“It is good for a professional to be reminded that his professionalism is only a husk, that the real person must remain an amateur, a lover of the work.”
May Sarton, Poet
This quote caught my attention when I first read it but I was curious about the use of the word “amateur”, so I did a little digging. According to Wikipedia the word “amateur” comes from a French word meaning: “lover of”. An amateur is someone who does something (e.g. play the piano, football) because they enjoy doing it. The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains, “The earliest sense of amateur (“one that has a marked fondness, liking, or taste”) is strongly connected to its roots: the word came into English from the French amateur, which in turn comes from the Latin word for “lover” (amator). This has led some people to assume that the word is properly used only in the sense “one who performs something for love rather than for money.” However, as is the case with so many other English words, amateur may mean two strikingly different things, referring to one who does something for the love of it and also to one who is not terribly competent at something.” For the purposes of this post, we are going with the first meaning, “one who does something for the love of it”.
So, what about you? Have you remained an amateur, a lover of the work? Are you a professional on the outside and an amateur on the inside?
Do you love being a trainer? Do you love to teach? Do you love to learn? Have you retained the beginners mind?
Personally, I don’t love the travel. I don’t love staying in hotels. I don’t love being away from home. I do still love teaching. I still love the opportunity to interact with fellow trainers and share, exchange and explore insights, ideas, principles and concepts about training. I still love learning and trying to figure out how to connect the dots between what I am learning and what I already know, and I love the challenge of figuring out how to apply what I am learning to what I am teaching in a way that is useful to others.
When teaching stops being fun I will retire. In fact, I will likely retire before it stops being fun, so I leave on my terms and leave with great memories of my teaching journey which so far has spanned 32 years, half of my life.
I believe that to be effective as a trainer you need to unconditionally love what you do, love who you do it with and love who you do it for. It is that love of teaching, training, and learning that will help you through the many challenges of being a trainer. It will come through in your teaching and will be reflected in your participants. If you are just there for the paycheck, or because that is your job, it is time to either change your attitude and learn to love what you do or get out of training.
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