The Client Guilt No one talks about
The trainer-to-client relationship is wildly complex.
Add self employment into the mix, and everyone’s in for a wild ride.
For years, I found myself holding onto insurmountable feelings of guilt whenever I made a change to my business that would impact my clients.
The client experience was far more important than my own.
It didn’t matter that by Friday at 8pm I had 5% left in the tank,
was cranky, didn’t want to be coaching, and really needed to be in bed if I was going to knock Saturday’s 6am client session out of the park.
Alas, I persisted because if people were showing up for the 8pm session then by golly, I’d be there, too.
What was really bubbling beneath the surface though was less about that and more about the money-
“people won’t pay me if I can’t endlessly please them.”
It would take years for me to realize that I had built a mini empire
by just people pleasing.
As great as it sounds, it was a miserable,
prison-like hell hole.
My clients had me by the balls and they knew it.
The day my grandfather died, I sent texts and emails to my clients
letting them know I’d be off work for the week and I’d circle back then.
Most of my clients were gracious and understanding.
Some were simply not.
It was then I began to prune the people in my life-
first starting with the people I let into my business,
then with the people I allow into my personal life.
The guilt no one talks about is how hard it is to be a personal trainer and the owner of the company to the same people you call clients.
It is hard.
It can get messy.
It can be a lot to have to hold space for.
So many times I haven’t made decisions that honor the business in an attempt to make sure I maintained the relationship (and the business) from my current clients.
This isn’t a benign thing.
The affects will be redistributed through other areas of your life.
If you can’t raise your rates because you feel guilty, you may notice you feel the financial tension building between you and your partner.
If you can’t change your training schedule to accommodate your children’s new sleep schedule, you may notice growing resentment towards motherhood.
Or, towards your clients.
Usually- both. All at once.
Things start to feel heavy and convoluted and unclear- because they are!
You have to work diligently on keeping The Business separate from The Clients while also knowing that those two things go hand in hand.
The Business are The Clients. The Clients make The Business.
And yet, The Business requires WAY more than “just clients.”
Just like “The Clients” require WAY MORE than just Your Business in their lives- universal truth.
The Business, The Clients, and You must all work together in a synergy, an ecosystem.
In any ecosystem, things do not happen in isolation.
A day of rain affects the system.
A drought affects the system.
The system never “fails”- it is constantly regulating itself.
(The Earth does this!
Your business needs the room to regulate itself.
You need room to regulate yourself.
It is hard to make decisions that honor The Business if you have a habit of working in a way that does not honor you.
You will have a hard time finding clients that honor The Business because you do not honor Yourself.
It is all connected.
“Guilt” in The Client chamber will impact The Business chamber and so on.