Not your best effort...

I have been struggling all month to think of something meaningful to write for the June blog. I’m aware that it’s not that widely read or changing anyone’s life; however it is important to me to choose something significant to write about and put in effort to do a good job. I learn a lot from these blogs as I create them.

This year’s blogs to date have covered some pretty heavy topics that deserve more than the confines of a single article. Each time I have started with something that bubbled away inside and gave me energy and motivation to write; as well as conduct research to make sure what I was saying was accurate and well informed.

This month I got nothing. There’s been a few ideas that have wafted across my field of vision but nothing that has given me the energy to write the monsters I have been churning out recently. I also don’t want to write something for the sake of writing it; I want it to be worth reading. Except this month.

There will be no references at the bottom of this entry; instead I am going to take some of my own advice. In fact, it’s advice many people need to heed. A quote struck me when reading a news article on organic carbon storage and cloud seeding. Both are quite controversial ideas for helping to keep global heating within 1.5 degrees. However, as this scientist says, we don’t have time to come up with the perfect solution right now; we need to take action with the best information we have and learn as we go. As he put it: “Perfection is the enemy of good.” If I was more inspired and energetic I might take this into an empiric analysis of the role perfectionism plays in our daily routines, the psychology behind it and steps that you can take to mitigate its detrimental effects. Not this time though.

I often say to clients: “Not every workout will be your best workout. In fact, all of them except one will not be your best workout.” We often get caught in the trap of thinking that unless this particular effort is the maximum effort or produces the best result, we let ourselves down. While it is true we should aim for both of those things; nobody can reasonably expect (however most of us unreasonably expect) to be 100% at the cutting edge of their game at everything they do ever. That is far from how we do. Every single person has off days. Having an off day doesn’t invalidate your on days.

With almost zero capacity to follow this advice personally – although I am attempting to get better at it – I find it most helpful with clients to focus on patterns rather than individual occurrences. If a client has an off day and doesn’t think they are up to training because there are other more urgent things (urgent does not mean emergency, they could more urgently need to have a night to themselves to unwind and have as little human contact as possible) that is not a problem, we can reschedule. If a client begins more consistently missing sessions then it becomes a pattern. Now it’s worth looking at what has changed and ways to rebalance things to enable training to happen with more consistency.

Another way to look at this is to find patterns within the sessions themselves. If a client rocks up to a session and is flat as a tack, that’s ok. It happens. Maybe it was a torrid day at work or they didn’t get any sleep the night before. Whatever the reason; they didn’t bring it today. No big; they still showed up and did something good for themselves and we like that. If the same client consistently shows up for sessions with zero motivation or energy; it becomes a pattern and we should investigate further. Are they training at a time that really doesn’t agree with them? Is something going on that means they are sleeping terribly all the time and it’s wiping them out? Am I programming sessions that really don’t vibe with this person? If we can identify the cause of the pattern; we can then look at ways to create new patterns that result in more energetic and motivated sessions.

That’s really all I have to say this time. This isn’t the best blog I’ve ever written and that’s ok. I still did the thing. If I keep rolling out the “don’t have it this month” line; it probably needs to be investigated further. For June, I’m not feeling up to being an investigative journalist and will settle for a, hopefully, helpful anecdote. Not my best effort, but at least I tried. I can cut myself a little slack this time. If it’s not a pattern, you should cut yourself some slack too! So, as always, in all that you do:

#trynottobeadick (to anyone – including yourself!)