There are plenty of articles on this subject already out there, but I’d like to put my own spin on the topic, based on my own experiences of working with successful people. Working with various professional sports teams and coaching successful people; including Managing Directors, Professors and Senior Managers has taught me a lot over the years. I’d like to share five qualities all of these people and teams share:
1) Motivation from within
Successful people clearly understand what they want and why they want it. They set goals and follow them through. My most successful clients are often the ones who, when we first meet, give me the most detail about what they want to achieve and can clearly explain how their life will be better once they begin to succeed. They value their health and fitness very highly and understand how getting stronger, moving, living and eating better is key to improving all areas of life outside of the gym. They are committed, determined and disciplined to succeed and back their words up with actions.
2) Positivity and perseverance
Successful people are hard workers. They make their own dreams and enjoy the satisfaction of their own journey to success. I’ve worked 18-hour days for weeks on end with people who remain positive and focused around the clock to get the job done under hugely demanding circumstances. Where many people would complain or give up in these conditions, successful people keep going until they achieve what they set out to do, even if they keep encountering failure. They understand that working hard and putting the hours in ultimately pays off.
Equally, I’ve trained people who are trying to juggle managing their own business or full time jobs, have young children and various other commitments but still find time to prioritise their training and nutrition. They understand and experience the benefits that strength training and good nutrition brings to their work and family lives due to increased health, strength energy levels. Lifting also gives these people a stress-busting release from the demands of their hectic lifestyles.
3) They are highly organised, disciplined, take responsibility and rarely use excuses for a lack of success
People who take a structured approach to planning their training, nutrition and lifestyle factors are the ones who achieve the most success. My most successful clients are the ones who:
– Record a food diary, seek advice on how to improve their nutrition and then show how they’ve made improvements over time.
– Follow the training programme they’ve been set and plan when they’re going to train on their own, tracking their progress with a training log.
– Are punctual and consistent in their training.
– If they lapse in their nutrition or struggle to train as planned, they don’t make excuses or complain about it. They accept responsibility and crack on by getting back on track immediately.
4) Eagerness to learn and open-mindedness
I have some clients who are always asking me detailed questions about training and nutrition. It turns out that these are some of my most successful and consistent clients. It shows that they are passionate about their health and strength and are always willing to find out and apply new knowledge and techniques to further improve themselves.
Picture the following scenario:
It’s January. Monday evening. You’d planned to train chest. There are no benches available. What do you do?
Rather than waiting and complaining, a successful person would quickly look at alternative exercises: weighted press-ups, deficit press-ups and other press-up variations, floor presses, dips etc. Or they’d plan to train a different body part where there’s a better chance of equipment being available (see point 3 above).
Successful people expect a spanner to be thrown in to the works now and then. It’s how they respond positively to make the best of situations that sets them apart from others.
Here’s a little story for you:
I was responsible for organising the training schedules of 16 of the world’s top youth football teams during an inaugural pre-season tournament in Malaysia back in 2007.
Clubs represented included the likes of Barcelona, AC Milan, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain.
At one point, all 16 teams were located in the same city which put a massive demand on training venues, especially as these teams are normally used to training at some of the best facilities available.
I organised the schedule as best I could with the teams and with the limited number of quality training venues at the time, eventually persuading the local stadium manager to have many of the teams train back-to-back in the stadium on the same evening.
I observed the teams that I couldn’t manage to schedule in for sessions on this day and even saw one of these prestigious clubs training on a patch of partially flooded scrubland behind the hotel! Other teams opted for gym and pool sessions, and trained when and where they could.
The lesson I learned was not to locate 16 of the world’s biggest football clubs in the same city with limited training venues!
The main lesson for everyone here is that the most successful people/teams make the best of a situation by being adaptable.
In this case, finding a way to train, even in extremely limited and challenging circumstances.
This ties in with all of the other qualities I’ve talked about: The teams showed motivation to train, positivity, perseverance, took responsibility, were open-minded to different options and ultimately adapted to the completely different environment they were placed in.
Sure, they complained at first, but in the end they just got their heads down, made the best of the situation and got on with it!