// Perception is projection

by Terry Hawkins

Perception is projection. I love that phrase. How we perceive something is what we project. If I perceive that my morning training session is going to be a tough one then I have a projection of negativity, no energy and no enthusiasm. If I perceive the pouring rain as being great for the grass and filling up my water tank, then I will project happiness for the rain. Perception is really the key difference between successful people and those who always tend to struggle.

Have you been listening to the news lately? Have you been paying attention to the dialogue some people are using … ‘It’s tough out there! Clients are not spending like they used to!  You’d better start cutting costs and limiting spending! It’s a tight market!’ How easy would it be to buy into this hysteria and let your personal training, Pilates studio or other fitness business become paralysed by the fear factor affecting so many businesses right now? It’s astonishing how easily we can succumb to the horrors of daily media hype and start to argue for our limitations.


When we start to panic and become negative we subconsciously project this onto our members and clients.

I’m sure some of your clients are no different – they too can feel the eff ects of current trends. Their work stresses go up and personal time goes down. When life becomes a little challenging, the first area that a lot of people let go of is self-preservation. They stop investing in themselves as if it’s a luxury and not a necessity. As a powerful influence in their life, you need to have the courage to inspire your clients and participants to look after themselves during these times. Rather than ‘cut back’ people should be giving that extra bit of time to building their inner and outer strength and it’s your job to care enough about them to ensure this happens.

It’s a fact that people who are physically fit and exercise on a regular basis are more optimistic than those who don’t. Simply by encouraging members to continue with, and possibly increase, their personal fi tness agenda, you will be making a positive diff erence to their entire life. Use this face-to-face contact to also remind them of their personal strengths and the resilience and determination they have shown thus far. These traits transfer right across the spectrum of their life and every day that they train is a day that they strengthen these emotional muscles.

As a fitness professional you make a significant contribution to the wellbeing of many lives. If we have the personal discipline to stop focusing on the issues outside of our business and start focusing on what we can do inside the business, we will create positive results in all areas. So how do we stay on top of our game when the world around us seems a bit shaky? Concentrate on your own personal skill level – keep training yourself, keep learning and stay connected to the people who are making it happen. Find role models who empower you. This is the most important time to be upskilling yourself and, if applicable, your team. Be ready and be eager to help those clients and members who want to move forward in their lives. People are still spending. For a tough market though, it’s surprising how few businesses have changed their tactics to capture new clients and keep the clients they do have!

If you want to prosper and thrive in the current climate then you need to be doing what your opposition isn’t. What makes you different? How are you better? You need to be able to deliver a solid, memorable experience that will keep clients and members coming back time and time again. You don’t want satisfied clients; you want absolute advocates who are so loyal they bring their friends and family back with them.

To your clients or participants you are a leader, and a true leader does not pollute others with their own personal insecurities. Lead from the front with courage and positive input. If people see you being proactive and enthusiastic, they will usually adopt these behaviours as well. Remember, people follow what we do, not what we say and on those tough days you really may have to ‘fake it ‘til you make it!’

Most importantly, just keep focusing on what you want, rather than what you don’t want. It is so easy to ‘juice’ up on all of the economic drama at present. Stay grounded in the fact that you are in a great business, you have loyal and passionate clients and participants and this period will make you much stronger and more polished than you have ever been before.

Give your clients someone they would be proud to follow anywhere, and never forget that you are changing the world – one step at a time!


Terry Hawkins
Terry is the founder of People In Progress, one of Australia’s most innovative training companies. The author of the popular self-help book There are only two times in life, NOW & TOO LATE, she is also an established presenter whose dynamic style has made her one of the most successful and sought-after speakers in Australia. For more information visit www.peopleinprogress.com.au

NETWORK • AUTUMN 2009 • PP12-13