Ask the Expert: What If They Don’t Like me?

Have you ever taken over a class from a popular instructor, or at a new gym, and you not only get the sense that they don’t like your style, but you’ve gotten complaints or negative comments from students? That’s what happened to ICA member Beth, and she’s pretty down about it. I’ve got some suggestions to help build your confidence and stand your ground, as well as how to make sure you learn from the situation. I received an e-mail from ICA member (I’ll call her Beth) who is a little saddened by her reception at a new club. Maybe you’ve experienced something similar?

I took over a class at a new facility for me and haven’t gotten very warm reception. There are a few who thank me and smile, but some have even been downright snotty to my face. I always try to keep it real and stick to proper Spinning techniques, and they are probably used to instructors doing push-ups and hovers, but I won’t do that. But it’s more than that. They just seem to not like me, and one filled out a complaint form at the front desk. How can I get past this? I feel like the wall to break through to them is a mile high before I even start teaching the class.

Beth, you are not alone. What you are feeling is perfectly normal! We all want to be liked and appreciated, it’s human nature. But it’s also human nature to have preferences, and it is impossible to please everyone.

First a few quotes that might help out:

“Trying to please everybody is impossible; if you did that, you’d end up in the middle with nobody liking you. You’ve just got to make the decision about what you think is your best, and do it.”
~John Lennon

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”
 ~Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

And finally, my favorite:

1 Comment

  1. Wish I’d read this after taking over a class 6 weeks ago. Despite 18yrs teaching under by belt and always having the majority of happy participants I met my first trio who hated the way I taught because I didn’t deserve contraindicated moves.

    On reflection I reacted defensively to them doing unprompted ‘press ups’ in my class which caused an atmosphere. Lesson learnt for me that I should have laid my rules out from day one

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