Here’s a personal anecdote that happened to me that I think says something about talent, how we assess it and factor it into our decisions.

benchpress_by_usodesitaI’ve wanted to start working with a personal trainer for some time.  Last year I talked about it with my doctor and she made some recommendations to me.  We worked on my diet and I spent most of last year getting the nutritional picture right (my doctor has an emphasis–and expert training–on functional medicine, which is exceedingly rare to find in my experience).

So I started looking at gyms close to where I live.  I was also looking for a personal trainer that specialized in a fairly new methodology called cross fit

First gym:  closest to my house, new building, local-not a chain.  I felt homey when I walked in and the owner gave me a quick tour.  Nice aesthetics: as you do cardio you look out the windows onto a lake.  I met the head of personal training.  He seemed professional and as I mentioned cross fit training, he played along but I wasn’t sure he knew what I was talking about.  He asked me to wait a second while he went to get another trainer to talk with me. 

Dr. “Ken” came out and talked with me about what I was looking for.  He wasn’t trained in cross fit, but confident he could help me.  He asked about my diet then proceeded to call into question everything my doctor had been doing with me.  He didn’t ask many questions, but he acted like he had all the answers.  It just so happened he also came from my hometown (in another state)–small world.  But this potential rapport clashed with his rough manner.  Besides being a trainer (and the most expensive one, he informed me) he was also the designated nutritionist at this club.  The deal breaker for me was when I realized that throughout our conversation he had been spitting in the trash, and what he was spitting was part of a wad of chewing tobacco in his mouth.  I kid you not!

Next gym:  a little further from my house but still close enough.  Much larger and more anonymous than the first club, but well-equipped.  Lots of space to move around.  The head of training gave me the tour then listened to what I was looking for.  He had one trainer certified in cross fit, but he wasn’t working that day.  I wanted to interview the trainer, so I arranged to come back the next day. 

When I returned the next day, Blake was working with another customer, but he talked as he worked.  It gave me a sense of what he was like in action.  He obviously knew what he was doing, communicated confidence  and was professional.  He was young and talked fast, but I didn’t hold that against him.  I could see the talent and I knew I could work with him.  I haven’t regretted my decision.

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