you’ll gain confidence.

2. Get very clear about your purpose and mission. This one is the most relevant to career agility: Know WHAT you stand for, WHY it’s important to you, WHERE you want to go and HOW you are going to get there. That is, get very clear about your purpose (your WHY) and your mission. When you are clear on what you are trying to accomplish, the steps you need to take become a straight line to that.

If you are seeking to assist your clients in meeting their health and fitness goals so you can provide for your loved ones (for example), then you’re willing to take the steps, gym open or gym closed, to help them. That might mean online. We know one gym owner who moved his spin classes outside in the parking lot for social distancing. That’s agile thinking. The key is to create the steps you need to take to get where you want to go.

3. Surround yourself with people who will support you. “Oh, that will never work.” “No, let’s just keep doing it the way we’ve always done it.” Do not carry naysayers along for the ride. Attacking challenges, making mistakes and embracing failing until you learn and grow, that’s a difficult enough process. You need support. You want people who will inspire you to go grab a compass and explore.

To summarize, career agility means falling in love with taking risks; bringing focus to your risk-taking by clarifying your purpose and mission; and finally, surrounding yourself with people who will support and inspire you to take risks, help you when you stumble and cheer when you succeed.