I remember years ago, 11 to be exact, I walked into the pro shop of the golf course I was working at a knocked on the door of the Head Golf Professional. I said “Pro, I what do I have to do to become a PGA professional”. He gave me the list of skills and education needed to earn the coveted Class A PGA Golf Professional title. Then he asked me “Why?”, I replied with the cookie cutter answer of I love to play golf. We went back and forth on this and he challenged me to really think about this before I made the decision. The more I look back on this time with Pro I realize how this lesson of why I wanted to be Golf Professional translates into knowing Why I wanted to become a coach.
Fast forward the years of struggling to pass to the playing test, the hours of book work, and 3 separate weeks spent in Florida at PGA Education center taking the hardest written tests of my life and finally had that little Blue Card. What isn’t talked about when going through all of tis are some of the sacrifices that are made to earn this designation of PGA Class A Member. First, I first chose it as a career because I loved to play. Well guess what happened when i landed the first Head Golf Professional job, I STOPPED PLAYING. I now didn’t have the time, or so i thought at that time in my life. There was always something to be worked on at the course, budgets to fix, employees that don’t show up, members who need you now, not in 10 minutes when you have the time, etc. Over the course of my 11 plus years as a golf professional I grew to dislike the game of golf. I wanted to leave the course as soon as my shift was over. The more I distanced myself from what I used to love doing the more my quality of service as a Golf Professional slipped away from me. Eventually, leading to me completely leaving the golf industry over 3 years ago. Since the day I last worked as a Golf Professional I have played a total 27 holes of golf. (9 of those left handed, normally I play right handed). Going back a looking at the flow of career in golf it make me look at mine and some of my colleagues current work/life balance and see similarities.
How many gym owners or coaches do you know, possibly yourself included, that began coaching or opened your gym beaus you loved CrossFit? I’m sure you came up with a good list of names that all fell into that category. Now, I’m not saying every coach or every owner out that goes through this cycle, but I do believe there a good amount that at some point have been through a part of this. Here is little example of my own journey from coaching to ownership to leading a full team of coaches and the cycle of my own downward cycle.
I began CrossFit in 2012 at local affiliate, well officially started CrossFit, I had spent time in 2010 working with a trainer at an MMA gym in North Carolina doing a lot of the same stuff. When I started I immediately fell in love, wanted to know how to do everything, lift more weight, jump higher, run faster, do pull ups, then muscle ups, and so on. In early 2013 I went to my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer course and had the great pleasure of being taught by Chris Spealler, (One the OG CrossFit Athletes and smartest Coaches out there). I came back from the Level 1 and sat down with the owner of the CrossFit Gym I was at and asked if I could have my own class to coach. We decided that I would add a Friday night class to the schedule and we would call it Benchmark Fridays. This allowed me to also program for the class and learn more about class plan writing. Each week ran a different benchmark or variation of a benchmark. After about a year of running this class and coaching some other classes, mastering some skills myself I decided that it was time to share CrossFit with more people. I set out to open another CrossFit affiliate in a neighboring town. After working with the owner of that gym on finding the right location for my gym and what structure we would have in the beginning it all came together a few months later. In April 2014, Pepper Fitness was born. We would be the home of the affiliate CrossFit Port Royal Sound. I coached most of the classes in the beginning, worked out in the middle of the day when there were no classes and jumped into some night classes when another coach covered class for the first few months. As we got busier, it got harder for me to find time for myself. If i had free time I wanted to be helping others reach their goals. By the end of 2014 another coach and myself had started working out around 2pm every day. He would come in on his lunch break and make me stop what I was doing and workout. It was the only way I was going to take the time for myself. Well when he moved in after the Open in 2015 I noticed that it became harder and harder to stay in the routing of mid afternoon workouts. What used to be 5 days, turned to 3, then to 1 and eventually i found myself skipping exercise completely.
Let’s fast forward to December 2016, I am still battling with making time to exercise. Notice I didn’t say finding time, there is plenty of time in my day to do a workout. I just chose not to give that time to myself. it was in December that I knew I had to make time. I started jumping back into a few classes here and there and going for short jogs in the neighborhood. Then the worst happened, I was out running with a friend and the next day I woke up and my knee was the size of softball and I couldn’t bend it. I tore my hard cartilage and for the next 9 months used it as an excuse to why I couldn’t exercise. Are you seeing the trend here from my days as a Golf Professional show back up in my life as a fitness professional? What started as something I loved to do myself turned into work. As I stopped doing it myself, more excuses came in to why I couldn’t or chose not to do it. When I realized this the first thing I did, and I recommend you do if you feel the same way, is to go back to the basics. I started jumping in with our bootcamp class and just moving. Not working about times, weights, skills, etc. Just have fun and exercise. Then I’ve added some CrossFit classes back in, man do members love having us in class with them, and I’m keeping the workouts basic and fun. I look at each work out and decide what can I do to make this workout a little more fun. Maybe its lower weight on the bar so I can continually move rather the have to rest because its heavy. What modification can I make to avoid my knee injury but still build some strength in my legs to keep the knee safe. This new outlook is making fitness fun again! I’ve even been doing some spin classes in my garage just because it’s fun and I get to do it along side my wife while the baby sleeps.
So what can you do to take back control of your career? Look back to your original why. No matter who you are your why for doing things will change over time. But those who can stay closest their original why will be the happiest. This works not only in your personal fitness, like I wrote about above, but also in your business or career. No matter your industry or profession finding the fun and enjoyment again will refresh your love of what you do or in some cases open the doors for something new.