If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Less Potential, More Talent

TAGS: dress the part, be on time, career advice, harry selkow, training clients, personal training

elitefts™ Sunday Edition

I was sitting in a pre-opening meeting for a gym franchise that had asked me to speak to its employees before the next day’s grand opening. Mind you, I rarely prepare speeches and usually just talk off the top of my head and from the heart. Ask Dave Tate. He took my notes from a Learn to Train seminar I had presented at and was leveled to laughter by the notes I had for the hour. This can be both good and bad, depending on who you talk to after my diatribes. Regardless, I was at this gym to present and fire up the crowd. I started with something like this...

Well, isn’t this really exciting? We're sitting in a brand new club with three floors and 157,000 square feet of overwhelming and unbelievable potential. There is potential to make the owners happy with income. There is potential to make the staff a decent salary and have a place to practice your craft. There is potential that the utilization of this space can and will make your members stronger, faster, more enduring, and certainly more sexy (laughter).

Do you want to know what my definition of potential is? Potential is unused or wasted talent.

(Silence)

Hear this—potential is unused talent! Let me explain how it's more important to turn that potential into the talent that it can be. No matter what, remember these three rules to better the talent and lessen the potential.

First—show up! By showing up, you'll separate yourself by 75 percent  from most people who never show up no matter how long they’ve worked for a company. Give an honest day’s effort for an honest day’s wage. Earn your keep because other than this company giving you a job, which I'm sure you earned through the salesmanship of yourself, they owe you nothing more unless you show up.

I really don’t know the percentage, but by not rounding the number, it gave me unbelievable credibility.

Show up when you feel good, show up when you don’t, and show up on sunny days. Show up on days that look like the last days of life as we know it. Show up on days when you feel horrible and have a supervisor or fellow worker tell you, 'You look like garbage. Go home!’ Show up on your birthday, anniversary, or any time you're scheduled to be there because working is what you do to earn your keep.

Second, be on time! On time doesn't mean showing up on the hour when you're to begin your shift. On time doesn’t mean rushing to set yourself up. On time doesn't mean greeting the people in the parking lot on your way in. On time means that you've prepared and calmed yourself down to greet whatever crisis might be coming down the pipeline. On time is arriving far in advance of the mayhem and disasters that you're being paid to extinguish. On time means being there before the earliest arrival. By being on time, you'll increase your talent by 10 percent.

Side note: What's the definition of late? Any time after me! I get up early and work my tail off. If you're there before me, you get less sleep than I do.

Finally, show up and be dressed. By adding the ‘be dressed’ part, you'll increase your standing by another 10 percent. (Again, credibility.) What do I mean by ‘be dressed?’ Dress in the uniform of the day. If you're a membership coordinator, have a crisp, clean, and pressed shirt on. Polish your shoes, shower (use soap), and brush and floss your teeth. For God’s sake, don't chew gum. You’re assisting people with their goals. You aren't selling them a used car.

If you're a fitness coordinator, assistant, or expert, don't look as if you just finished your own workout. Shower, wash your hair, and comb it. Wear a fresh and presentable shirt that fits you well. Don't shop in your younger brother's dresser drawer. Furthermore, that tight T-shirt that squeezes your arm doesn’t make your arm look bigger. It just makes you look stupid (laughter). We all know that guy.

As for the ladies, present yourselves as professionals. Wear the clothes like the guys. Show that you actually practice what you preach, but don’t reveal body parts that will make you look as if $20 is the goal for the hour.

Maintenance staff, you're the cardiac muscle of this facility. Without you, it doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, the programs don’t work. If the programs don’t work, no one gets what they signed up for and many people will be very un ef’n happy.

[Yes, I used the explicative for dramatic prose.]

Be clean in your personal hygiene as well as in the work areas. You are the best at what you do and by no means should that be taken lightly. You aren't maids and butlers. You are the heartbeat!

If you want to reach the 99 percent of the talented, then not only do you need to show up and be dressed, but you also need to be ready to play. Ready to play means that you have your game face and all the necessary items to be successful in that next hour at your fingertips. Ready to play means that you know what training program you're going to incorporate. Ready to play means that the fight you had with your significant other or spouse isn't an issue right now. You've swept it under the rug and are ready to participate at a level that seems uncompromisable. Ready to play means that you've been properly fed and aren’t worried about ingesting or evacuating food choices. Finally, ready to play means that you're properly rested without symptoms or issues and have everything you need locked and loaded.

By putting all these suggestions to use, your day will run smoother, you’ll be more successful, and you'll feel more gratified that you have added something of significance to someone's day. You will be less potentially awesome because you will become totally awesome! Try it for yourself.

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