The Value of an Infinite Goal- Becoming a Better Pilates Teacher
The first day I started teaching Pilates, I asked myself one question: How can I be the best at teaching this amazing method?
I am the first to admit that I am competitive by nature, and a recovering perfectionist, so as a new apprentice busting-ass to be the best Pilates teacher in the world, that quickly spiraled into a lot of self loathing and feelings of inadequacy.
I have no idea what I’m doing, I have no idea how to help this person, why aren’t they listening to me, what was I thinking becoming a Pilates teacher, everyone is going to find out I am a fraud and really know nothing about Pilates, and I only kinda know a little about the shoulder joint….
Sound familiar to anyone?
I learned a hard lesson early on that being a perfect Pilates teacher, or the best, the most interesting, most eloquently spoken, doesn’t really happen for anyone, and trying to be that person will lead you straight into a hole of self-doubt that is mighty hard to climb out of, even with a body that is Pilates-strong.
Pilates teachers, as heroic and amazing as they are, are just people. And people are not perfect.
So I decided to go with a shift in perspective. I was inspired by a fellow Pilates teacher who suggested that wanting to be a better Pilates teacher doesn’t necessarily mean wanting to be perfect or the best. Once you have put in the time, gained that experience, done that continuing education, and become better at teaching than you were before, you can always be better still. Becoming a better Pilates teacher is a goal that you can keep striving for, no matter your natural talent, background, or experience level.
I have managed to let go of a lot of the perfectionism and imagined competition, but it’s not easy. I just recently gave up my perfect streak of never saying “Butt” because dammit! “squeeze your seat” or “zip up through the back of your legs all the way to your glutes” doesn’t always translate to that booty clench like “squeeze your butt cheeks” does, okay?!
In all seriousness, I still do the striving, and that is why I am here. I want to be better at my job, because I love my job. And the goal of always wanting to be better at teaching tomorrow than I am today, and knowing that I’ll never make it to the end, that there will always be something to learn, keeps me open to questioning, possibilities, engaged in the moment, vulnerable, and present to what I am doing in my work day by day. It also keeps me from the lure and disappointment of perfectionism, and keeps me only comparing myself to my past self. I am able to look back and see how far I’ve come, and be proud of the work I have put in, and the growth I have obtained as a result.
The goal of being a better Pilates teacher is infinite. That, my friends, is inspiration that keeps on giving.
So now, I’m asking you: What are you doing today that will make you a better teacher tomorrow? What keeps you inspired to strive day by day?