“What are you good at that you feel trapped by?” This powerful question was posed by Joe Calloway at a famous keynote presentation he did a number of years ago at a National Speakers Association conference. The talk what about what speakers need to let go of (outdated material, over used stories, outdated slide decks, outdated thinking, etc).
While the entire talk was filled with great information delivered in a very unique manner, that one question has stuck with me for years. At the time one of the classes I was teaching was a one day conflict management workshop. I had put it together based on a request from a couple of clients. While the class got very good reviews and the people who hired me to teach it were very pleased with the program, it was not a class I looked forward to. As I got closer to the scheduled dates I would start to hope the client would cancel for some reason. When they did not, I went and gave the participants my best, or at least what I thought was my best. I began to realize that if I had that mindset going in then at some level I was doing a disservice to the client and the class participants. After listening to the Joe Calloway’s talk I decided to stop teaching that workshop. I let my clients know I would no longer be teaching the workshop and connected them with a couple of other trainers who I knew would do a great job for them.
A few years ago I was feeling trapped by the physical instructor courses I was teaching. My heart, and my body were telling me it was time to step away and once again I reflected on that question from Joe Calloway. I reached out to two exceptional trainers and asked them if they would be interested in taking over those programs either through Winning Mind Training or through their own company, if that was better for them. Sean and Kevin came on board and took those classes to a new level providing better training than when I was teaching.
I also used that question to guide me when I was struggling a few years ago with the decision to continue to do use of force reviews for the Calgary Police Association, or step away and refer them to some people who would do a great job for them on those files. I chose to step away when I admitted to myself that I was feeling “trapped” by the work.
In a recent discussion with a trainer I know very well he expressed that he had to psych himself up for a couple of courses he was teaching. He said he still enjoyed teaching them, but it wasn’t the same any more. I shared Joe Calloway’s quote with him and talked about my experiences. That quote seemed to resonate with him and bring clarity to the decision he needed to make.
What about you? What are you good at that you feel trapped by? What classes or programs are you teaching where the fire, the passion, is gone? You can try to convince yourself that you are still doing a great job, and you may still be doing a good job, but if you are feeling trapped then you will not be able to give the participants on those classes your absolute best. And they deserve your best.
You may just need a break from teaching.
You may just need to teach some different subjects.
Maybe the course material is stale and you need to do a complete revamp of the course to bring life back to you and the material.
Maybe it’s not the training or the material that has you feeling trapped, it is all the travel you do to deliver the material. If that is the case what can you do to teach closer to home or to shift to doing more online, and less airline.
You may need to reach out to some fellow trainers, a coach or a mentor and talk it over to get some different perspective. Sometimes the new perspective and a mental reframe is all you need.
Maybe you need to go back to your Why, or take the time to reflect on your Why – Why you became a trainer and Why it is important for you to do a great job for the men and women you have the privilege of training. Spending time on your Why may rekindle the fire and change the feeling of being trapped, to one of being inspired.
It may simply be time to hang up your “Trainer” shingle and retire.
Take some time to reflect on the question, “What are you good at that you feel trapped by?” If there are one or more aspects of being a trainer that come to mind, it is time to take action. What you do is too important to too many people, including you and your family, for you to feel trapped.
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