What Will You Do to Win? Tips for Navigating a Career in the Fitness and Talent Industry

10 Jan

What would you compromise to win it all?  In any industry, at some point you find yourself backed into a wall. You are asked to be someone you’re not, asked to do something that you’re not comfortable with, or asked to change or deny who you are as a person. How far are you willing to go? How will your compromising really help you in the long run? Before you get too far in your career, take note of these four strategies for insuring your stay true to yourself.

Create a clearly-defined vision: The best way to stay true to who you are is to clearly identify and define your vision.  What do you stand for? Who is your audience? Who do you want to believe in you? What is your goal?  These are the questions you should ask yourself as you navigate the fitness and talent industry. Does this represent you?  Whether it’s the jobs you take, articles you write, competitions you participate in, pictures you publish, or images you produce, stay true to the brand you’ve defined.  It’s important to try new things, to reinvent yourself, but it’s equally important that you stay true to who you are in doing so.

Develop a strong sense of self: Confidence is the key to success.  When you have a strong sense of self and are aware of whom you are and what you stand for, it is easier to make difficult decisions.  A young friend of mine, aspiring to be a fitness model, was once told that rather than pursue a career in the fitness industry, he should spend time trying to land jobs in the fashion realm, as he would likely find work more quickly.  While the allure of being hired and making money was tempting, his pursuit of non-fitness related modeling opportunities would take him away from his true passion.  He easily could have made the jump and been successful doing so, but opted to stay true to his goals and has been successful in doing so.

Draw a line in the sand: At some point, if you have not already, you will find yourself in a situation where you are asked to do something that makes you uncomfortable.  For a modeling talent, it might be hearing that your images would look better if you were wearing a little less, had a harder look, took more supplements, endorsed a product you didn’t believe in.   For a competitor, it might be that you are more apt to win if you train with a certain person, because politics come into play.  Be prepared to respond to that instance when it comes.  Figure out exactly who you are, what you represent, and do not compromise that.  If you feel like you already have, use that experience as a learning tool, so that you are better prepared in the future.  Nearly everyone in the talent and fitness industry can identify some situation where they felt uncomfortable, where they made a decision they are not necessarily proud of, or can find an instance where if they could go back and change something, they would.  Don’t feel alone, draw your line and from here on out stay true to that.

Develop a passionate support network: Think about why young people make decisions.  They frequently fall victim to peer pressure because they lack the support of a mentor, a parent, or a trusted friend.  They are easily influenced by others.  Being new to the fitness and talent industry, it is much the same.  You strive to impress those who can help you succeed, and trust everyone. You often assume that based on their experience, they know what’s best for you.  A trainer might be tempted to take on too many clients in order to become better known; thus stretching themselves too thin.  An editor might feel pressure to publish a talent’s pictures because of who they are, regardless of whether the model’s image is a good fit for their publication.  Having a support network in the field not only serves not only as a sounding board for thinking through important decisions, but also will be there to back you up and keep you accountable to your decisions.  If you don’t have a support network, start building one now.  Identify local groups that you can get involved, attend a conference where you can make connections, join an online forum, or find a mentor. Work to build relationships and begin establishing your network.

So, what does it take win?  Some might say it involves making decisions you are not comfortable with, but I think you should consider what’s most important.  Is it winning or inspiring?  Inspiring people become legends.  They are well-respected for what they represent to others.  They become timeless and remembered for who they are and what they stand for.  Winners win for a moment, and then those moments gone.  You have many years to build a career, what you do now will follow you throughout those years. So think carefully about what you want that to look like.  Be confident, spend time crafting a vision of who you want to be, think ahead of time about your boundaries, and find a support network of like- minded people that will stick by you.  It’s a marathon, not a moment, look past the immediate gratification and figure out who you want to be in five years, in ten years, in twenty years.  Let that be your guide for navigating the decision you made as begin your journey in the fitness and talent industry.

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