Monday, January 18, 2010

Today's Question: Does Perception = Reality?

Unfortunately, for most people perception does equal reality. I was reminded of this after attending my first week of sessions with my personal trainer--for purposes of this very public forum, I will call him Rick. During my fitness assessment two weeks ago, you could see the frustration in Rick's eyes as I told him that I couldn't do one situp; at least that is what I saw. I went through the rest of the assessment grumpy and defeated and Rick seemed to casually write everything down with a look that said, "I will never see this chic again."

Much to Rick's surprise, I did return. The first two sessions I followed him around the gym and literally looked at him waiting to show me how to use every piece of equipment--once again, I saw a look in his face that could only be described as hopelessness. By the fourth session, I decided that we needed to have a turning point--I was at least committed enough to this to rub my sore muscles with Icy Hot, drink protein shakes and even come to the gym on my own time--so I confronted Rick and said, "I know you hate your job and the fact that you have to work with people like me, but I want to make this work and if you just had a better attitude, this will be better for both of us." Pretty bold considering that Rick is a mixed martial arts fighter.

Rick looked at me and said, "Well, this isn't what I want to do forever, but I like helping people and I know I'm the best trainer here. Some of my clients want someone with more energy, but they won't achieve the goals they want to--if you want to work out with Tony Little, then go find someone else." The thing was, I didn't want Tony Little, I truly believed that Rick was the best trainer, so I looked at him and said, "Yeah, well, start acting like it. My perception was that you didn't think I was ever coming back. Show some passion and people will perceive that you're the best."

My initial perception was that I was going to be looking for another trainer in a month, but in reality Rick and I will be working together for the next year. So, Rick's going to help me get into shape and I'm going to challenge his perceived emotions. I can tell this is the beginning of a great relationship.

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