This is a follow up from episode 27 – being a female strength coach in a male dominated field. And I did a follow up because after that podcast, I had a lot of awesome conversation with some of you via my DMs over the gram. And a few common themes kept surfacing so I thought it was worth it to touch on those today.
This is a much shorter episode than the last one mainly because the ground has been laid.
So if you haven’t, go check out episode #27 and then come back and listen to this one.
Alright – today I want to give you some practical tools + clear the air on and maybe reiterate some things from episode 27.
Number one might be seen as a bit ironic, but my first pointer for you is to stop focusing so much on the fact that you’re a freaking female.
Yes you’re a female strength coach. But you’re also just a strength a coach!
In episode 27 when I mentioned that my certification says, “certified strength and conditioning specialist”, it does not say “FEMALE certified strength and conditioning specialist.” This is the idea I was getting at.
I think we put too much weight on the “being a female” part of being a female strength coach.
I had a conversation the other day with a male actually. About all of the women strength summits that are coming up. And while the intent behind those is good, and I support those, and I go to those, and I want to go to those; I do think that if women are wanting to be held in the same regard and with the same respect as men in this field that we need more of an integration rather than a segregation.
And that isn’t to discount any of the women only strength summit‘s that are happening. It was just a conversation that I thought was interesting and I thought I would share that point with you guys.
If we want respect where the men are and we want to be seen as equal, then we need to be where the men are and where the industry leaders are in someway shape or form. Whether that’s with conversing with male colleagues or speaking at “normal” conferences, not women only conferences. It can look a lot of different ways.
So, of course that all depends on where you are at, what impact do you want to have on the industry, and what your personal desires are, but I thought that it was worth bringing up in this conversation.
Everyone sees the world through their own set of lenses.
You are not in control of that. You ARE in control of your own. And that should be both freeing and empowering to you. Right?
You get to decide how you see things. If you’re looking for negative, there’s a 100% chance you’ll find it. If you’re looking for opportunity and positivity, there’s 100% chance you’ll EITHER find it or make it for yourself. That’s what I’m getting at with the lens conversation. And that goes for life, as well as the world of strength and conditioning or any male dominated field.
Even with accepting that everyone sees the world through their own lenses and that’s not in your control, it is also wise, I think, to expect shit to happen.
I’m a bit of a realist when it comes to this. People are broken, and flawed, and some are just straight assholes right? To expect that everyone is going to play nice is just ignorant in my opinion. And frankly you’re asking for a dog-pile of disappointment if that is your expectations.
I’ve talked about this before on the blog – expectations are HUGELY important in any area of life, especially those involving other human beings. Expectations allow us to be pro-active and prepared for different scenarios.
THE 80/20 RULE:
If we expect that 80% of the time, people will be decent humans, and 20% of the time, someone will lash out, insult you, or make a mistake, then when that 20% rolls around, you aren’t completely blindsided.
Now, everyone can have their own beliefs, and expectations around humans. But I am simply here to share mine and how I believe they helped me in my quest as a female in the world of a male-dominated industry that is a strength and conditioning.
Having realistic expectations allows you to take things with a grain of salt versus spending unneeded time and energy on an event you could have been better prepared for.
This kind of goes along with number three and expectations.
As the minority in any situation, it is going to be both imperative and difficult for you to be a part of the change.
Right? The world of strength and conditioning may never be a female dominated field, and that’s okay. But I do think there can be equal respect between men and women in that field, no matter the numbers of representation.
It takes time to mend a broken relationships. And it takes both parties as well. If we as women want to leave a legacy and make headway in the world of strength and conditioning, we 100% are going to need help from the men in that industry.
And this takes us back to the expectations in the lens that we see our world through. For instance I choose to put more weight on my positive experiences at University of Portland under Bradford scott who is now working for the Atlanta Braves, being on the active life podcast with Dr. Sean Pastuch, having all of the positive male coach role models in my life.
Those are what I choose to focus on versus the negative experiences that I have had, whether it be with male athletes, coaches, or higher ups at other institutions outside of University of Portland and the online space.
And I have definitely had my fair share of negative experiences with males in this field.
So number four is basically seeing your self as a part of the solution, and taking ownership of that.
Now, you get to decide what that looks like in your situation. Because it’s going to be different for all of you. But I think that when you see yourself as part of the solution, as a human that can be a beneficial figure in the world of strength and conditioning, I think that mindset alone gives you another level of empowerment and almost respect for yourself.
Number five is on a more serious note. And that is kind of an offshoot of number four. Which is in regards to if something actually happens.
If someone makes a belittling comment, says something inappropriate, or does something inappropriate, I always think that both parties need to be held accountable.
I don’t think in any industry, often enough, we level the playing field. And again this is my opinion you can have your opinions obviously. But just because you are the minority this situation, which women are obviously a minority in the world of strength and conditioning especially the higher up you get in those ranks, that does not dismiss you from being a part of a problem or having fault in a situation. I want you to let that sink in.
Just because you are a minority in a situation, that does not dismiss you from having any fault in a situation.
Now, that does not mean that you automatically have fault in every situation either. Not by a long shot.
I just want people to entertain the idea, that it’s not a bad idea as a human being to just ask hey what was my part in this, if I had one?
I guess just encouraging people to break down a situation beyond our initial emotional reaction to something.
And like any minority situation, the minority needs some portion of the majority to support them, to hear them, and to help them along with the changes that they want to make.
I am honestly just happy that we live in a time where women can pursue their dreams, have a voice and a place in the world of strength and conditioning. And I’m excited for us females to be on the forefront of that.
We are, in a sense, pioneers paving the way for other women who are going to come up through the ranks in years to come. I think it’s cool, and I hope you do too.
Shout out to all of you who are indeed a female strength coach. You’re killin’ the game. Hope this episode helps you do better boo.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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