10 GOLDEN RULES OF VISITING A TRAINER as a Student and / or Working-Student
How to take maximum of any Possible Learning Experience?
Traveling is FUN. Learning is FUN. Traveling to learn can be a double-FUN! How can you profit from the learning situation to the maximum? Just follow these 10 very simple advices, and you will be remembered as an open and eager to learn angel (who you really are), and you will gain maximum from any learning experience:
1. Don’t bash OTHER TRAINERS and OTHER TRAINING METHODS. No-one really wants to hear about ALL WHAT IS WRONG in a method that you studied last few years, or a person who helped you learn and grow, especially if you became a teacher trainer of the method, or studied it for years under someone’s else supervision. It means that at a time it was helpful to you, so stay grateful. Stay respectful. Without respect to knowledge given you at any stage of your journey and the respect to the teachers who brought you where you are today, you are not going to learn anything further on. Most of the trainers are most invested in what they do, but it’s natural. The fact that they are not into what others do, doesn’t mean that they are against or anti anything. You don’t have to proof your engagement in what you do today by discrediting other methods. It’s normal that in everything there are pieces of GOLD, among pieces of what can be improved, and pieces of what is not important from someone’s personal perspective. Don’t be all negative. It’s REALLY tiring for others.
2. Be TACTFUL. Show yourself as tactful, respectful, and a trusted person. If you bash your past trainer(s) in front of me, all I think about is that you will do the very same thing to me at someone’s else place.
3. Make NOTES. It’s a really great practice to take notes at the end of the day, or even at the end of the training session of everything that spoke to you, or was a discovery for you. What seems so natural and obvious in the Trainer’s environment, can quickly fade away from your memory, or twist into something else when you are at home. Take notes. Don’t be afraid to ask the trainer to repeat themselves using a different example or different analogy. Nodding the head does not always equal understanding! Make sure you understood everything, and then put it on paper!
4. Don’t ask a trainer PERSONAL QUESTIONS, which wouldn’t be appropriate to be asked even by a distant family member. Don’t ask if your trainers want to have kids, or why they don’t have kids. Don’t ask if they bought their training place, and if so for how much.
5. VISIT TO LEARN. If you don’t want to learn, don’t visit. If you come and from the doorsteps say that you just came to see “IF THIS IS REAL, or just a trick”, you can really make anyone feel like an animal in a ZOO. Successful people are successful because they base everything they do on REAL THINGS, real processes. Tricks are good for short-distance runners, are good for a minute or a day.
6. LEARN, don’t imagine. If you visit someone just to check if the teacher is WHO YOU IMAGINED HIM TO BE, you are losing your time that you could spend on learning, asking questions and getting deeper into the details of the work that you are interested in. What is more, you are losing your teacher’s time as well, and blocking time for someone who could come in that place and really learn. Teacher is not a friend to like, but a carrier of information and techniques. If you understand your role and the role of the teacher better, you will be always satisfied with your learning experience. Another important thing is to be open to what really inspires you in the trainer. Many times the things which draw us to someone are not the ones we believe they are. Many times it’s not a particular technique of doing something, but passion, dedication, engagement, the way they think. Stay open, maybe the thing that you subconsciously came to take from the trainer is not the one that your thinking mind tells you it is.
7. Don’t GOSSIP. Don’t gossip about your friends, their poorly trained horses (not like your champion! ;-) , or about the trainers who became your friends… Don’t gossip about their Life and Life choices. You don’t know what stands behind them.
8. Don’t tell THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE. No-one really has the time to listen to your life story, bad parents, divorces, arguing with husband/wife, bad boss at work, and naughty children. Not even your friends ;-) And especially not your trainer. If he is interested, he will ask you for certain details, but probably only to understand better the training stage of the horse, and why you tense upon some situations, or the reason behind your horse’s and your stress or behaviours connected to the training. Stick to answering these questions, as they can guide the training further.
9. KNOW what you came to learn. If you come and you have no questions, and you don’t know what you want to learn when you are asked about it, there is a big question in the head of the trainer about the reason behind your visit. Before visiting the trainer make a big fat list of all the things you come to learn, and the ones you want to experience for yourself. Show this list to the trainer, and discuss together what is possible, and how you can do this together.
10. SOCIAL MEDIA. Don’t record videos, and don’t take photos without asking for consent. Don’t post on Social Media without a consent, especially if you are visiting someone’s home, and you came as a working student. What for you is just an exciting trip for someone is their living environment and their HOME. Don’t take and don’t post photos with someone’s kids or animals. They are living beings, not toys or celebrities. Ask yourself whether you came to LEARN something, or just to CHECK IN and post about your “next exciting adventure” for your friends.
AND AN ADDITIONAL GOLDEN RULE: Don’t call your past trainer(s) mentally ill. It’s a VERY serious thing. You don’t call anyone mentally ill. These days it’s so easy and somehow tempting to call someone mentally ill if we don’t understand their behaviour, but mental health is not a joke. We have mental health awareness weeks and we call out for more understanding and awareness in regards to mental illnesses, and yet it’s so common to use many of the mental illnesses to discredit or try to explain people we don’t like or understand. You don’t have to do this. You just can say that you didn’t understand this or that behaviour of a certain person, or you just can choose not to mention this person or situation at all (especially if you have nothing good to say about them). On the bottom line, even if someone is diagnosed, and you learned about it, it should not be publicly discussed with third parties without the consent of the one who is affected by the illness.