I have heard the statement, “You need to have strong beliefs held loosely.”, from a couple of different people interviewed by Tom Bilyeu for Impact Theory and Impact Health. Every time I hear it I am struck by how important this mindset is for trainers to embrace.
You need to believe in what you teach. You need to be passionate about what you teach. You also need to know the history of what you teach and be clear on why you are teaching it and why you are teaching it in the sequence and manner that you are. This is the “strong beliefs” part of the statement.
At the same time you need to be constantly reading, listening, questioning and being open to new research, new evidence that indicates there is potentially a better way to teach it, or more relevant material. When confronted with new evidence and research look into it. Is it a one off study with a limited number of participants? Or, are there numerous well designed and conducted studies that show something contrary to what you believe and what you teach. If the evidence supports a different approach or shows that you need to change what or how you are teaching, then set your ego aside and implement the change. This is the “held loosely” part of “Strong beliefs held loosely.”
If someone presents information or references research that is contrary to what you believe instead of thinking “That’s Bullshit”, think “That’s interesting.” Then go out and do some research to check out this new information. Approach the research with an open mind instead of trying to prove them wrong and yourself right. If the research is valid, and supported by other evidence based findings then embrace the new knowledge (new to you anyway). It is not an insult to you or your intelligence.
If however, you refuse to change your beliefs in the face of new evidence then you are doing a disservice to yourself, your program and the people you have the honour of training.
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