I was recently asked by a colleague what my opinion was on the most important tool (as a student) that she should put in her toolbox.
To first give you some context, Katherine is a coach, trainer and strength & conditioning specialist who recently started chiropractic college.
Fully knowing her professional background, I still intentionally gave her a bit of a difficult answer.
I told her that experience, was single handedly the most important tool that she should put in her toolbox as a student. Let me clarify.
In my opinion, whether you are studying to become a coach, trainer or clinician, you absolutely need to accumulate hours upon hours of working with people. It has everything to do with hard work.
From figuring out what works and what doesn't and learning how to interact with people, to growing one's network and truly understanding what sacrifice and sweat mean in the real world, every student should start accumulating experience from day one. Be it volunteering, shadowing, or interning, experience is the fast track to separating oneself from simply being book smart.
Because your clients, athletes, and patients will not only ask you how long you've been working but they'll also use the sniff test on you.
And believe me, credibility matters.
In an age where talking the talk is commonplace, the number of individuals who have walked the walk are relatively decreasing.
Today, (face)book smart is reigning supreme. But unfortunately, those who are (face)book smart are also easy to pick out.
Is it easy? No. But it's doable.
Aspiring coaches, find a rake and rake the sandpit. Student trainers, turn on the faucet and fill water bottles. Students therapists, roll up your sleeves and get your hands on people. And young strength coaches, mop some floors.
Go to bed hungry (literally and figuratively) and wake up tired.
Trust me, having a diploma does not an expert make!
"When you're earlier in your career, I think the best strategy is to just say 'yes' to everything. Every little gig. You just never know what are the lottery tickets." - Derek Sivers