By John Polley

Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting Ian O’Dwyer at my facility for a two-day workshop. Among many things discussed along the way, Ian asked “Why do people work with you?” to the group. The answer from one participant was, “well, no one has ever asked to see my qualifications…” Striking thought, don’t you think? We’ll return to this later.

Defining our subject

This article is all about authenticity. But what is it? In our industry, I think we can take this into so many areas: authenticity of exercise choices; authenticity of movement style; authenticity of service, and so on. What I’ll focus on today is the power of you living, working and being authentically you.

Do you wear a mask?

As you can see, authenticity is number one on the list of values at my facility. And the tag line at the bottom is ‘be free. be you.’ There is no greater freedom than being yourself. Our problem (if we call it that) is most people believe being themselves and being successful in a role are mutually exclusive. You can’t be yourself AND have success unless you’re someone special, like an artist or movie star. They have a privilege not available to the rest of us. We must wear a mask.

My message is the opposite. What I wish to passionately convey is that by building the essence of you into everything you do, it will inevitably lead to success.

A question I’ve asked at a number of conferences to groups of fitness professionals is: “What’s the one thing you can do better than anyone else?” Of course, the answer is “be you”. So, what’s the easiest way to build a unique, completely unbeatable reputation as a fitness professional?

Get to know yourself

“But I’m not sure who I really am!” you may say to me. Well, let’s ask you some more questions:

  • What do you love to do?
  • What do you love to read or study?
  • What type of people do you like being around?
  • Who inspires you?
  • What is it about each of those people that inspires you the most?
  • What do other people tell you that you are amazing at doing, and what do they thank you for?
  • Of all the roles you do in life, what would you gladly do for free?

(Questions inspired by my work with

These are great starting points. Your answers will tell you something about yourself. Now, take the first three questions and look at ways these elements can be introduced, built into, and become part of your business.

Questions 4 and 5 are about the qualities that you aspire to build or need to set free. Find your starting point on this journey of realising who you are / want to be. It may be as simple as talking to a coach to find strategies to release your inner strengths, or spending time with people who bring this out.

Question 6 gives you a hint at what others perceive as your strengths. Are these strengths your ‘real’ strengths or ones you choose to have people see for esteem or affluence? If they’re your true strengths, as you see it, then it could be time to showcase these to potential clients- as an advantage of working with you.

Finally, question 7 reveals your true passions. Passion drives us. Other people unconsciously feel this energy from you and you get what is commonly termed as ‘buy in’ by the marketing people. I call it trust and real connection; and if I may quote Jim Carrey:

“the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is”

What’s the point – the rainbow effect

In a webinar I did 2 years ago, I floated the idea that we’re all like rainbows, all unique, all a different mix of the colours (personal beliefs and values) of the spectrum. Some of us have more ‘red’, others more ‘blue’, others more ‘yellow’ so to speak. And did you know rainbows can only be seen from an angle of 42 degrees? Therefore, whatever rainbow you are looking at will be different to the next person. Hence, you are reflecting a unique set of traits, or colours, in a unique jigsaw of humanity, and when you relate to any other person, you are experiencing that person differently to any other person on the planet (just like your rainbow experience).

Now take this into your life and your work. If the essence of you is all blues and greens, but what you’re trying to be is reds and yellows, how good are you going to be? On top of this, you’ll be attracting reds and yellows who will then realise in time, you’re not as good at red and yellow as the other person in the facility who truly IS all reds and yellows! And what about all those people rich in blues and greens that don’t even know that’s what you’re all about, at your very essence? They’re working with others who are trying to be all the colours of the rainbow equally.

So my message is: shine YOUR colours, bright and bold and without fear. Your life will change. Why? Well, going back to Ian O’Dwyer’s question at the top of this article, people work with us because of us. Because of who we are, not what we know. They want to work with reality, not a façade. And if we take this and look for proof of why authenticity leads to success, let me list some of the most incredibly authentic people in our industry today:

  • Ian O’Dwyer (obviously)
  • Peter Twist
  • Bobby Cappuccio
  • Michol Dalcourt
  • Mike Fitch
  • Thomas Myers
  • Craig Harper
  • Paul Chek
  • Todd Durkin
  • Perry Nickleston

I could write a list ten times longer. Here’s my point though. These are also some of the most incredibly successful people in our industry too. Do you think they spend much time trying to be something they are not? Nope! They are truly authentic and shine their unique spectrum of colours on the world without compromise.

Go on. I dare you. Shine yours!

John Polley John Polley (JP) is the founder of BE FREE movement lifestyle wellness in North Beach, where he specialises in helping people move as effectively as possible. His client base stretches from people with previously debilitating conditions like osteoarthritis, through to professional sports people. His methods are similarly wide ranging, from hands on bodywork following the principles of the myofascial lines, through to complex and challenging fitness training techniques, all designed individually for each client’s needs. His mantra is “train or treat the human being, not the human body”.