Dec 17, 2013

Be your own coach

I first learned the value of being my own coach as a high school runner.

My coach’s chief axiom was, “by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.” I knew that it was impossible to achieve top speed while dehydrated, so I diligently followed my coach’s direction to drink more water. Unfortunately, I already drank enough water. A few weeks later, during my first race, I blacked out across the finish line. My doctor identified overhydration as the cause.

There was no way my coach could have known that I had low blood pressure and that my diet was unusually low in salt. I should have listened to my body, rather than my coach.

Over time, I realized that coaches are often wrong. A coach doesn’t know when I’m not pushing hard enough or when I need rest. If I want to perform my best, I have to constantly evaluate my performance and how I’m feeling. Then I need to trust my judgment.

Now that I work at a startup, being my own coach is more important than ever. No one is looking over my shoulder to make sure my work gets done. I am responsible for improving my own skills. I need to ask for help when I need it and seek out opportunities to learn.

tl;dr--A great coach is a huge asset, but a coach won’t live your life for you.

-Paige