Hi All,

I have been out of the blogging game for a fair while, but thought it was well and truly time to get something down, and there have been a few situations recently which have inspired me to put fingers to keyboard and jot something down.

I run a service based business and as a result personal interaction with clients and potential clients is just about the most important part of my job. People are much more likely to train with someone they have a connection with. I could have all the knowledge in the world and revolutionary programs but unless I can communicate them to you in a way you are cool with, I’m never going to have very many clients. So, the name of the game for me is to be approachable and genuine in my role as a personal trainer. I have to believe what I say and also have a real interest in what you, as a potential or current client, have to say to me. The second part is probably a lot more important than the first. If I can’t understand or empathise with your situation, I have no chance of helping you succeed at anything and I may as well be speaking another language to you. Hopefully my current clients will back me up and agree that generally I’m pretty good at understanding other people’s situations, perspectives and opinions. This may sound like I’m pumping my own tyres here but, and this is the point I am shortly going to arrive at, I really don’t think I am. Having the outlook I just described, being able to relate to and understand other people is genuinely not a difficult thing (for someone not impeded by disorders such as autism or depression). It is about respect. If I can show respect for you as a human being, I can easily understand your perspective. I don’t have to agree with you always, but I can value your place on this earth and everything will flow from there. People say that respect is earned, which I agree with. However I think that you don’t start at zero. I think at a minimum, every person I meet, until they prove otherwise, deserves the respect you would wish others had for those you care about (one of those you care about is you!). If I meet a potential client, I should afford them the respect of my family and friends (this doesn’t mean lending them money or helping them move, but treating them seriously and kindly). Through her actions she can then dictate whether or not I gain or lose respect for her and I can adjust my actions towards her accordingly. This is my philosophy and at the risk of sounding like an old codger, I think there are less and less people who follow it these days.

I am not sure when it happened, maybe it’s always been the case and I am only recently becoming more exposed, but I firmly believe that a very large portion of our population coast through life agreeing that respect is earned, but beginning everyone else’s respect meter at zero. You cannot have any amount of respect for a person and treat them the way a lot of humans treat their own kind, or animals for that matter. You can turn on the news or watch your Facebook feed and have a constant stream of examples of the disgusting behaviour of the modern human. However I am not talking about these viral or extreme examples as I believe they are just that, extreme examples that do not apply to the majority. I am honing in on the basic respect and good manners that are rapidly disappearing from our society. I can name any number of causes: The removal of most of our need for social interaction as we’ve become digitally connected, the abundance of everything meaning that nothing needs to be valued, the changing social norms when it comes to dating, the explosion of pick up artists and negging culture as an example, the bidding war for your dollar has stripped you of respect for those trying to earn it. I could go on for hours. The picture is clear though, respect for others is quite antiquated when it comes to survival and progression these days. When your social skills are less developed than your social media skills, it can become quite bothersome to afford someone respect, especially when all they want is your money and there are twenty more like them just around the corner. This works both ways; many businesses and business people show a complete lack of respect and at times disdain for the people who put food on their plate.

I, as a service provider in a saturated market, am a prime candidate for being treated with very little respect by those who are prone to it anyway. The field I am in will naturally attract these sorts of people, I believe. The amount of last second emergencies that come up are extraordinary. I feel that I must be living in Summer Bay or on Ramsey Street if I am to believe all the things I hear as to why people cannot do x or y on a given day. I have it stated in my sign up agreement that either party must endeavour, where possible, to give 12 hours of notice when cancelling or rescheduling an appointment. This is common courtesy and 90% of the time, you will know whether you can make an appointment or not within this time frame. I understand there are emergencies and that the more people you interact with, the higher the chance that something will genuinely come up for a number of them. I feel confident that the current clients I have on my books have similar values to me. It’s rare that I will receive late notice without a genuine reason. I think it is little coincidence that these are the people who have stuck around and the people I described above, those showing absolutely zero respect to another person, have drifted off into the ether. This is precisely my point.

I firmly believe, and continue to get examples to support this, that you cannot have respect for yourself if you do not respect others. You can have ego, hubris, arrogance and self-belief but unless you can display common decency and genuine respect to your fellow human, you cannot respect the person that you are. I believe on some level, most people are aware of this. Some people simply express this lack of respect for themselves outwardly by their actions towards others. I also firmly believe that your exercise journey is a near perfect reflection of the level of respect you have for yourself. I always tell clients that having a trainer or a friend to train with is the best, because you have the accountability to show up. Once again, the people that have stuck with me are those for whom that statement is true. Many others will find that no matter who they are training with, it will not work. Something will come up; there will always be a reason to not train, to not eat better. What it has taken me a long time to realise, and I still struggle with it, is that this is not about the trainer or the friend. This is an internal struggle that people are fighting, knowingly or not, to find value within themselves. I know many people who, once committed to something, would not dream of backing out without the most compelling reason; they value themselves too much to be the sort of person who would do that. I have known many others for whom the opposite is true; they have so little respect for themselves that it means nothing to them to let down their friends, family or business associates.

To get to the end of this long thought, it therefore becomes obvious that there are people, becoming more and more prevalent in the days of saturation, social media and increased social isolation, who simply have zero respect for themselves and this sad fact will manifest itself time and again in the way they act towards others. It is so important, as someone who does place value in themselves and therefore affords others the same respect, to learn (I am still trying and probably will be for a long time yet) that when someone is rude to you, shows you no respect or handles your time, feelings and effort carelessly that these actions are not about you. They may be directed at you but the truth of the matter is that it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the bad place the other person is in. Once that sinks in, it becomes easier to forgive, easier to offer a hand and to not judge too harshly. Of course at some point, a person must step up to the plate and realise the effect of their actions. It is foolish to continue to offer chances to someone who has no interest in helping themselves. At some point, which you can decide, it becomes time to remove the bad eggs from your daily life. Do not continue to be held back by someone else, their struggle is their own and you now understand how little it really has to do with you cut the cord. As has evolved for my business, not through any conscious effort mind you, try to maintain only those in your life who add something to it. There are those out there who will build each other up, and those who are so empty they can only tear down what is around them to level the playing field. Who do you want to spend your time with?

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, this is absolutely magnified when it comes to fitness and exercising. The nature of exercise means that it puts who you are under the microscope and magnifies it for everyone to see. This is why it can be so intimidating but also why it is so rewarding. You will find out who you are. You might not like what you find out but you will find out, even if you do not acknowledge it. It takes a very brave person to look at their results and admit they have been slack and undisciplined. It is a weak person who will blame their circumstances. Exercising will find out who you are, unequivocally. I said earlier that you need to surround yourself with people who add things to your life, not those who take away. The number one person who will either add to your life or take away from it is, unsurprisingly, you. Not everyone is capable of giving an honest answer about the type of person they are, but whether you can or you can’t, the answer is right there.

I have seen the changes in people who were able to be honest with themselves, I see many of them every week. Respect is a two way street, you cannot have it for others without first having it for yourself.

Show the world you’ve got what it takes!

Until next time,

Yours in training,