As a Fitness Professional/Personal Trainer/Competition Coach for close to 40 years, I’ve pretty much seen it all, heard it all, and probably experienced it all. Most things I let slide off my shoulders – I don’t let it get under my skin. But there’s one pet peeve that’s always bothered me about our profession, back then and still to this day – people’s perception that our (meaning trainers/coaches) worth is next to nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned how to charge for my services, and I get what I’m worth now. No longer do I play for no pay, but back in the day I did. I allowed people to ‘control’ how much I was worth. In essence, I devalued myself. I found myself getting mad at my clients because THEY weren’t paying me enough when actually I settled for less than I should have. I allowed for negotiations, I settled for partial payments, and I didn’t hold people to their contracted obligations. My clients controlled my income, not me. I should have been upset with me, and eventually I reached that point, but it took a while.
Today’s blog is designed to educate both the trainers out there AND the clients/team competitors. What we (again, meaning trainers/coaches) do is our business – it’s how we make our living, and should be treated as such. Hope ya’ll enjoy this…
The Philosophy of SO: Part III – The Law of Money
SO’s second law – the Law of Money – states that a person will bypass the services of a person by arguing that the price is too expensive. Because of this, the individual would miss out on achieving his or her full potential as he/she shopped cost first instead of service or quality. SO had learned at an early age that he possessed what he later coined ‘Intellectual Property’. SO explained intellectual property this way; “I have something of value that you need or want. It is called knowledge and experience. I know it, you don’t. Therefore, if you want my knowledge and experience you must compensate me for it somehow.” Since cash, checks, credit cards, and lines-of-credit had not yet been invented, SO simply traded his intellectual property for their house, livestock, or kids until he felt satisfied that he had been compensated justly. He initially called this ‘loan-sharking’. But SO realized that ‘loan-sharking’ gave a negative connotation to his business venture, so he renamed it PFSR (Payments For Services Rendered) and handed out what he called a “Bill”. But other guys who were also wise decided that they would continue in this manner. These ‘wise guys’ eventually moved to another part of the country and named it Italy…but I digress…(did ya’ll get that??).
Simply put, SO had spent a lifetime learning what he learned. SO was good…very good! SO possessed so much wisdom and knowledge that all a person had to do was start to ask the question and SO would know where the individual was going with it and how to answer it. SO was so good that he could actually answer a question that a person was going to ask before it got asked! SO’s knowledge and experience was like that of a Chess Master who could see six moves ahead. SO always knew where the conversation was going and seldom got stumped. I wonder what a conversation would have been like if SO were talking with a potential competitor? Perhaps something like this…
In the very ancient time, in the land called The Hood, SO was approached by a young woman who sought SO’s advice on preparing for an upcoming event in which she would be showing her figure in two pieces of very small velvet cloth. SO spent several hours with the young lady, answering all of her questions intelligently and articulately. The young woman was very much impressed. She was so appreciative of the time SO was giving her. Finally, right before leaving, she asked SO if he could design a nutrition plan to help her lose the last remaining bit of fattage on her lower body. SO kindly obliged. With deep thought he meticulously wrote out a plan which would get her close to her goal. But SO also advised her that she would have to check back weekly to ensure the plan was working, as SO’s experience had taught him that no two people were exactly alike, and that what worked for one person would not necessarily work for another. SO also told her that the ‘closeness’ she would experience would allow for manipulation the last week, as the last week or so would be the most crucial, but if she were not on task and in a position to manipulate her macro and micronutrients (terms SO coined…) slightly, then all was for naught. SO had learned that he needed his pupils to ‘check-in’ with him weekly to gauge their progress, or lack thereof, to be able to direct their paths the following week. SO did all of this, asking questions along the way, such as, “How many hours are you up during the day?”, “What do you do for a living?”, “Describe a normal day’s activity,” and “How did you feel last week?” among others. SO was extremely thorough. This was done to ensure that SO built her food plan based upon her energy expenditure, allowing for a few hundred less calories a day to lose fat while maintaining her lean mass, but NOT over-dieting her to where she’d ‘rebound’ after a show, gaining more weight than she initially came to SO to lose, and more importantly, going into what SO called “Systemic Shutdown”, a term now known as ‘Metabolic Damage’. When SO handed her the plan he also handed her a bill.
The young woman gasped! “How can you charge me for this? I thought we were just talking! I thought we were friends! You kept smiling at me and nodding. That’s a lot of money! There’s no way I’m paying this. I have other financial obligations that are more important than this. You’re not worth this much. I have travel expenses to the event. I have to buy my two very small velvet pieces. There is my food preparation. Do you offer discounts? Do you sponsor? I have to pay for my hair. Other experts are far cheaper. How ‘bout cuttin’ a sista some slack…” On and on the woman went. For over 30 minutes the woman ranted and raved. Finally she took a deep breath and screamed, “ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? NOT ONLY DO I NOT WANT TO PAY THIS, I CAN’T AFFORD THIS!!!
SO nodded slowly. He leaned forward slightly, and stroking his long silver-white beard, took a deep breath and simply answered, “So”?
The young woman fell back on her heels! She’d heard that SO was the smartest of the smart, and this was all she got – a stinkin’ ‘So’? SO continued to look at the young woman, leaning forward on his stool, hands clasped twittling his thumbs. WA-BAMM!!! A revelation suddenly hit the young woman!
‘I get it,’ the woman replied, finally nodding her head in complete agreement and approval. “So what you are saying SO, is that if I desire the services of a professional who has years of training and a knowledge base that far surpasses mine, and that if I wish to realize my full potential and reach my goals far sooner than if I were to do this on my own, then I should gladly pay for this knowledge and experience knowing that it is money well spent, otherwise I shall forever waste time trying to figure out what works best for me with little hope of success. I now understand that YOUR time is as valuable as anyone else’s, and that I was wrong to attempt to get something for nothing. I now realize that with the information you just gave me, and the service you will be providing to help me reach my goal, that I actually have a bargain of a deal.
The new pupil looked deep into SO’s ancient eyes. ‘Master,’ she said. ‘You have given me great wisdom and knowledge. I shall go forth and make it do what it do.’
‘Weedhoppah,’ SO replied, ‘You have discovered a great truth today – the truth of money. You do not expect to go to work and give your time and not be compensated for it. But you came to my job expecting me to do just that. You have learned well. Now go forth and follow the plan and be successful…and make it do what it do!’
The new pupil left (after paying SO of course), realizing that time was money, and that her ‘money’ should be spent training”…To be continued…