What my group fitness instructor mistake #1 can teach ambitious people
'I just need to get better in ...'
'I just need more experience before I do ...'
'I just need this one more certification before I can start ...'
Ambitious people always want more. More of everything.
It's a good trait to have, until it's not serving the purpose anymore and actually holds us back.
What I love working with high-flyers is their hunger to excel, their drive to do better than good and to not accept the safe and comfortable status quo as their end goal.
Not going to lie - I am and always have been very ambitious. I love to learn, to grow, to challenge myself and to become better.
It started early on when I got into group fitness at the age of 14, eventually became an instructor when I was 16 and wasn't only the youngest instructor in Austria but also changed the law (as back then, it was allowed to only teach when you are 18+).
It didn't stop there - I did one certification after the next, spent more time and money into qualifications that were hip and others had and tried to get good in something that I didn't really enjoy.
Because that's what I thought was the only way for me to compete with the top instructors.
My goal was always to have full classes, make people smile whilst nearly crying because of training hard but enjoying the feeling of overcoming their own limiting beliefs.
I started with 3 people in my classes but managed to build it up to 40+, at least 3x 2h a week. It was pretty good back then, in fact, my classes got consistently ranked in the top 3.
And then there came Pilates. And the hype around it. The classes filled up quickly and I thought the whole industry is shifting.
So what did I do? I became certified Pilates Instructor, spending 210 hours practising and teaching...
Not going to lie ... this was by far the leeeast enjoyable class for me - attending and teaching. I started with full classes but the attendance dropped, whilst other pilates classes boomed.
My other - high intensity - classes continued to grow. I had to regularly turn people away. Yes - it was kind of a cool feeling as a late teen ... :)
It wasn't until I spoke to my hard core and die hard fans, who attended religiously all of my high intensity classes for years and also followed me into Pilates that a penny dropped.
'No offence, but your classes are kind of boring. Ok - they are really boring and an hour takes forever ...'
Boom. There it was. The brutal but very honest (and quite frankly spot on) wake up call for me to realise that I was trying too hard to fit in, chasing something that others were chasing and forcing myself to like it.
This was also my very last Pilates class that I held. Ever. I didn't even substitute any after that.
Instead, I asked the Head of Group Fitness to add another HIIT class, a new and freestyle format that I was thinking of for a while.
A mix that I often did when I was training by myself and wanted to test my limits.
It didn't even take 6 weeks for this class to get in the top 3 classes again, launched across the other 3 gyms that were part of the chain and attracted not only my die hard fans but also a lot of guys from the fitness floor who never attended a class because 'it was just for the girls'.
The moral of the story?
You don't need to do more of something that's shiny and seems to be the missing link to your success. You don't need to simply work harder to get better in something you don't really enjoy. You don't need to force yourself to fit in a mould, just because it seems like a trend that everyone else is following.
What is it that you are great in, that you - when doing over time - can become the best in and attracts others to follow you?
This is where the magic happens and where you will stand out without even trying hard.
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