A recent blog post by Tom Bilyeu from Impact Theory started with the two lines:
You have two choices:
You can either be somebody else, or you can be yourself.
It struck me that this is an important message for trainers. You can try to be somebody else, or you can be yourself.
As a trainer you have your one or two absolute favorite trainers. They might be fellow law enforcement trainers, or they may be business, leadership or motivational trainers. It is easy to get caught up trying to mimic them and be like them, because they are engaging and what you consider to be successful.
The problem is that you are not them, you are you. You have your own personality, your own experiences, your own strengths and talents, your own stories, your own way of telling those stories, your own knowledge, your own quirks and idiosyncrasies, your own way of communicating, your own way of connecting the dots for people, your own way of making abstract concepts concrete – your own style. It is those very things that set you apart from everyone else and make people want to listen to you and attend your training.
In the entertainment world cover bands and impersonators are cool. They are not the real things, but they are fun to listen to or to watch. In the training world, not so much. You do not want an impersonator or trainer who is trying to be someone else. You want someone who is being themself, being authentic and letting their strengths and personality come through in their presentation.
Should you learn from great trainers and speakers? Absolutely you should. Watch, listen, pay attention to what they do, how they do it, why they do it and when they do it. Learn from them, but remember you are not them.
Being you does not mean you are settling and not striving to improve. You are simply focused on continually being a better version of you, instead of trying to be a better imitation of someone else.
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