“The trainer who trains himself, has a fool for a client.” - Dan John
Everyone needs a coach.
In the athletic world coaching is a foregone conclusion. No serious team, from little league all the way up to the majors, no serious athlete from kids gymnastics all the way up to the Olympics, would consider approaching their sport with out the constant guidance of a coach. It is well understood that a coach provides objectivity and feedback otherwise unattainable to an athlete in the midst of their sport.
One cannot effectively do and observe at the same time. At best neither will be will done well.
Most of us don’t consider how helpful this external eye can be as we approach other elements of our lives. The elite do. Take a look at the the top ranked anybody’s in the world, regardless of what they’re the best in and you’ll see they have a coach or a mentor they look to for guidance and support. Warren Buffet, arguably the most successful investor of the 20th Cenutry, had a mentor, a man by the name of Benjamin Graham. Mark Zuckerberg, who created Facebook, took guidance from Steve Jobs. Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin empire, sought out Sir Freddie Laker, a highly successful leader in the British airline industry. Bill Gates? He learned directly from Warren Buffet.
To be successful in any venture it is crucial to have the help of outside guidance.
Most of the time we are too close to the problems we’re trying to solve. We lack the emotional objectivity to see all things rationally and always make the clear headed decisions. Having a mentor, someone invested in your personal success can act as a guide and help point out those emotional blind spots that so easily derail us.
At its core a coach is a friend, but a true friend. A friend that holds you to your highest self. The friend your mom meant when she told you that the friends that kept getting you in trouble weren’t really your friends. That friend, not the cheerleader friend, the one who’s always up for whatever’s happening just because it’s with you. No, the friend who sits you down after you got drunk at last night’s party and tells you plainly what an ass you were, not to make you suffer, but to hold you accountable and to remind you that having too many drinks and then hitting on the boss’s niece won’t help any come review time.
The coach holds up a mirror, but the image she projects is the best you you can be. Not to show you what you’re not, but to show you what you can be.
When you’re on the path to become the best version of yourself it’s good to have a friend, preferably one who’s trodden the very path you’re taking, who can show you the true shortcuts and help you avoid the pitfalls.
I have several coaches, some formal that I pay, others who just sort of appeared in my life. I seek the wisdom of experts in my various fields of endeavor and it’s curious to see how their advice can overflow the boundaries of their disciplines. What’s more curious is to see how masters in different disciplines; lifting, martial arts, business; agree in their principles. How disparate advice from different sectors of my life often points in the same direction.
If you want to make significant progress in your own life. If you are no longer satisfied with your own personal status quo. Seek guidance. Allow yourself to be open to the wisdom of those who have gone before you. You can start by studying the lives and writings of those you want to emulate, but there comes a time when a live personal relationship with a mentor is essential to attaining that next level.
There’s an old Buddhist saying that goes, “When the student is ready, the master appears.” Make yourself ready. Open yourself to guidance and then seek it from the masters around you.
To our perfect imperfection,