I want to share a business story, that will eventually relate to training, but is really applicable to just about any endeavor in life. Last week I had to perform quarterly reviews on my employees. I use the time not to browbeat the team, but to listen to them and see what I can do help them in the next fiscal quarter. I ask them how they are doing, how is their activity, how is their skill and knowledge levels, what they are working on, if they need some extra skill or knowledge training, etc, and they I shut up and let them talk. Friday aftenoon, I was finishing up with my last three team members. #1 was a female, older bright, up-beat, cheery attitude. I ask her the standard questions and she said everything is great, business is good, activity is good, she is very confident in her various knowledge areas. I ask her if she needs any extra training or development and she thanks me by declines. I ask her how she feels about her annual goals and she replies she is right on track and is looking to have a great year. Note: Female #1 is currently on company probation, she is so far behind her minimum quotas that it is ridiculous-she has been with the company for five years and every year she just barely "squeezes by" I spend a lot of time solving customer issues that she did not take care of. She probably needs to be let go, but she is the sole breadwinner and I have a soft heart. Listen to her long enough and she talks about how bout the customer service line is, how bad the economy is, how poor the people in her town are, etc, etc. BUT she is never the problem #2 is a male, married three kids, I ask him the same questions and he pretty much says what the first lady says. He is working hard, doing all the right things, great confidence in his knowledge, etc, etc. He does admit to some frustration in behind just a little behind in his goals, I ask him why and she says is the customers, its his competitors, etc. etc BUT he is not the problem Note: Male #2 is also on company probation. I have written several cases for him and just given them to him in order for him to keep his job. How he pays his bills is beyond me. He is a smart guy, but I suspect he is lazy. I doubt if he will have a job by the end of the third quarter. #3 is a male, single dad. He is bright, good attitude and I ask him the same questions as the first two. He says he is not working hard enough and needs to do more activity during the first part of the week and did I have any ideas on how to improve that. He also says he is weak in a few areas and he lists them and then asks if I have some time next week to review those areas with him. He also asks if I can get him some additional study materials. He talks at great length about some of the skills he is working on to improve. I ask him about his annual goals and he said he is not where he wants to be and could I give him some pointers. He writes down what I tell him. Note: Male #3 is currently the number 2 agent in our North America division. He earned more money last month than #1 and #2 have all year combined. He broke his yearly goal in the first qtr and and had to reset it--he broke that goal three weeks ago and so had to set a new goal. He takes full responsibility for everything is done and is constantly examining his habits in order to improve. Ok, I know that was long, but how does this apply to training. Its all about constantly doing an honest assesment of yourself, your goals, your training and having the humility to admit (to yourself) that you are lacking in some areas. Maybe you are a monster in the gym, but your nutrition sucks ( raises own hand) and yo know its holdng you back....do you finally admit this to yourself or do you hold onto your pride and convince yourself that nutrition is "not that important" The reason I use a training journal is to learn and also to keep me humble. The minute I think that I am 'something" (you all know what I mean) is the day my training stalls. I wrote an article years ago, about leaving the little gym where you are "the man" and training some place where you are "the runt" same concept. My first year at the Armed Forces training camp at Pt. Magu NAS, they brought in a couple of world class lifters and they had us squat something our opening squat attempt for a double and they videotaped it and then the experts and the coaches would critique it in front of the whole team. I watch lifter and lifter argue with the coaches when their form was critiqued--it got heated a couple of times. We had a 123lber from Minnesota sitting near me--it was his turn and he said to me ' I hope these guys rip me apart" a few people near him laughed as they thought he was being sarcastic--but I know exactly what he meant. If he was able to squat 320lbs with horrible form, then think about how much progress he could make when his form was critiqued and perfected. In other words, he hoped that there would be a lot of critiques because then he could make that much more progress. If his squat was perfect, then there was not as much room for improvment. That young man had the right idea and the right attitude. I have found that most people who ask advice, dont really want advice, they want to be validated--they think they are doing everything right and want an affirmation. Listen to them talk long enough and they will blame their lack of progress on the fact that they dont use AAS, they dont have enough for supplements, their gym sucks, their genetics sucks, they have a rough job, etc, etc. But its never "them" that needs to do something better. Success in the gym is sort of like this football field, as you travel down the field you think you are reaching the endzone, but actually the field just keeps getting longer and longer. I am in my 32year of training and I have so many things to work on and improve as I approach 50 years of barbell training. Hope this makes some sense. The unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates.