Seeking Work Fulfillment? Like Dominic, Discover the Perfect Fusion between Passion, Talent and Purpose.
The ‘Restless Inquiry®’ Interview
Are some people just born with a natural work ethic or, is hard work something that has to be eked out of us all, through a combination of nurture, compliments, criticisms and individually tailored rewards ?
Or is it just a question of fusing natural talent with the appropriate role and function where these natural talents may be released and skillfully aligned to team and company objectives?
‘Talent is a raw mineral mined at birth.’
Matthew Syed in his superbly crafted book ‘Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice’ is keen to emphasise that success has little to do with natural talent, more a result of finely conditioned practice within a well-managed environment.
I take a slightly different view to Matthew.
I believe we are all talented.
Talent, for me, is a raw mineral mined at birth.
I believe everyone is talented; we can all do at least one thing more naturally, more efficiently, more effectively and effortlessly than anyone else.
The problem, however, is that natural talent can be a self-defeating mechanism.
Because something is too easy, this often leads to a lack of interest and effort to operate at an exceptional threshold over a sustained period of time.
As someone who holds a fascination for how culture can drive individual and collective success I am often on the lookout to identify insights from people who naturally excel in their profession.
What makes them special? How are they able to push back boundaries and deliver exceptional value for others?
What lessons can we learn which may be applied to our own working environments?
Recently, I interviewed one of the U.K.’s most successful practitioners in what is one of the fastest growth industries in the western world – personal training.
I gained a powerful insight into the future of work as well as the skills required to connect to a broad audience.
Dominic Bradbeer-Dubery is an Elite Performance Trainer for Virgin Active.
Prior to Virgin Active, Dominic spent 7 years in the Parachute Regiment of the British Army, ultimately becoming a PTI in the Special Forces Support Group.
Dominic’s work spans an incredibly broad people spectrum including advising professional athletes on strength and reconditioning, helping people change lifestyles and limit life threatening illnesses, consulting with psychologists to help people cope with depression and working with schools to promote fitness in the young through his ‘Fit Club’ concept.
He has appeared on SKY TV’s ‘Obese, A Year to Save My Life’ programme and has conducted training camps as well as charity events in the U.K., Africa and South America.
I was keen to find out how Dominic connected so successfully with his clients and what motivated him in his work:
What led you to the personal training field?
‘It was a natural follow on from my army career. Being a fitness instructor in the army gave me great training and when I decided to move into civvy street, which was no easy task, it was a field where I could naturally apply my training and, more importantly, realise how much I could help people.
Helping people is my key motivator.’
What are the three skills that make a first class personal trainer?
‘In the civilian field the first skill has to be adaptability.
In the Army, one solution fitted all, you instructed and people obeyed without question. Naturally, it is totally different now. I have to get to grips with what each one of my clients really wants. Everyone is different, it is a question of tapping successfully into people’s real emotions and desires and designing a personal programme which is best suited for them individually and which will get the real results they want.
The second one is motivation; I need to build a rapport that gets everyone in the proper mindset, thinking positively about what can be achieved.
A key measure of success in my role is retention; if my clients decide not to stay with me I know I am doing something wrong.
‘If you set the wrong expectation then you will not be trusted, and if you are not trusted the relationship is never going to work.’
I still get a massive kick out of someone arriving in the evening after they have completed a hard day at the office and after an hour’s session with me hear them say ‘I almost cancelled our session this evening because I was so tired, but now I am really pleased I came.’
The third skill has to be passion, perhaps passion with care.
I am lucky in that I really enjoy what I do. Sometimes, when people are training hard to achieve their personal goals and finding it really difficult, I do extra sessions with them.
I desperately want everyone to succeed. Sometimes you don’t win all the time, but hopefully most of the time. I think if you care, you have to be honest with people and set the right expectation – too high and people will switch off, too low and people will get bored.
If you set the wrong expectation then you will not be trusted, and if you are not trusted the relationship is never going to work and, I guess, in the end I would not be giving value for money.
Actually value for money for me is not that difficult to evaluate – when people achieve something they haven’t done before, whether it’s weight loss, returning to full fitness stronger than ever, achieving a personal best with weights or seeing children appreciate the joy and benefit of physical activity for the first time. It’s wonderful to see people change lifestyle and improve.’
How do you keep ahead of new developments in your industry?
‘I research all the time, whether it’s the internet or contacts within and outside of Virgin Active. There are so many new ideas all the time but very few worthwhile in following up.
Just because a pop star promotes a new piece of gym equipment or sponsors a new way of exercising doesn’t mean it’s perfect for everyone.
I still rely on the range of basic exercises that will develop people’s core strength and enable them to perform at their optimum level and keep them fit over an extended period of time.’
What’s your biggest on-going personal challenge?
Must be the long hours I work! My day often starts at 6:30 a.m. and finishes at 9:00 p.m. I work most Saturdays but try to keep Sunday free for relaxation .
I would also say promoting the concept and benefits of having a personal trainer. It is a relatively new concept and the standards vary from trainer to trainer. But the good ones can make a remarkable difference if you get the right one for you.
What’s the most repeated phrase you use?
I have two – ‘Results, Results, Results’ and ‘Let’s smash it.’
It’s not a film but a TV series and an obvious one for me ‘Band of Brothers’.
Tribe: Endangered Peoples around the World, Piers Gibbon.
What alternative career would you consider?
Being a Paramedic, that would be the ultimate in helping people!
It’s not difficult to appreciate why Dominic is so sought after; his ability to connect with people, instill belief and enable them to transform are universally applicable: care, passion, adaptability, treating everyone as a unique individual with particular needs and motivating through trust and proper expectation.
But it is more than this; the intensity he applies to his work is truly outstanding.
Dominic’s role as personal trainer offers the perfect platform for him to release his skills and natural talent with exceptional effect.
I wonder if this is the future of work – doing not just a job, but more a calling, something which is a natural expression of one’s talents, the raw minerals which define our DNA.
In short, a perfect fusion of talent, function and mindset!
…and I know from personal experience how good he is, after an extended break, in just two months, he inspired me to dead lift a personal best of 180 kg!