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There is a running joke in my family about my stubbornness as a child.

Anytime my dad or mom would try to teach me something I would answer with a very proud and confident

“I do it this way!”

This was my way of telling them how much smarter I was than they were……..I don’t think that stupidity washed off until I became a father.

I love teaching the CrossFit L1 Course.  That job, along with owning an affiliate, is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.

And probably the hardest.

We get a lot of questions at the L1 Course.  Questions about everything from nutrition, to coaching and training and even about life.

One of more frequent questions we get is about programming.

“What’s the best program?” or “How do I become competitive?”

This past weekend a younger athlete asked me about programming for his box and what he should be personally doing?

I think the programming for the box question was a subtle tactic to ask about himself and I knew what he wanted.

He is young and athletic and played college football.

I gave him my answer.  The same answer I give just about everyone, every weekend when this comes up.

So he asked the question differently and gave me what we could call “excuses” why that wouldn’t apply to him.

So I gave him the same answer.

So he asked the question differently. (You can see where this is going)

I’ve become fairly adept at not backing off my answer in situations like this without becoming combative or argumentative.

As we are doing “the dance” I started thinking to myself

“How many times in my life have I been this kid? How many times have I asked someone for help and then just not listened?”

I don’t know when I came to understand the difference between “hearing and listening”.

Probably when Logan turned 3 years old and I knew she could hear me but clearly wasn’t listening hahaha.

But seriously, how many times have we done that???

Being stubborn or resisting the path of good old fashioned hard work or mastering the basics is almost universally a longer and more painful road that had I just done what was suggested to me.

I don’t regret much in my life but not learning to “listen” earlier in life is one of them.  It was have saved me a lot of time, pain, headaches and maybe even some friendships.

This has become my biggest hurdle as a coach and mentor.  Getting someone to actually listen to the guidance they are seeking is an oddly challenging task.

I’ve only gotten better at it as I’ve learned to become a better listener.

I ask myself a specific list of questions when I’m seeking knowledge or mentorship now:

     “Do I want the best answer or a specific answer?”

     “Why am I asking this question?”

     “Am I ok with not liking the answer?”

This helps me avoid reverting back in to a 5 year old toddler.

Because “I do it this way!” never actually got me the result I was looking for.

Are you “hearing” and not “listening”?