When Your Best Effort Isn’t Enough
Failure is feedback.
In my early days as a Metafit coach, I knew I wanted to offer a fitness service above and beyond just giving exercise classes, I wanted to give my clients the edge – so I searched for a nutritionist to help educate myself and my clients on the best way to fuel our HIIT workouts.
It took some time, and I rejected some proposals feeling that they weren’t quite meeting my brief. That being that I didn’t want standard healthy eating or weight loss advice, I wanted to FUEL my clients. Eventually through networking and perseverance I was put on to a Newcastle based Sports Dietician who came highly recommended.
I consulted with him and realised he knew exactly where I was coming from on what I wanted and we ran a series of workshops for my clients.
I learnt a lot from him and really enjoyed the nutrition perspective, but I knew I was only scratching the surface, and he was limited in time to come up regularly so I decided to invest in some education for myself.
I knew I didn’t need a 5 year degree in Dietetics, but I also knew that I didn’t want another bulk standard Certificate 4, having completed many in my adult life across a range of vocations and being somewhat underwhelmed with the content.
So I looked internationally, and I recently completed a 12 month nutrition course, which was on a deadline to study over a year, and complete 4 exams in order to pass and offer stand-alone nutrition services.
I thought I put in the best effort I could, but it wasn’t enough.
On my weekends and between teaching 25 face to face sessions in my business weekly, and running the business, I listened to endless lectures ranging from the fundamentals of energy systems and the digestive system to metabolic flexibility in athletes. I watched some of them x 3 to make sure I got it.
I gave up most of the spare time I had between work and family. I knocked back time with friends regularly. I know nothing worthwhile is earned without some sacrifice.
I found the content challenging, but within months all of this learning was starting to pay off in my client work. I felt like the missing link had been joined in my skills to train and educate people. My clients started getting better results and I now feel so much more capable as a PT.
In the month before the exams I booked a solo weekend away with an esky full of food and bunkered down in a remote cabin and completed approximately 1,000 revision questions, which I used to identify my weak points for revision.
To my surprise, I knew a lot more than I felt like, getting results of 80% + in revision quizzes by module.
I still stressed heavily about the exams. I still felt like what I had put in wasn’t quite enough. I had personal stuff going on with family health too, and the tutors made it clear to everyone that if unforeseen circumstances occurred, it was ok to extend the course.
I’ll be right I thought, I just wanted it DONE. I was sick of this hanging over me and wanted to move on.
I achieved in the first 3 exams: 100%, 90% and 68% respectively. Awesome!
Where did it all come undone?
In the 4th and final exam – I completed them all in one long weekend – and I was well over it by then to be honest.
In hindsight, I should have done the most taxing exam first, but I felt that completing the knowledge based exams first would fortify my recall for the final exam of 2 x 60 min case studies which were essentially essays. A 2 hour exam, in one sitting, with the clock ticking down at the side.
Long story short, I choked. I had a plan written out on how to meet the marking criteria, and I never referred to it. I went into panic mode once that timer started and I blurted out what I could, a bit waywardly. I incorrectly assumed that my other exams would get me over the line.
When I got my results, I felt a hot flush of shame and anger at myself for wasting my own precious time – and, how embarrassing!
But I realise now it’s a bit of a positive.
I’m not ready to offer nutrition services. I’m flat out with the summer fitness rush and I’m working 7 days a week. I’m mentoring one of my clients to become an instructor, and I don’t have any of the systems I need to set up ready for on boarding and servicing nutrition clients. I don’t have any time for appointments.
So, I’m kind of looking at it as a blessing in disguise.
I’m actually really glad the standard is so high, and I’m being held to that – because it will ultimately help me achieve my professional goal of being set apart from the pack, and offering more to my clients.
I can re-sit the exam, I can take my time to go back over my feedback and my notes and marking criteria, and hopefully this time I’ll feel less pressured and mentally fatigued, without having completed 3 exams prior to this one. (some fellow students have to re-sit the 4 exams in their entirety – it could be worse!)
Practice makes perfect.
Near enough ISN’T good enough.
If it was easy, everyone would do it……
I might be able to coach clients to lose ups to 20kg and keep it off, which I’ve done multiple times in the last 2 years – but showing up wasn’t good enough on this occasion.
The same can apply to your fitness goals.
If something isn’t working for you – where is the weak point? What can you improve on, what do you need to PRACTICE more? What do you need to do better?
This is not a cop out but I’m a strong believer in learning from mistakes, and that if we did everything perfectly the first time in life, we wouldn’t learn as much as we can by facing our failures head on, putting any shame and blame aside, and moving forward!
Do you agree?