Fail…and Fail Again

3 Years Ago

January 2018, I was let go from a coaching job. I had started at GAIN as an intern during the Spring semester of my Junior year at UNH. Over the summer, I was brought on as a part-time coach. At the time, I had only been working 1 or 2 days a week as I was still a college student and had 2 other jobs as well. 

It wasn’t a huge deal considering that I was only there part-time, but it still broke my heart and I felt empty and quite honestly like I wasn’t good enough as a coach.

I loved the community that GAIN built and was sad that I wasn’t going to be a part of it anymore. And I felt like I had failed. With that failure, I felt like I had also lost some of the direction that I wanted to go in. But I had to carry on. 

April 2018, I was let go from Iron Empire where I was a personal trainer. I had been there less than a year. I came into the gym when things were good – membership was increasing and trainers were needed for the “Elite” membership they offered. This membership included 24 hour access, a monthly workout program, and access to personal trainers (during the hours which were 6-9am and 3-8pm). They didn’t get one-on-one personal training, just access to us for help when they had questions on their program… a bit of a dumb set up in my opinion AND we couldn’t approach members to gain them as 1:1 clients.

It wasn’t an ideal job, the pay and hours were absolute shit… but my goal was to work as a personal trainer and gain experience. I was able to interact one-on-one and in small groups with people, helping me build my communication skills, as well as coaching skills and abilities. I was able to see what worked for coaching, how to properly and effectively interact with other coaches and most importantly the clients and members. 

I also saw how NOT to run a business and interact with others…like firing a coach in front of the members/clients for no reason other than the owner’s personal insecurities… or yelling at the largest group in the facility that helped keep the lights on for having chalk on the ground and their bags against the wall…or running a class of TWENTY people to ONE coach in a space that could barely hold 10 people comfortably.

Iron Empire was my 1st personal training job and it taught me far more than I was expecting. Most of what I learned was what I did NOT want out of a coaching career. I learned that I didn’t want… 

  1. to work for someone else
  2. to be paid below my level
  3. to be berated / intimidated by my employer on a daily basis
  4. to not have control over my hours and who I worked with and when

Following my dismissal from Iron Empire, I decided that I would only work for myself from here on out. I would not work for another corporate style gym.

And even still, after that disaster, I applied for a manager’s position at Anytime Fitness in Scarborough, ME. I made it to the final interview stage with very high hopes of locking in the job and moving to Maine. And I didn’t get the job. 

That hurt, a lot. It was just another blow to my ego shortly after the 1st. But in hindsight, it was better that I didn’t get that job because like I said, I didn’t want to work for anyone but myself. 

I’ve been working towards being solely my own boss and continue to make strides in that direction each day. Anyways, back to the point of this article. 

The Lesson

As much as I hated being at IE, I felt gutted after being let go. I felt like I had failed big time, even though I had been planning to leave within the next month. But the fact that I didn’t leave on my own terms bothered me… and how confused the members that I worked with were because they were given no explanation. 

It was my 1st real coaching job, I had built many great connections and friendships with the Elite members as well as the regular members. Going through this “failure” of losing a job taught me / opened my eyes to a few things.

  1. Big Company Jobs (really anywhere) – you are replaceable…just as THEY are replaceable. 
  2. No job is worth coming home from irritated and hurt each day. Find something new where you’re energy and time will be appreciated. 
  3. No one can make you feel worthless unless you give them that power.
  4. Some people live their life for power trips and feeding off of the weaker…don’t be that person.
  5. Don’t be afraid to keep your options open when it comes to your career.
  6. Build connections…they come in handy.
  7. Be genuine. Don’t be fake – that’ll get you nowhere in business or in life. 
  8. Failing sucks but failures are where the biggest lessons come from. So observe, reflect, and grow from those failures. 

Things may get dark at times. But always remember there are 2 ways to look at a failure: as a defeat or a win.
See it as a defeat, you won’t learn and adjust. On the other hand, failure seen as a win will teach you.

At some point in our lives, each of us will experience a failure. There’s no shame in that. The important thing is to remember that we will recover. We will learn and therefore we’ll win. 

When I fail, I choose to view it as a WIN. Every failure, big or small is a lesson… one that is going to push us closer to where we truly want to be.

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