Strength and conditioning coaches are constantly rejected. Be it in relation to jobs, from prospective clients or in their own personal lives. It’s a tough gig. It can be extremely demanding at times and it requires a great deal of commitment on both a personal level and in relation to time, in order to succeed in a saturated and competitive industry.
The truth is, rejection is inevitable in this field. As you push yourself outside your comfort zone and seek opportunities everywhere you can, you’re not going to receive a yes vote around every corner. At first, you begin to question and doubt yourself.
“If I’ve been rejected for this job, I must not be good enough for it. There must have been someone better than me.”
This outlook is part and parcel of the mindset of self-improvement and personal responsibility that we are required to have as coaches.
The whole nature of the job is to motivate and facilitate others to take responsibility for their actions and take ownership of their own lives. We attempt to adapt, improvise and overcome in the face of adversity, which leads to us always chasing the next thing.
“Ok that didn’t work. What can I do now to improve this situation?”
“How can I improve myself? How can I improve my standard of care?”
“How can I succeed and how can I achieve, despite this going wrong?”
This tends to lead us to double down on our efforts and attempt to rectify the situation ourselves. This is a great mindset to have in many situations. But in some, it is a little bit less helpful.
Not all outcomes are cause and effect in nature. Life is multifactorial. It is much more likely for something to happen because of a multitude of factors, rather than one. Sure, it’s great to take responsibility for the things that happen in your life, but I’m afraid sometimes shit just happens and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Sometimes the guy that got the job is best mates with the current head of sport. Sometimes they had a guy in mind for the job before they even posted the spec online. And sometimes a potential lead never had any intention of signing up to work with you. They were just looking to scope you out in comparison to the competition, or they were just looking to milk you for all the free information that you could muster, before skipping away to work on their own programming by themselves.
So, what do you do when that happens? You accept it, deal with it in a healthy way. Take any learnings that can be taken from it and move forward. To quote two of the greatest fictional characters of all time.
Rocky Balboa – “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.”
Ron Burgundy – “Life isn’t a fairytale. It’s not a bunch of jumping rope and grabbing ass.”
I personally prefer Burgundy’s, but each to their own and both attempt to illustrate the same message. Not everything is going to go the way that you want it to all the time. The sooner you understand that, the sooner you’ll be able to overcome your fear of rejection.
But now after painting that pretty picture, I’ve got to play the bad cop as well. You know what? Sometimes it is your fault that you were rejected, so it’s ok to strive to be better and work harder. The last thing you need after any sort of rejection, is for it to cascade into an outlook of pure apathy.
Nobody cares, work harder, work smarter and be better. Be so good that they can’t say no to you. Be so good that the only reasons that you miss out on an opportunity are,
1. They can’t afford you.
2. They’re not ready for the level of diligence you’re going to bring to the table.
You see sometimes, people like to talk about what they want, but aren’t ready for someone to come in who will make the big but necessary changes, say the tough things and challenge them to be better. Saying what you want and taking the necessary steps to achieve it are two very different actions. Sometimes people just want to use buzzwords and talk about what they want to achieve, in order to give themselves a sense of comfort that doesn’t actually put them outside their comfort zone.
If they’re not ready for change, then don’t sweat it. The role likely wouldn’t have been a good fit for you anyway. Accept the rejection, don’t challenge it and then on to the next one.