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A Manager’s Perspective


As a group exercise manager, understanding the concepts of "stepping stones" and "sliding doors" is essential for effectively navigating your professional journey and enhancing the experiences of your team and participants. These metaphors illustrate the different types of progress and pivotal moments that define your career and influence your management approach.

Stepping Stones: Building a Successful Management Career

Definition and Importance:

Stepping stones represent the structured, progressive stages that define a manager's career path. These stages are the planned, incremental steps that build upon each other, leading to professional growth and mastery.

What You Should Be Doing:

Structured Progression:

- Skill Development: Continuously seek out certifications and training to enhance your management and fitness knowledge.

- Mentorship: Establish mentoring relationships, both as a mentor and a mentee, to foster growth and development.

- Consistency and Routine: Maintain regular schedules for yourself and your team, ensuring reliability and stability in class offerings.


- Certifications: Obtain advanced management certifications and specialized fitness certifications to stay current and versatile.

- Class Experience: Start by managing a small team and gradually take on more responsibility, leading to larger teams or multiple locations.


- Measured Progress: Clearly track your professional growth and development.

- Career Advancement: Build a strong resume with each milestone, making you a more attractive candidate for higher-level positions.

- Enhanced Leadership Skills: Develop a solid foundation in leadership and management before taking on more complex challenges.

Sliding Doors: Embracing Pivotal Moments

Definition and Importance:

Sliding doors represent the critical decision-making moments or opportunities that can dramatically alter your career trajectory. These moments are often unexpected and can lead to significantly different outcomes based on the choices made.


What You Should Be Doing:

Transformative Choices:

- Stay Open to Opportunities: Be open to trying new fitness trends, implementing innovative programs, or exploring new management strategies.

- Seize Growth Opportunities: Take on new challenges that can open up professional avenues, such as leading regional teams or developing new fitness initiatives.

- Adaptability: Be flexible and adaptable in response to unexpected changes or opportunities.


- Implementing New Programs: Deciding to introduce new fitness formats or wellness programs, which could attract a broader participant base and increase engagement.

- Relocating or Expanding: Opening a new location or expanding services, which could expose you to new markets and professional networks.

- Taking on Leadership Roles: Accepting higher-level management or executive positions, which can significantly shift your career focus.


- New Perspectives: Gain fresh insights and approaches to fitness management.

- Career Expansion: Unlock new opportunities and pathways for career advancement.

- Enhanced Motivation: The excitement of new challenges can reignite your passion for fitness and management.

What You Should Not Be Doing:

Avoid Stagnation:

- Complacency: Avoid becoming too comfortable in your current role; always seek growth and improvement.

- Resistance to Change: Do not resist new trends or innovative approaches; adaptability is key to staying relevant and effective.

Avoid Burnout:

- Overcommitting: Be mindful of your workload to avoid burnout, which can negatively impact your performance and the team's morale.

- Neglecting Self-Care: Ensure you prioritize your own well-being to maintain the energy and focus needed for effective management.

Integrating Stepping Stones and Sliding Doors into Your Career

For Managers:

- Plan and Progress: Create a clear, structured career plan with achievable goals and milestones to build a solid foundation.

- Embrace Opportunities: Be aware of pivotal moments and seize opportunities that could lead to significant professional growth.

For Team Engagement:

- Build Relationships: Use the structure of stepping stones to build strong relationships with your instructors, fostering loyalty and consistent performance.

- Encourage Exploration: Introduce your team to new classes and formats, helping them embrace their own sliding door moments.

As a group exercise manager, both stepping stones and sliding doors play crucial roles in shaping your career. By understanding and leveraging these concepts, you can navigate your professional journey more effectively, balancing structured progress with the excitement and potential of transformative opportunities. This balanced approach ensures a dynamic, engaging, and ultimately successful career in the fitness industry.


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