I know most people out there are of the belief that they don’t need a coach, that whatever a coach can teach them, they can just teach themselves. Whether it’s about life, business, workouts, a lot of us go at it full speed ahead guided by our own beliefs of what we think it’s the right way to do it or better said the right way for us. And most of the times it does get us to a good point. Not a great one, but a good one, a place that’s comfortable enough, but it’s definitely not the best we have to offer.
This past weekend I went running with a friend of mine who’s running skills are simply put a few notches up from mine. I’ve been doing a good job taking on running in the past few months, going from having an aversion towards it to actually looking forward to it and hacking my own way into improving my endurance and my speed. But this was different, it wasn’t just me going at it alone, letting my own limitations of how fast I can go get in the way, it was my friend setting up a faster pace for running, while I set up a higher bar for the workout after. We were each other’s coach, if you will and the improvement we felt in one day was amazing – faster pace, more reps on the interval training, all done with a smile of encouragement on our faces.
One of my favorite coaches out there, Pete Carroll said “Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” I’ve had a lot of coaches over the years and I’ve been a coach to many people too. Most of the times, these were not official positions, but more roles that came somewhat naturally at one time or another.
Let’s take athletes for example. We sometimes attribute excellent performance to natural ability, we think Michael Phelps has become the most medaled Olympian because his body was built for swimming, because of his long torso, incredibly long wingspan or whatever other physical attributes make him the perfect swimmer. And he makes it look easy. When he wins, he wins with grace, he’s far ahead of the person who comes in second, and he comes out of the water looking like he barely exerted any effort. However, according to his coach, Bob Bowman, for the 2004 Olympics Michael Phelps trained every single day for six years. Let’s put that into perspective, he not only got in the pool every single day for six years in a row, but he actually trained for hours on each of those days. That 2192 days, six hours a day, which makes it 13152 hours. Talk about dedication!
What makes Michael Phelps an incredible athlete is not only his dedication, but also his willingness to take coaching, to make changes, to adjust, to trust the Bob Bowman can push him past his own limitations to become the athlete he is today.
Your coach doesn’t have to be someone you hire in an official setting, your coach doesn’t even have to bear the name Coach, your coach can be a friend, a family member, a coworker, a person who’s simply willing to push you past what you think you can do into your own excellence. So find a coach who challenges you, who pushes you to do that last rep, to reach out to that one person, to send that email, make that phone call, the one who pushes you to change your life in ways you never thought possible. And while you’re at it, be a coach for someone else too – it will teach you a lot about your own limitations.