People often ask me if I love what I do. Sometimes they ask if I ever get sick of it. Just a few days ago a client asked me if I ever get bored teaching the same thing all the time. I don’t hesitate with the answers to any of these questions as they are yes, no and no respectively. That conversation prompted me to go back and read a little piece I wrote about a year and a half ago entitled “What Consumes Me”. To date it’s one of my favorite things that I have written. Just a couple days after that I was sent this Ted Talk video, which I highly recommend watching. It’s very similar in that it seeks to answer the why in what we do or in this case business. The presenter’s main message is that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. This very much reminds me of the old adage, no cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
In an effort to address my “Why” I will first look at why I train myself since that’s where it all began. If I didn’t enjoy training so much myself I can’t imagine trying to teach others. I think ultimately it is because I am competitive. I wanted to be a better athlete. I wanted gain an advantage to be better than the next guy. When I thought my athletic career was over the only thing I could envision was trying to be a bodybuilder for lack of something better to do. Then my focus turned more toward the sport of Olympic weightlifting and finally toward the Scottish Highland Games. Second to my competitive nature, once I discovered my love for the iron, and ever since then, it’s been my daily therapy. I don’t train everyday but when my schedule changes unexpectedly (almost never really), and I have to miss a day without prior notice I’m unhappy. I need my therapy. Finally, and this took a while, but you might imagine most teenage boys don’t think about this, training makes me physically feel better. It hasn’t always been this way, but when you train smart you don’t always feel beat up. Just 80%, at least 80% of the time. Putting all of this together, what have I learned over the years? It’s about the journey. The process of bettering myself. It can be a physical battle but it’s also mental and for those who love it like myself, it’s a long road. But that’s the fun part. There are so many trials, tribulations and people along the way but I try to embrace them because I love it.
So why do I coach? Why don’t I get tired of the same things? Like Simon Sinek asks in the video, why do I get up in the morning? Why does our organization exist? I feel like this is either a hard thing to answer or the easiest thing in the world to answer. For as much as I often enjoy being alone I think I love people. In Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” he says we can discover the meaning of life in 3 different ways; (1) by creating work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; (3) and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. This last one volumes of books could easily be written about but I just try and keep a positive attitude and not get too caught up in the things that I can’t control. I feel that point number one is covered. I get fulfillment in my work. As I said before, training makes me happy and when others are happy (or inspired) to take part, it makes work amazing. I’ve been a part of Ambition Athletics since Day 1 and am very proud of all that we as a team have created, as it is what we believe. Point two deals with relationships. This took me a long time but I now see that life, work, all of it, is about relationships (thanks Coach Dave) and I cherish those. I know that I love everyone that trains at AA and have developed some amazing relationships but I’ve also always held a special place in my heart for the many young kids/athletes that I’ve been lucky enough to work with over the last 6 ½ years or so. I am
not afraid to admit that I can recall several occasions when those kids have brought tears to my eyes, but there, I just did it. I always say “I love those kids”. I guess I really do mean it. Why do I get up in the morning? I love all of those people and I do want to inspire them to tackle new obstacles and accomplish more than they ever thought they could.
One of the other questions Sinek asks in the video is, “What is your purpose?” It reminded me of something that I just read in the book “Practice Perfect” that says “Achieving compliance is an exercise in purpose, not power.” That makes perfect sense to me as we talk about education a lot at the gym. We want to teach and have people learn when they’re at the gym not just yell at them to do “stuff”. And to be honest, I don’t want power over anyone really. I just want to help them “get better” and show them how and why. It does not matter to me how each person defines “better”. It can mean different things to different people but the feeling I get when I see the joy on their face after accomplishing something, no matter the magnitude, is the greatest thing in the world. Anyone that seeks to change his or her body or life through training I love to help. I can’t get enough. If someone is even remotely excited about training or even inquisitive I’m excited tenfold.
The other two parts of the Golden Circle that Sinek talks about are the What and the How. Generally we all know “what” it is. It’s just training. Simple but not easy. How? We have been studying the best methods and constantly continuing our education to make sure we are offering what we believe are the best methods to achieve goals. Why? Because we/I have genuine passion to teach, help and inspire.
– Mike Baltren