Lessons learned with Coach Taylor

April 14, 2017

Because I’m 5’10’ and everyone in my family is athletic, it was a natural assumption that I too would have some sort of athletic ability.  Sadly, I have always been extremely uncoordinated and never made the sports teams in High School.  Lacking those “athletic gene,” I was always fearful to try any sort of real fitness program that extended beyond the elliptical machine.
For 2016 though, I had big goals, wanting it to be the year I finally got my “pre-baby body” back.  Before I knew it, all but the last quarter of 2016 had passed and my progress wasn’t where I wanted it to be.  That’s when a friend told me she was going to try out a new fitness studio and encouraged me to try it with her; she described it as “high-intensity circuit training” and my initial reaction was, “no thanks.”  My friend persisted and so with much trepidation I joined, and the lessons I learned have not only helped me excel in my overall health goals, but in business as well.

Finding the right fit

The first workout I attended was just an awful experience.  The coach made me feel extremely self-conscious and publicly shamed me for not being able to keep up…I was NOT going back.  The fitness studio manager called, apologized and pleaded with me to give it another try but with a different coach.  For some reason, thoughts of my first business came rushing back and I remembered how although I managed to have some sales success, operating costs outpaced revenues and I became frustrated, having no desire to continue because it just wasn’t a good fit.  Later in my professional career though, I dusted myself off and determined to try again.  In 2013, I jumped back into working for myself and had a completely different (and positive) experience because I had found the right fit personally and professionally.  So, with that professional experience in mind, I sucked it up and went back to the studio and met Coach Taylor.

Think about why you started

As I walked in for the second time, Coach Taylor was giving his pep talk before we began, ending his speech with “Alright you all, focus on why you started, let’s go.”  Why was I starting this crazy, high-intensity circuit training workout?!  I could definitely find other things to fill my time but I wanted a better me, an in shape me, a stronger me.  It was the same reason I started my own business, I wanted a better me, a less stressed me, a more patient me.  Corporate America had gotten the best of me, I was overly stressed, overweight, overtired and was lacking appropriate patience toward my spouse and children.  Now when I feel like I can’t go any further during a workout or feel frustrated as a business owner, I will take a moment and think about why I started – ultimately, both have led to a better me.

It doesn’t get easier, you just get better

A couple of months ago, I asked Coach Taylor, will this ever get easier?  He (of course) laughed and said “no, it doesn’t get easier, you just get better.”  And I’ve found that to be true; the more I attend class the stronger I get, the more confident I feel in my ability, especially with those TRX straps.  In the beginning, Coach Taylor was constantly correcting my form, but over time, I have become better and better.  It’s one of the reasons it’s wise to have a coach in business as well, because we can’t always see the areas where we need improvement.

Challenging but doable

I remember the first time I said “I just can’t, my body just can’t do that.”  Coach Taylor just wouldn’t let me off the hook that day.  He told me that not to let my mind take over, that my body was more capable than I thought and in most cases, it was just a matter of changing the negative messaging in my brain; yes it’s challenging, but it’s doable.  On this particular day, it was an exercise using the ab dolly (of which I am NOT a fan).  He continued his encouragement by reminding me that “no one has ever died using an ab dolly, at least not that I know of.  You can get through this.  It’s only temporary.”  This made me think of the task in my business that I struggle with the most, making calls and reaching out for new business.  With a bit of positive self-talk (“challenging but doable, and likely that no one has ever died from making phone calls to land new business”), I’m able to get past the negative mental block, just like with the dreaded ab dolly.  Over time, I’ve learned to replace “I can’t” with “it’s challenging but doable.”

Base, push and all-out

Knowing your limits and pacing yourself is key.  Throughout class we are challenged in different “zones.”  “Base” is your comfort zone.  Your “push” pace is required to take things to the next level and requires effort.  Your “all-out” is when you give it everything you’ve got to accomplish the goal, which requires getting uncomfortable and going well beyond your comfort zone.  In business, the struggle is knowing at what pace you should be working from day-to-day, hour-to-hour.  Some would ask “why not work all-out all the time?”  Just as in a workout, it’s not feasible to always go all-out because you would eventually burn out.  While it’s important to consistently maintain at least your base pace, you need to structure your time and adjust your pace based on your goals so that when it’s time to push or maybe go all-out, you have the energy you need to get the job done.

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