80/20

“I got love for the game, but I’m not in love with all of it.”
T.I      

I love my job as a Strength Coach and fitness educator.  As my second career it’s hard to see myself being happy doing anything else. That said, I’m not in love with a sizable portion of the industry and it seems the things I dislike outpaces and outnumbers that which I like.

I believe my former career heavily influences my perspectives on my current career.  My former career was spent in a low admittance community comprised of roughly only 10% of the total U.S. Navy, and in my direct field under 5%. The odds of getting into Yale or Princeton are better.

I grew accustomed to working around high performers and forgot that this isn’t truly representative of the average. I simply expect more of people that put themselves in positions of leadership or teaching. While there are disadvantages to holding this outlook, namely in the form of social isolation,being viewed as an elitist or contempt from co-workers I have no intentions of changing just yet.

If pressed to name one thing that I believe would change things for the better it would be raising the standards to become a trainer. There are simply too many trainers out there that are both in my opinion and reality ill-prepared for the job. Educational pedigree alone isn’t enough as there are well educated trainers that cannot apply their academic knowledge in a practical manner on another human being.

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Based on personal and online observation gathered from several decades of training I’ve come to the belief that theres an 80/20 reality to things. 1-2 out of every 10 trainers are skilled to well skilled. These are the “thinking persons trainers” and compared against their peers they can often seem over-qualified.

Another 1-2 out of 10 can reach that level with mentorship,education,time and personal dedication. Some reach this level faster than others and age is not an indicator. I’ve met and spoke with exceptionally talented and promising twenty-somethings and ran across more than a few over the forties idiots.

The others will remain at a certain level and never reach full potential, or perhaps they already did and thats it.  Ironically, it’s this lower spectrum that believes, and has no problems telling you how great they are as their high number of Instagram followers stand as proof. The thinking trainers on the other hand are often out to learn new things or dig deeper into their existing knowledge. They get better with time.

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“I genuinely don’t think there’s anything to gain by keeping him around.”
Silvio Dante- The Soprano’s

This Pareto principle specifies “an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that, for many phenomena, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained.”

In a community of trainers the task is to align with the thinking trainers and cut ties with those that will never leave the 80%.  Cutting ties comes with its own set of consequences and is something in which I take no pleasure. A relationship that exists with only one side doing all the giving means the other side is doing all the taking, and the taker might not even know the value of what they’ve been given or grow from the professional generosity of others.

To the 20%, continue to develop yourself and try to improve all manageable and controllable things around you. Seek out the promising, and be the coach you wish you had. The profession is a better place with you in it.

To the 80%, step up or step out.  Whether you believe or even recognize it, your actions reflect on all of us.

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