Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Coaching at Ritual HQ as an introvert - by Shaun Morris

Coaching at Ritual HQ as an introvert 

I’m an introvert - what a shock! As introverts we rely on energy to keep us going, we often spend time by ourselves recharging our batteries or spend time with people who are the polar opposites of us. For instance, we tend to get on with people who have large personalities that psych us up. When we come across our own kind, well...we often struggle to get on because, plain and simple, we’re so similar and are in need of our energetic counterparts. We need stimulating conversations to keep our minds active and we don’t care much for idle chat. 

Why introverts are different than extroverts (we’re better… just sayin’)

What makes us different from extroverts? We really appreciate our alone time, while our extroverted friends would rather be surrounded by people all day, every day. We couldn’t think of anything worse than being the centre of attention. Not extroverts, they love the spotlight. We often appear shy, reserved or stand-offish - your textbook example of an introvert *eye-roll*.

We can be as talkative and friendly as extroverts, but first you need to just take a couple of minutes (actually weeks, but it’s worth it) to get to know us. We’re deep thinkers. We prefer to be proactive and not reactive and often think out our responses, over choosing to say it how it is. As coaches, we really value one-on-one training, and can find working with large groups terrifying - I guess that’s why they made me groupFIT Manager to push me out of my comfort zone. 

An introvert as a coach in the fitness industry? Why? 

Being a coach was a way for me to help people work towards becoming the best versions of themselves, both mentally and physically. For me, it’s so rewarding to see my clients raise the bar, and build strength and endurance. As an introvert, I’ve always liked listening and observing over talking. So, having the opportunity to get to know my clients and bond with them is a top priority for me. It’s about taking those extra steps to be better at my craft, and at the same time, add value in each and every session. 

Dead car battery? Huh? 

Have you ever forgotten that you’ve left your car lights on and come back in the morning to discover that the car battery is flat? That’s what talking is like for us. It’s not that we hate people - we just need excitement. Giving a lot of energy throughout the day often leaves us feeling drained, and that’s why we need to pull out the jumper leads. We also have our bad weeks, where we lack the motivation ourselves, and would prefer to be away from people. It’s not anyone’s fault, and it’s not personal - it’s just who we are. 

We want our clients to be enthusiastic and excited to show up for our sessions. We really struggle to train someone that has shown up physically, but not emotionally to a session. Not that we aren’t willing to get you in a good mind frame to train (that’s what we here for), it’s just in our personality to slowly lose interest. How I’ve tried to push past this is noticing this behaviour in myself and in a client by taking the time to raise it with them and find out if there is anything I can do to help. The outcome is always positive and it really helps turn the session around.

Just like bartenders we too sometimes have to take on the role of counsellor - if it means we can get our clients to where they need to be. Although sometimes this is a part of my role, in my experience, being an introvert has helped me to be more present in conversations by listening to the client, but not taking on their stresses. Being able to empathise with one client and then move on to the next without taking on that person's worries is a really powerful personality trait. I think that’s awesome. 

Right now, we’re all living through a pandemic. For introverts, it’s a blessing to be sitting at home and having minimum human-to-human contact. If I’m being honest, I’m enjoying it. I still get to do what I’m passionate about, but behind a screen. It's somewhat a “safety blanket”, I’m facing less of the anxieties that I normally would standing in-person in front of a group of 10 to 15 people. In saying that, it will be good to be back at the gym challenging myself, which is another reason for being in this industry. 

Why I’m so fabulous...

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve recognised that being an introvert is a side of my personality and I’ve accepted it. I might not be as outgoing as some of my colleagues, but I’m tall, I have tattoos, glorious facial hair, great socks, and will be there to help you through the personal challenges you face when training. 

Shaun Morris – 
Strength Coach, Functional Strength Coach, groupFIT Manager, Powerlifting Team Manager and Member of the RHQ Leadership Team


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