I have a Master Degree in Exercise Physiology....but I don't know everything about exercise physiology.
I am a Board Certified Sport Dietitian....but I don't know everything about sport nutrition.
I am a 11x Ironman finisher, including 4 Ironman World Championship finishes, but I'm really not that great of a triathlete.
I don't lack self confidence but I have self awareness that to be an expert in anything, you have to focus on personal development, continuous education and the understanding that there is always someone smarter/better than you.
As a coach and sport dietitian, I learn every day. Whether it's from an athlete, a research article or another expert, I am constantly learning. I hope that I never stop learning.
Regardless of my educational background and professional experiences, it's simply not possible to know everything about what I do.
And I'm cool with that.
The reality is that sports are constantly changing, especially endurance sports when there are so many variables and factors that make for a "great" race day performance.
Research changes and the training, diet and lifestyle habits by athletes are constantly changing.
In my field, endurance sports (specifically triathlon and running), can be complicated and rarely is there a "best" approach to be applied by the masses. It's only when an athlete figures out what works best for him/her that he/she knows exactly what will work.
I believe that every expert needs another expert as a mentor. I feel the same way about athletes who are coaches - every coach needs a coach.
Having a mentor, or another expert, who you trust, who you believe in his/her philosophy, who is passionate, educated and committed to his/her practice and shares a similar vision as you, is important. But what's more important is that this mentor/expert has more experience than you, a slightly different set of skills and can say/do things that are new to you.
While you don't have to agree with everything that your mentor says, suggests or does, your expert/mentor should challenge you to think, in a good way.
When you are a professional/expert, there is great benefit of having an expert like this in your life because it keeps you having fun - you are constantly challenged to think, learn and devote yourself to your practice.
And with this extra dose of devotion, you become more successful.
I have been a long time fan of coach Matt Dixon of Purple Patch Fitness because I believe we share a similar philosophy in how we coach our athletes. Certainly, with him having an extensive record of successful age group, professional and even Olympic/Elite athletes that he has coached, his methods also work.
Even though Karel and I are coaches, and we take our coaching business very seriously (it's our full-time, 24/7, 365-day a year job), learning is extremely important to us. We are constantly reading, listening to podcasts and studying the training methods and approaches by other coaches (and athletes) but Matt Dixon has been a continued resource and mentor for us at Trimarni.
Although Karel is technically the athlete who is coached by Matt, by default, since I train with Karel and Karel oversees my training, I feel that I am also coached by Matt.
Learning, working hard, having fun.
This is my recipe to being successful.
Always keep yourself learning.
Always be willing to work hard.