imagesCA0OHT04I have yet to meet someone who is able to make a living in fitness that is not a leader. The very nature of the position of trainer is a leadership role. I do find it very interesting that if you ask most fitness professionals if they are a leader the answer you will receive has more to do with their position with in their organization. Many trainers do not view themselves as leaders because they do not hold a “title” like head of this or director of that where they work. If someone does not view themself as a leader chances are they will not actively seek to develop their leadership skills. This is a massive road block to growth and development for many fitness professionals it’s like a pro golfer never going to the driving range.
What makes someone an exceptional leader?
My favorite definition of exceptional leadership; Leaders connect improbable connections
The greatest quality that leaders can possess is the ability to see value in all things and approaches each situation and interaction with an open mind and heart. When they do this they are able to learn about others thoughts, ideas and practices and while viewing through their own unique perspective and background are able to make connections that will benefit their team, customers, organization and themselves.
The greatest leaders and business don’t just copy what someone else is doing; they have achieved great success through creativity and innovation. Looking at what isn’t instead of what is and then seeking out ideas and resources that will allow them the opportunity to develop something unique by making new connections between people and ideas.
I believe that creativity is the corner stone to be able to make improbable connections. Quieting your mind to the distractions of what has been done in the past or what the standard operating procedure is so you can look at situations focused on the endless probabilities and not the logistics. Intelligence for what is known to solve problems, creativity looks for what is unknown to discover possibilities.
I believe that same quality makes that person an exceptional trainer.
The first person to see that football players could benefit for ballet was an exceptional leader.
He/She was able to look outside their own world and see the value in other disciplines, then was able to connect the 2 into an unlikely pair and create something that was greater than the sum of its parts.
For us to go as leaders with in our industry we have to have the open mind to look for improbable connections. The worst thing that can happen to a fitness professional is to side with one “camp”. To connected with one idea, method or way of thinking and using that as the basis of all their thoughts and design. When we cultivate this kind of mind set we are closed down to new ideas and connections because our knee jerk reaction to them is why they are wrong and why ours is right instead of what is good about them and how can it strengthen what I already believe or am doing. The challenge then becomes “how to I discover the unknown if I don’t know what it is?” The question is valid but the answer is simple; spend time in neighborhoods you never hang out in. If you stay where you are you know what you will find, it is only when we visit someplace new that we evoke discovery. Read a yoga book or take a class, spend a lunch chatting with a Physical Therapists, read a new book that scares you, research a Pilates certification, start using kettlebells, take a community college course in physics, read books on business and marketing that have nothing to do with fitness, watch TED talks on psychology and happiness. There are thousands of different and easy way you can begin to explore new ideas and methods, start with just one and I’m confident that after time your confidence will built and spending time in “new neighborhoods” will be your favorite past time.

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About caseystutzman

Casey Stutzman is an AFAA certified trainer and has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 2004. Since 2006 he has acted as the Head Trainer at the Bay Athletic Club in Alpena Michigan. Casey’s love of athletics and competition drove him in to the fitness industry. He uses his experience as a division 1 college football player, amateur bodybuilding competitor, strongman competitor to help others reach their goals in all areas of fitness. Casey spends his time at Bay Athletic Club teaching Boot Camps, small group training sessions, training clients and working with participants in Bay Athletic Club’s Corporate Fit Challenge program. He also develops strength and conditioning programs and does performance training for a number of local athletic organizations and high school teams. As an Ignite Performance Master trainer and Master Instructor for TRX Casey travels North America to educate and connect with fitness professionals to help them offer more to their clients and athletes. Time outside of fitness is occupied with reading, travel, indoor rock climbing, snow sports and being an active outdoorsman. He enjoys spending free time with his wife Mary Beth, his daughter Vesper, son Indiana and Turkish the family dog.

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