|It has been quite sometime since I posted a blog on my personal website at carmenbott.com. Sure, I can use the excuse that I have been too busy to write or too focused on current projects to allow any freedom of written expression to pour onto a page, but in all honesty, that isn’t the case. I have been pondering this whole idea of ‘blogging’ and to be honest, I am still not sold.
Over the past four months, I have successfully ‘balanced’ my own physical fitness, a full time course load at Langara College, care for my young son, some operations of Human Motion (although I give Jim and Sean more credit for that right now), plus I have managed find the time to read books related to my profession and build three successful brand new presentations which I gave down at OSU in March and in Las Vegas a few weekends back. Yes, it has been a busy time, but today, being the first day I have had ‘off’ in quite some time, I feel proud of getting through all of that with energy to spare.
I have been thinking quite a lot about why I have shifted away from writing / blogging more often. Instead, I have put that extra energy into helping more people – even if it is a student after class with back pain or one of my teammates on my football squad with tight hips. I would rather get hands on, than sit down & write. And I am often not sure what to write – blogs seem short and choppy to me, full of candor and anecdote. I guess I am too much of a literary snob to reduce written prose to witty commentary and slang. Or, perhaps I am just not sure if I am on the right track.
I guess we all have a choice as to how to spend our hours each day, whether it is sharing via articles/blogs, or sharing through talking to people and assisting them with their physical development. I am grateful to the few “bloggers” I do follow for keeping me abreast of new findings. However, I am even more grateful to those professionals who have personally emailed me and shared some of their gems. And, it is the beers and conversation at all the conferences with delegates and speakers that have led to new ways of thinking and more hypotheses to test!
I have also been thinking a lot about what gives people the “Right” to write a blog, or have a personal brand. Do you have to earn that right? I have no answer for this. I just know the road I have taken. I have been in this industry for over 17 years now. I started training clients when I was 19. I began teaching small workshops to trainers by the time I was 21 and went overseas to work with National Level athletes in Malaysia at 24. Being a female strength coach in a Muslim country was still, in hindsight, the biggest professional challenge I have ever faced. It was amazing and I came back with a whole different view of the world and North American physical culture. After that stint, I went back to school, finished my master’s and helped take UBC Women’s basketball to 2 National Titles. I became a university instructor by the age of 30.
So, I have been quite reflective of late and curious as to what really makes an expert an expert? And for the record, I do not think I am an expert by any means. Everyday I feel like I have so much more to absorb and so much to go back and review again. Sure, I have learned a LOT, likely more from the 100′s of clients I have now coached and of course, from my peers and my mentors and even my students. I have this collection of ‘stuff’ rolling around in my head and many ideas, opinions, solutions all based on the foundation I have built over the past 17 years. And of course, all based on the sport-science I have come to love and often re-visit to make sure I am always on track. You see, that’s the thing about being a college teacher – I cannot say anything that is not backed by the research or a scientific theory and I would not say anything that was fluff as it would discredit my profession not to mention myself. When I wear my coaching hat, the academic in me spills over, which is a good thing as I carefully explain to ‘why’ behind my prescription knowing that ‘feeling the burn’ is really not even close to good enough, or even relevant (I digress).
With the information-age growing at such a furious pace and the ‘real estate’ available for online dialogue via websites, forums and blogs, the landscape is getting messy folks. My students think this is an acceptable venue, a real ‘academic’ resource to cite on their papers. My staff of coaches ask me to have a look at this guy’s website and that girl’s facebook group and it is getting overwhelming. Who are these people? (OK, now I sound old!) As my friend Joe says – How DID people shamelessly promote themselves before the dawn of facebook and twitter?
You are probably wondering if there is a point to my ‘post.’ And to be honest, I don’t know if there is. All I wanted to do is share with you where my confusion and curiosity meets. Those that know me, know I am a do-er. I am not one to talk about what I am going to do, I just put my head down and paddle. I do not know any other way of existing or being. I also do a very bad job of promoting myself. If someone introduces me as an expert, I quickly say “I am not.” To me, earning the “Right” to Blog is about spending time (a LOT of time) in the trenches figuring some things out, testing and re-testing the hypothesis and experimenting with methodology, while adhering to training principles. It is also about being one to practice what you preach and to stick with what you know inside and out. The people I follow do this consistently and have had their hands and/or eyes on many people. Simply put, those people are who I choose to follow and support.
I realize this post is disjointed and really a collection of my thoughts, but I am curious and fascinated by this whole notion of blogging. And as I said earlier, I am still not sold. However, I will leave you with this when it comes to information and I recommend the book: The Personality Tree.
1. Pay attention to every detail you see and you hear and you read – to get good at this, you have to do lots of REPS – you pick up more, the more you see/hear/read and you learn to attend to more information. You will also build a better framework, which will make you more scrutinizing (which is a good thing)
2. Do not believe everything you read – believe once you see the practitioner in action with a client – what is their bedside manner, their cueing, their own demonstration etc
3. Beware of the biased researcher or practitioner who has the one-size fits all solution – this violates the principle of individualization
4. If there is a product attached, question the validity of the training method
Some of the best coaches I have ever met…actually, the BEST coaches I have ever met do not have blogs. Surprised? I know.