Non-stop negativity is the worst, isn’t it?
While a “negative attitude attracts negative experiences” is new-age bullshit for those who still have The Secret on their nightstand, one thing is obviously true: you get out of people what you put in.
If what you’re telling people is always negative, glass-half-empty, or close-minded, well then there’s a good chance you will drive away more positive folks, leaving just fellow Debbie Downers and dipshits who’d complain about winning the PowerBall (because now they gotta pay tax on it).
Over-the-top, relentless positivity is even more peculiar, and to me it’s a big RED FLAG.
When someone is too over-the-top positive, I’m suspicious that they…
- are totally delusional
- are full of shit and about to pitch me something
- have a locked, soundproof room in their basement for guests they *REALLY* enjoy taking long-term care of.
In my world—fitness coaching—positivity and negativity exist in a delicate balance. It gets really tricky when the negatives are just cold, hard reality.
For example, just the other day a middle-aged guy was all set to join my coaching.
He then sent a photo of a popular young male fitness model and said, “BTW I wanna look like this guy.”
I could’ve easily replied, “Heck yeah, bro, I’ll get you there. Just fill out the payment form!” but instead, I responded with tepid expectations.
To be clear, I’m very good at helping people put on muscle and get really lean; it’s just that I couldn’t make those kind of specific, unrealistic promises. After all, three months from now, when this guy doesn’t look like a 25-year-old full-time fitness model with 10 years’ training under his belt — because, sorry, that’s not how training works — then what? How jaded will he be?
My response cost me the client, but what I feel bad about is the fact there are many coaches who would gladly cash in by bullshitting this guy with what he wanted to hear.
Want to make progress? You need to hear the truth.
There are many instances like this where being “negative” is just being honest, whether it’s managing expectations or just telling someone NO.
If you want to make actual progress, sometimes you need to hear “NO” from your coach:
- NO, you can’t cheat all weekend and get good results;
- NO, you can’t consistently skip workouts and get the most out of a program;
- NO, you can’t eyeball every meal and be accurate, especially if you’re new;
- NO, you can’t skip on sleep and make optimal progress, no matter what silly sleep hacks you try;
- NO, the keto diet is not the answer for you, no matter how much you say you like to experiment;
- NO, that massive cheat meal didn’t have a discernible effect on your hormones (nor did “fasting it off” the next day).
That’s a lot of NO’s, and frankly, I don’t enjoy being a non-stop party pooper, even if it is the right thing to do.
So what about the “delicate balance between positivity versus negativity” I mentioned?
Where the positivity actually comes in…
Much like how successful people find an opportunity in every problem, every “screwup” presents an opportunity to learn or adjust. Part of this is the client, and part of this is the coach.
That is how I prefer to channel positivity.
Not mere words. Words plus work.
You cheated all weekend? That’s NOT GOOD. Never is. Was it because you were off work and bored? Were there emotional issues going on? Let’s come up with a plan for the future that addresses what was actually happening.
You keep skipping workouts? Again: that’s NOT GOOD. Perhaps the workouts are too long or there are too many training days. Or maybe they don’t jive with your gym or even your personality? Or your gym is just too far from home? Let’s make changes and get things clicking.
To sum up, if you are new to the fitness scene, be wary of too much positivity. (And if you happen to be a coach, be careful that you’re not just playing cheerleader.)
Because the truth is never positive or negative. It’s just the truth—but at least the truth is something you can build on.
Whether you see the truth as an opportunity, or an inconvenience best glossed over, is up to you.
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