Plano, Texas - It is very sobering when one is given a lesson from the proverbial humble stick. Throughout the fall of 2017 and into the early new year I KNEW I was going to pass my final exam. I had prepped, "knew" the material and was on my way to the final "update" of this particular portion of the journey of my life. I had started to figure out the marketing strategies, where and how to implement them, as well as purchased the frame for my certification. Everything was ready. With all that said, a funny thing happened when I took my test....a sober dose of reality.
Planning is great but you still have to do the time to get the job done. I simply "thought" I did. This exam was new territory for me. It is not a standardized, multiple choice variety. It is much harder. A competency test for this modality is not going to be measured in that way. How do you think and how do you execute your techniques are a combination of written and in-person practical. Needless to say, when the time came, it was quite evident there were some major holes in my preparation. Like the CSCS test from the NSCA, there are 2 segments to this exam. I unfortunately already know that I did not pass my practical. At the time of this blog being published, the written is to be determined (TBD). To be candid, I am moving forward as if I did not pass that portion either. That is to say, I'm moving forward to become better than what I was last week. As crazy as it may sound, the experience did make me better.
The first credit I want to give is to my instructor, Glenn Haugk. He was probably the most positive person I have met in a test setting. Regardless of the outcome, he told me the day before the test, you will be better. He was right.
As I mentioned before, I "thought" I was well prepared. Come to find out, I was not as prepared as I thought. You can find yourself studying too much on the wrong topics or in my case, practicing the skill set incorrectly. The final exam is not the time you want to learn that. If I could do it over again, I would have definitely found a way to get more tutoring prior to the exam. The nature of the practical exam and the skill set in general, is in the efficiency of your technique and deduction process in using it. I should have reached out to have my technique critiqued instead of assuming, "I had it." My first lesson - Have a Mentor.
To give you a little bit of background (without revealing the details of the techniques) you need to build a foundation in the subjects listed below in order to "deduce". Secondly, there are physical technique processes (not listed below) that stem from this foundation. To do both well, one needs to understand and apply the following,
- Where does a muscle begin and end? (Origin, Insertion)
- Why is the EXACT location of attachment relevant?
(front, back, inside, outside of the bone)
- Does the muscle cross more than one joint?
- Does the muscle have a role in movement in all 3 planes of motion? frontal, sagittal, & transverse
- How does gravity affect movement of the body?
- How does the body communicate with the muscle?
- What are scenarios that can occur that could impede or block communication?
- Are there defense mechanisms the body will use when this occurs?
Muscle Related Injuries
- What are common injuries that could be related to muscular dysfunctions?
This is your "foundation" to understand and utilize the techniques. It is a lot of information to take in. So the question is, what do you do when you "fail"? There are 2 routes you can go.
1. Get Focused - It is important to understand that failure (or success) is not final. What is success but a series of corrected failures? Within 15 minutes, I knew I wasn't ready to pass a practical examination. My focus for the rest of the time with my instructor was pinpointing what I needed to focus on to become proficient. Mindset is everything. Was I disappointed I wasn't going to pass? Yes. Would it have helped to get emotional? No. Would it have been a waste of the remaining exam time by quitting? Yes. My instructor prepared me prior to the test (remember?) Whatever the outcome, you will be better. That is what I remembered and continued with the time as if it were a tutoring session. Either way, there was still a return on investment.
This whole experience reminded me of the book, "Failing Forward" by John C. Maxwell. In the acronym, "FOWARD", I can honestly say, I did this in terms of preparation and in the middle of the "failure". In retrospect, I should have crawled out of my shell more (I didn't for fear of asking "stupid" questions and being labeled as such). I now know better.
2. Quit - self explanatory.
The behavior and mannerisms of my instructor along with this book made my "failure" a soft blow versus a devastating one (at least in emotion). I was upset, don't get me wrong. However, to become unwise in behavior and/or quit would be counter productive. The title of the blog is, "How to Focus Failure". FOWARD gives you guidance. I will attempt to simplify it even further.
- Pinpoint the Improvement Needed
- Focus Your Energy on the Improvement
- Hone Your Skill(s)
- Try Again
As it said above, fail early, fail often and fail FOWARD. See you soon Texas.