A friend of ours is a personal trainer, and she’s rather exclusive. She is exceedingly popular. She only takes one person at a time for 90 days. She’s very expensive and she also spends about four hours a day, when possible, with her client. Hundreds of people want to study with her and will spend thousands to do it.
So, to find the best person to work with, our friend the trainer has developed a unique selection process.
At the beginning of the 90 day training period, she goes through about 300 applications, then narrows the field down to 25 to 50 people and interviews all of them. From these interviews, she arrives at ten candidates.
She determines who she wants to train using series of challenges.
“It’s simple,” she says, “I take the person with the most integrity. It doesn’t matter how young or old, how fit or out of shape the person is. I just want the one that demonstrates the most integrity.”
We asked her how she determined who had the most integrity.
She said, “I put all 10 of these people in the room. Think a room the size of your living room, maybe a little bigger, like a yoga studio. In this room are a series of challenges marked in bold letters on ten different exercises, each with their own apparatus.
“I tell each person that they are to complete the exercise, but I tell them that they are difficult and some require a great deal of time. Some exercises are quick, some are more deliberate, and some may be nearly impossible for just about anyone to complete, including me. I ask that each person sign a paper saying they give their word that they will complete each exercise.”
I piped up and said, “Wait a second. You said that some of the exercises are so tough, even you have difficulty completing them. Isn’t this setting these people up to fail?”
“No,” she said, with a little bit of firmness in her voice, “this is a test of who will keep their word. Integrity is one thing, and one thing only: You do what you say you’re going to do. And,” she paused, “it’s doing it when nobody is looking. It’s doing it when you’re on your own, when you know you could quit, but your word and your promise to push on is stronger than your pain.
“When I find the one who lasts throughout all these exercises,” she says, “that’s the one I train.
“Oh, and I should mention,” she said, with a sly little smile creasing her lips, “that I have cameras in the studio. I have them hidden everywhere in the room. I watch them go through this process. And I continue watching them until the last one remains.”
Two days later, she called me. “Hey, I want you to meet somebody.” She had selected her new student.
She introduced us to John. He was a middle aged guy, about my age, and he reached out to shake my hand. When I grabbed his hand, I noticed that two fingers were missing, and that burn marks covered his skin.
“Come on into my office.” We sat down, and with John sitting to my right, she brought down a movie screen. She took a remote control from her desk and, turning to John, she said, “John knows I videotaped this, and he gave me permission to share this with you.”
In the video, she skipped around some, and pointed out places on the videotape where people had given up. Some had left. Some were yelling and cursing the equipment. “But not John,” she said, “Here, look at this.”
She showed us John trying to lift barbells, do pushups and even climb a rope with his right hand. “That last one? The card said, “Climb this rope only with your legs and your right hand. And you see John here? Not only is he trying to climb, he was the last one at the rope. He never gave up. He even tried to help the other people with the exercise.”
“That’s integrity, gentlemen. John kept his word. And he helped others as well. Integrity and heart. How could I say no?”
As we got up to leave, our friend said, “Integrity is just doing what you say you’re going to do. No matter what, no matter where you are, no matter the impediments. You commit and follow through. Integrity, my friends, is as simple as that.”
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Now notice something: Trust in a coach, mentor, or guide helps you see what's in front of you. We see a Coach for Your Heart a little like an emotional Sherpa, somebody that helps you climb your mountain by pointing out where to best step along the path.
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