don't lie to me

It's true. People lie to you.

Now I'm not talking about lying to you in a malicious/manipulative way, I have this awesome bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you really cheap - or - she's a real peach, only driven to church and back by the gentlest 80 year old grandmother you've ever met. 

What I'm talking about is how people will/do lie to you... if they think telling you the truth could or would hurt your feelings.

Friends can be the worst. And I count a lot of long time members at our club, as friends.

“The truth is always an insult or a joke, lies are generally tastier. We love them. The nature of lies is to please. Truth has no concern for anyones comfort" - Arturo Binewski.”
”• Katherine Dunn

Here's a recent example.

Two weeks ago I took over a class for another Instructor. 6:00 am Thursday mornings. The previous Instructor is very solid and she teaches a cycling specific class - I've taken and subbed it multiple times, so I was a good choice to take over her class. Everyone there knows me by name and most I've known for years.

The first week was Spring break = only about 1/2 the normal attendance. It was an endurance day and I thought; "why not run them though some Effortless Exercise intervals?" I lead everyone through a series of ladders where the challenge was to keep your mouth closed (staying aerobic) - while maximising power output. I had them experimenting with different cadences to observe where they each were most efficient.

After class I asked a few participants their thoughts (I try to always ask for questions/comments) and each was positive. But as it turned out, they were lying to me 🙁

This past week was an ugly snowstorm, so again a small class. Wanting to build on the theme we did a bunch of climbing, but stayed down around VT1 = aerobic. I needed to get on the road quickly that morning, so I didn't hang around very long.

Walking to to Amy's class Saturday morning, a member approached me with; "John, you've really got to step it up!" And she proceeded to tell me how such and such's class on Tuesday is really hard and how a number of other members were disappointed by how "easy" my class was.

Finally someone willing to tell me the truth! 

I can do hard and these members know it. In fact I'll bet I disappointed most of them. Beyond their (misguided) belief that a hard class always equals a good class, my reputation is that John teaches hard classes. When I didn't meet their "expectations" for hard, they probably felt cheated at some level.

In Krista Leopold's Dear Instructor post, she shared the honest disappointment of Patrick, a frustrated member. He had an expectation that wasn't met that was based on his perspective; the scheduled Instructor is totally capable of coming come to class prepared. I found the very specific honesty refreshing and I'm hoping that this Instructor will appreciate Patrick. He could very well be the only participant in his class that believes enough in him, to tell him the truth.

As a think back through this, I'm realizing that my mistake was not considering that these members would have an expectation based on their previous experiences with me and my class. I had walked in thinking; "these folks need aerobic base training... so that's what I'm going to give them." When I should have thought; "these folks are probably thinking I'm going to walk in and crush them... so I need to meet that expectation first and then slowly work in the base training I feel they need." As I type this I'm also realizing that ME, deciding what THEY need, was about ME and not THEM 🙁     

This week I'm planning a class that will bracket a long aerobic climb, with two very long/intense FTPish intervals. I'm also going to have everyone fill out this Instructor Evaluation Form that Dr. Haley Perlus had created for us for us a while back.

And then act accordingly.


Originally posted 2013-04-14 08:45:39.


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