As we start out in any career, we may have the tendency to take the minimal knowledge we have and use it to begin to drive ourselves forward. In the fitness industry, this is something that can be seen more and more as young coaches take the big leap out into the world and now have to try and make a name for themselves.

One of the biggest mistakes I have seen, and I can put my own hand up for too, is coaches following a narrow pathway and beginning to create their own philosophy with not enough experience and perspective. One quote that helps to bring this into context is “If the only tool you have in your tool box is a hammer, then every problem that comes up will look like a nail”.

Take a young coach with a powerlifting background for example, someone who may have incredible knowledge in that particular sport. He or she may have a new client come to them with back pain and 9/10 times they will say there is a weakness somewhere and they need to be stronger. A yoga teacher may see the same client and tell them it’s a mobility issue and they need to increase range of motion and practice yoga 3 times a week. The same client has been told 2 very different ways to treat the pain by two different practitioners.

It’s very easy to be influenced by people who have a seemingly broader knowledge base than you currently do. Mix that with someone who is very eager and keen to progress to the next level and you have the making for someone who may begin to preach content and theories that they may not fully understand yet or haven’t practiced in the real world. When you start to spend a lot of time with different mentors who practice different methods and have conflicting views, that’s when you begin to question all the information at hand. Only then is it possible to develop your own ideas and begin to do your own real world research.

The more time you spend with experts in different areas of your chosen field, the more you will hear the phrase, “there’s still so much I don’t know yet”. It’s amazing that you rarely hear this when surrounded by people with limited knowledge, yet hear it so often from real experts! The more you learn, the more you realise that your knowledge content is not as deep as you once thought. The very best people in the world over all industries have the same thing in common, they are all life long learners.

The main theme here is that if we want to be the very best in our chosen field, then we have to be open minded to different methods, views and practices. Only through our own research and real world experience can we truly develop a personal philosophy and mantra that we stick by when different problems challenge us.

Continue to learn everyday, challenge your own thinking and views, and fill your tool box with as many tools as possible so that you are able to view and treat each issue on its own merit.