The inspiration for this post goes to a great coach, that I heard speak not too long ago, Alex Viada and his post on Facebook the other day talking about learning on the job before you get into your own business.
Everyone these days seems to have the same thought 6 months to a year right out of college, own their own business. While it is has the ups of working for yourself and doing things your own way, folks tend to just simplify it way too much. I was one of them.
In 2012 I was working for a company that outsourced personal training to gyms all over. I won't name them here because this post is not about them, it's about the lessons taken from the likes of them. To no one's surprise it wasn't the best company to work for, I was unhappy and felt under appreciated as well. In what was almost a desperation move I thought about opening my own place to make myself happier. Luckily these thoughts never quite materialized, at least not until about 3 weeks ago (3+ years later). Of course my little know it all brain recently out of college didn't have that approach, but I found a way out that wasn't opening my own place and took it.
There were many obvious reasons I wanted to make this jump, I drove an hour each way (mostly my own doing), I banged my head against a wall trying to get better (so it seemed) and I felt undervalued. There were plenty of positives to take from this as well; I had some great coworkers including a fellow trainer I'm still friends with today, I had great clients also some of which I consider friends today and I was getting a metric shit ton of hands on experience.
Where I landed next was a bit of luck for me, both good and bad. I found a place to work where I wasn't the top of the food chain and had to fight to even try to climb that ladder. Luckily the trainers/coaches I worked with were really open to helping me get better, many people I now call friends were met at this little slice over those years. It was also a heck of a lot closer than the establishment previous to this distance wise, also a positive. The facility wasn't half bad in terms of equipment selection to top it off.
Like all places there were some bad things as well, and for awhile I was able to get past them because of the coworkers and colleagues I had. Eventually the writing on the wall became clearer and clearer, it was time for me to form my exit strategy, and I did. The job had become a bit stale and as will happen you get staff turn over and it was no longer the family I had grown with (note: staff turnover in commercial gyms is a far above average occurrence compared to other work places).
Other than the 2 gyms I worked at, I had 3 internships that I went through at some great places. Those types of experiences will humble you and kick you down a few pegs. At the same time though they provide a great platform for learning. Each one had it's own way of teaching me in both things I should know in the exercise sense, but also things I should know as one human being working with another.
In closing here's the things to remember:
1. You WILL have some jobs you don't like, coaching and non-coaching alike. Learn the things here that you DON'T want to do.
2. If you have a desire to own your own business, be patient with that idea of yours. Get some experience elsewhere for at least a few years, if not more, then pull the trigger.
3. When you finally reach that point to where you are actually ready to take that plunge, do it! Do it with all your heart and apply EVERYTHING you've learned over the years to the best of your ability.
4. Don't just listen to me, I've only been at this for a little under a month, find someone else that has 10 times the experience I have and learn from them too.
That's all I got today folks, have a good day, go out there and get after it!
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Jarrod Dyke, CSCS