Stack your Deck for Success

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

One of the best lessons I’ve learned over the years in working as an educator, counselor, and fitness professional, is that adversity is sure to come our way and stress affects us all. But one thing that has potential to set us apart is our ability to rise to the occasion.

How effectively do you manage stress? Do you see the problem coming and watch it approach, like an oncoming train, but wait until it hits you to react? Or do you turn problems into goals and attack the issues at hand? Maybe you’re like most people, and your response depends on the situation and whether or not you have any control over the outcome.

Despite the fact that life can throw us curveballs, or maybe because it can, it’s important to adopt critical techniques that can help you take stress in stride. One of my personal favorites is a technique that can help you achieve balance in your life and maintain perspective in times of crises. Best of all, it will help you avoid a serious setback if one area of your life falls short of your expectations. It’s about self-preservation, and it’s simple. All it requires is that you diversify your interests, aka; don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

I call it stacking your deck. Imagine that your life is a deck of cards and every card represents something special and unique about you. This could include your talents, education, career, experiences, and even personality traits. If you pursue a variety of interests, your deck is dynamic and it evolves as you explore different areas of your life. This instills confidence, and opens your world to endless possibilities. When we focus on diversifying our interests, it continues to propel us forward and encourages us to pursue healthy challenges. More importantly, we don’t allow our identity to be so wrapped up into one aspect of our lives that we are devastated when something goes wrong.

My challenge to you is to take a moment and reflect on you and your life. I encourage you to get out a piece of paper and do a little soul searching. Start by numbering one through fifty-two. Every card/number represents your best qualities, strengths, achievements, and accomplishments. It might include awards, hobbies, special talents, or even physical characteristics. These are things that define you and speak to who you are. They are all the qualities that make you proud.

If you’re struggling to come up with fifty-two cards, ask someone you trust to help you. If you’re still struggling, ask yourself, “What additions could I make to my life that would challenge me and give me greater purpose?” It’s never too late to pursue a former interest you put on the back burner, or go after that degree you’ve always wanted. As a matter of fact, the fitness industry is the perfect feeding ground for a person inspired to diversify their interests and embrace new challenges. The industry has gained increasing credibility and attention in recent years, as exercise continues to prove itself as one of the best preventions against disease. If you’re willing to expand your knowledge, the world of health and wellness promises endless growth and opportunity.

When your list is complete, I recommend that you look it over and appreciate the qualities that make you unique, as well as all that you have accomplished. Acknowledge where there is potential for growth and use that as impetus for change. Setbacks are bound to happen, but when we diversify our interests we create options that open the door to possibilities. We have a healthier perspective in times of crisis, and we rebound more quickly. Stacking your deck encourages you to expand your knowledge, seek challenges, and pursue opportunities. In the end, it helps you live a balanced, rewarding life.

How to Stack your Deck in the Fitness Industry~ Seven Savvy Suggestions

  1. Explore the world of one-on-one training: If you’re a group exercise instructor, consider getting your certification as a personal trainer. Even if one-on-one training doesn’t speak to you now, the additional knowledge and education will enhance your skills and give you added credibility. When you decide to start training, you have a ready-made clientele who trust and believe in your expertise.

  2. Appreciate the benefits of large group leadership: If you’re a personal trainer, consider getting your certification as a group exercise instructor. The camaraderie and sense of community that is created in a group exercise setting is the perfect place to build the trust and loyalty of potential clients. Not to mention, you’ll learn important techniques that instructors utilize to create safe, motivating environments for large groups of people. These techniques can be applied to small group training, which is a great way to increase your revenue and reach more clients in less time.

  3. Market your Skills: If you haven’t already, start a website that advertises your talents and expertise. Set up a blog on your site where you post tips and advice, and allows you to connect with your clients. Social Media is the perfect place to promote your site and share your professional activities.

  4. Pursue Continuing Education: Nothing can replace the knowledge and inspiration we gain when we pursue new certifications and training. The fitness industry is growing leaps and bounds, and the best way to compete is to continually improve and build on your own strengths. Recognize what you are passionate about, and consider ways to expand your reach. Explore certifications and trainings that compliment your goals, but also challenge you to tap into new markets and work with different clientele.

  5. Tackle new Teaching Opportunities: If you’re currently only teaching one group exercise format, such as indoor cycling, consider learning a new format. Not only will this enhance your teaching skills, it will add to your marketability, help prevent burnout, and reduce personal injury. Tackling a new format is a great way to challenge your skills, and can do wonders for your confidence as you grow stronger as a leader.

  6. Academic Options: Industry certifications and trainings are great, but don’t forget that there are other options to learn and expand your expertise. Taking a course at the local university or community college is a great way to immerse yourself in content that is industry related, but has applications outside of the industry as well. Courses in Nutrition, Business, and Coaching have endless potential to build your brand and give you added credibility, and they could be the start to a new degree, or an area of interest that adds to your skill set.

  7. Seek New Settings: If you’ve only taught or trained in one setting, remember that there are a lot of places for you to share your passion and talents. There are group exercise, personal training, and leadership opportunities in spas, universities, corporate fitness centers, gyms, private clubs, and even some physician clinics to name a few. There are guest instructor and training opportunities on cruise ships and at resorts. And there’s always space to rent where you can bring in your own clientele and share what you do best.

 - Angie

Angie Miller is the star and creator of the Bedroom Body™ Workout and other top selling exercise DVD’s. Passionate about fitness and education, Angie teaches at Northern Illinois University and is a Certification Specialist for the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). She is a freelance writer, group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and proud mom. Learn more about Angie at:


By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, fitness, fitness success, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments
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