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In last week’s post, I introduced my own take on The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I adapted Ruiz’s beautiful idea of making four simple agreements with yourself to create a better life & improve relationships so that it would fit in with movements. Thus we have the Four Agreements of Movement. The First Agreement of Movement is: Be impeccable with your movement. You can read more about my interpretation of that here.
The Second Agreement of Movement is: Don’t Take Constructive Criticism Personally.
Okay, so this one is mainly geared toward people who have a coach, but it may even be applied by people who are simply minding their own business, working out with headphones, a.k.a., the universal symbol of “leave me alone.” Sometimes a stranger still feels the need to interrupt you and offer their take on your movement. [I will address these strangers further in the third agreement, so please hold your criticism until after that post.] Your coach offers recommendations and guidance based on your current situation and what you have told them about your goals. A good coach has a plan about how to progress you to reach your goals. If Coach corrects your form, don’t be offended. They aren’t telling you that you are a failure, they are telling you that your movement needs adjustment so that it can
1) prevent injury,
2) improve range of motion/flexibility/mobility,
3) be more efficient, or
4) be more effective for your goals.
That’s all. It has nothing at all to do with how you are as a person, or how smart you are, or how successful you are in business or love or any other realm of the world you can think of. Even in the realm of movement, constructive criticism (a.k.a. coaching) doesn’t mean you are or aren’t a success. It just means your movement has room for improvement.
Every single human being on the planet fits that description: Room for improvement. Every single elite athlete can improve their movement in some way, shape, form or fashion. And if those who are the very best of the best have room for improvement, doesn’t it just make sense that even you and I would also have room for improvement?
People hire coaches to help drive improvement. It is wise to adhere to his or her suggestions. Drop your ego and accept that you might not be very good at their suggestion right away. The coach expects that. Your coach also expects that you will swallow your pride and give it your best effort, all while knowing you may struggle. Leaving ego at the door may not be as easy for some as it is for others. Needing help with becoming “coachable” is okay too! I offer some suggestions that might work if you feel you are that person.
Those who effectively utilize their coach for improvements are able to admit they need help. Theoretically, hiring the coach is that admittance, but it isn’t always. After that, the client has to agree (internally) to a certain level of vulnerability. It can be embarrassing to discover your own limits. There is vulnerability in exposing weaknesses. No one wants to be a failure, am I right? But those who want to improve have to come to terms with those weaknesses and have to put trust in the guidance of his/her coach. I can promise that any coach worth his or her salt is not laughing at your inability to do “X”. That coach is continually thinking of ways to communicate with you about how best to make the necessary improvements. Your coach is the teammate who has the plan and the wisdom and experience.
My oldest daughter just graduated high school and Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go! is at the forefront of my mind. The most perfect lines for this situation are,
“You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.”
These lines are so perfect because everyone is great at something. But no one is great at everything. And that is okay [More on this in the fourth agreement of movement]. So for the second agreement of movement: allow your ego to drop away for a while. Put your focus on moving impeccably (the first agreement) and you will be thankful to receive your coach’s adjustments. With the right attitude, you might even appreciate that a stranger took time from their day to help you improve.
Stay tuned for the Third Agreement of Movement to determine how to apply the aforementioned constructive criticism you receive.