Are We as Good as We Think We Are???
Consider this: your best friend tells you that she is going to audition for American Idol and performs her try-out song for you… and it’ s terrible. She can’t carry a tune. What do you do? Do you risk hurting her feelings and tell her the truth; that she is a terrible singer and has no chance of winning? Or, do you play it safe and tell her she sounded great and wish her luck? Unfortunately, most people opt for the latter.
According to Zlatan Krizan, associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University, this is the reason “why we have barriers to self-insight, because often times even if we get feedback, it’s not accurate”. People frequently think they are good at their job or have a talent because of the feedback they receive from friends, family and employers. This leads to misguided and often inflated perceptions of one’s ability, which can affect everything from relationships to career choices.
Many professions, from doctors and lawyers to personal trainers, require the passing of a credentialing examination upon completion of study. These exams are there to ensure competence and determine whether or not an individual is qualified to practice in their particular field. However, simply because one learns the knowledge, concepts and principles associated with a job - does that mean he or she really understands and can actually apply this information? In many cases, the answer is no. Nonetheless, individuals pass these exams and take off into their profession armed with the misconception that they have mastered the necessary knowledge to practice safely and be successful.
For personal trainers, it is that logic, in conjunction with positive feedback such as praise from clients and financial success that makes for an unfortunate and potentially dangerous situation. Trainers start to expand their client base and think that because they are making money and their clients like them, they must be doing everything right. New trainers believe that since they passed their exam, they know it all; while seasoned trainers can easily develop a “my clients love me, I’ve been doing this for so long, I know everything about personal training” attitude. These attitudes represent a very narrow minded approach to becoming an educated and well informed personal trainer.
The health and fitness industry is constantly changing with breakthroughs in research and continuously-evolving training techniques. It is imperative for the personal trainer to stay on top of the latest industry trends via continuing education, to be both safe and successful. Fitness managers should place a high importance on trainer evaluation and provide realistic feedback. However, at the end of the day it is self-evaluation, self-insight and self-awareness that are most important as responsibility ultimately falls on the individual to realize whether or not he is actually as good as he thinks is.