How to make it as a personal trainer when you're an introvert.

Dec 1 / Nik Hanley
I have always been more of an introvert, and to be brutally honest with you I thought it as a disadvantage when I got into the industry.

Reason being, one of my first “positions” as a self-employed PT was at a local gym called Tropicana (I know a shite name🤣) that eventually got took over by LA Fitness (those of you that know the days of fitness agents will resonate ha)

And when I started working from this gym, I swear the other personal trainers just seemed so loud, confident and full of energy …

I simply felt like there was no way I could “be” like that.

And I know it’s not productive to think like this … but the other trainers were my only thing I had to measure myself against.

I am a rational person and analyse things quite a bit, but for ages I could not get passed this viewpoint of …

“To be successful I have to be bouncing off the walls, confident and the centre of attention 🤯”

I struggled with this for a long time, as I thought being louder and dialling up my energy when on the gym floor was being inauthentic … not myself and having to conform!

And so I wrestled with it for a long time, especially in the quieter times of my business where I felt the pressure to generate leads and business.
There was just this roadblock of conflict and ambivalence!

And my business wasn’t doing badly either, but there was always doubt in my mind …. The “what if” questions.

Where the real turning point came in dealing with conflict was when I went to work as a fitness director on cruise ships.

Before being assigned you ship, you have to go to London on a training camp to upskill on group ex, processes, safety, and selling technique.
Had this awesome coach called Wayne … and he recognised that I was a quiet one in the group …

He took me aside one day a gave me a rundown of how it is on ships, and that blending into the background could be a mistake when working on ships as typically the clientele is American, and you need to stamp you authority on the gyms and be a real leader when it comes to sales and awareness.

He took me through a system called Myers Briggs and D.I.S.C methods and theories.

Basically, personality typing …

And the penny dropped that I have got an extroverted side to my personality .. it just takes more energy out of me to bring out.

And I thought about this for a while, but then didn’t have time to consider the “how” as in no time I was standing starting up at this massive cruise ship on the side of a dock in Barcelona.

The next morning was my first EVER step class I had to teach.

Post a sleepless night, a bag of nerves when teaching my first class … it dawned on me that the next one won’t be so bad, and the next and next won’t be as bad as the one before …

Fast forward a few years of understanding myself better, and having some reflection on how I could …

  • Present on stage to hundreds of people.
  • Teach and coach large groups.
  • Strike up conversations with strangers.
  • Deliver workshops and seminars.
  • Talk live on camera on social media.
  • Do presentations to corporate stake holders …

It really wasn’t anything fancy that enabled to do these things except for …
Forcing myself into challenging situations, where every part of you says NO this is wrong for you.

Is having a deep desire to succeed.

To quantifying the consequences if I didn’t do these things …

And the more I did them, the more I felt comfortable …

Now don’t get me wrong, after certain things from the list above im still a bag of nerves …

There’s still a voice saying don’t …

There’s still a part of me that wants to sit at the “back of the group”.
🔊 And that’s cool, because a lot of people will resonate with introverts, we are more personable generally, empathetic, and listen first “more often than not” …

But without focusing myself into the uncomfortable positions … I very much doubt I would be in the industry I love and doing what I love.
Remember … the point above says “FORCE” not push.

✅ You don’t have to be an extrovert.
✅ You don’t have to be like everyone else.
✅ You don’t need to be right for everyone.
✅ You only need to be right for some people!

How are you going to make what could be seen as a weakness, a strength?
How are you going to force yourself to grow and learn?