The Slippery Slope of Resulting


As a coach or clinician we are results thirsty. Results are probably why we entered the field.

To help others meet goals.

To be better versions of themselves.

We brandish our marketing with sayings such as “I get you results”. Our professional identity gets hitched to this wagon. And this works if the population is right and the success indicator is fixed enough. It easy to get the 14 year old boy to gain weight. Leave him alone with a dumbbell and a jar of peanut butter and magic will happen. But drawing results from our direct interventions is a slippery slope. 

First, resulting may draw an undue attachment to a method. A this always works for me so this must be THE way. We can see past the blinders of our experience to know that the 14 year old ticking hormone bomb would have gotten bigger with about any training stimulus food combo. Same with a patient with acute back pain. “My patients all get better with X intervention.” Well, the literature shows MOST will get better with MOST things over enough time. In this way,  resulting can lead to myopia, overconfidence, and rigidness in thinking. 


Additionally, resulting can lead to an emotional attachment to results. If I am the person who gets results, what happens when I don’t? “My method works so it can’t be my issue?” We look elsewhere for blame. “The client lacks discipline. No way they are doing what I told them to do.” Or we blame ourselves. “I don’t know enough.” “I should have seen that coming.”


But the reality is outcomes are a bound to infinite variables both within and outside of our control. We are helping increase the probability that the goal is reached, not determining it to be. The best poker players in the world lose hands they should win and win hands they should lose. Manage probability to the best of your ability and understand the ultimately the result is out of your hand. 


The world is complex, be humble. 

The world is complex, be kind to yourself.

-Anthony 

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