When I see a fitness blogger, I think about how I want to look like them. Unfortunately, I love pizza and hate the gym.
When I see a doctor, I think about how I would love to save lives too. But nah, I don’t want to spend another decade in school.
When I see photos of mountaineers, I crave that kind of adventure for myself. Then again, I’d rather not risk losing a toe to frostbite. Plus, the idea of dangling off of a cliffside sounds like a little more than I’m prepared to handle.
So instead, I push all these desires aside, put on my coziest pajamas and settle for ice cream and a movie. Tomorrow when I wake up, I’ll be the same person I was yesterday. I’m guessing you will be, too.
I’m passionate about a lot of things, but I love baking. When I reflect on my progress over the years, I’ve noticed a lot of improvement. But here’s the problem: My progress is painfully slow.
As Latter-day Saints, we should all strive to be better. We’re here to attain knowledge, experience and skills. So how do we improve?
In each of us, there are two people: who we are, and who we want to be. If you want to close the gap between these two people, you need to be held accountable for your progress. You need to be willing to identify your weaknesses. You need to be pushed as much as you need to be encouraged. You need a coach, and you need to find the right one.
A good coach is somebody who encourages you to leave your comfort zone. They make sure you know you have value, even when youmake mistakes.
You need somebody who looks at your work and honestly tells you how to improve. For me, that means it’s OK to tell me the last batch of chocolate chip cookies had a little too much salt in them, or the eclairs should have been left in the oven for an extra five minutes.
If you know I want to improve, let me know how I can improve.
If somebody values your opinion enough to ask for it, share it. Kindness is a priority, but polite and dishonest “kindness” isn’t going to help.
A coach can change your life, but the wrong one may be counterproductive. In the past, people have encouraged my creative works and pushed me to be better. This was good, but it was always at the cost of my self-worth.
It wasn’t a question of “how can you be better?” It was a matter of “why can’t you just do that right? Can you do anything right?” They didn’t stretch my creativity; they crippled it until I was too scared to create, at all. If you find these people, they may be critics, but never your coach.
Maybe you’re faster, stronger or more skilled than your coach. It helps to have a coach who is experienced, but they don’t need to be perfect. It doesn’t matter if they’re better than you; it only matters if they help you be better.