I'm bored the monotony of maintenance

I’m bored the monotony of maintenance.

I’m bored the monotony of maintenance is wearing on me. I think I need something new to train. 

Has anyone said this before?  I know I’ve heard it and sometimes I’ve caught myself ending a session early by shoving a bunch of food under, just because I’m bored of the behaviors I’m asking.

So how do you keep it interesting if you’re the intern and you’re only allowed to do shapes and targets? Or what if you’re the senior trainer and your focus shifts to turning people over instead of training new things?

It’s the curse of mastery.

Once you master something it comes natural. Natural turns to easy.  Easy becomes boring. Boring slips into sloppy. Sloppy?  Well sloppy isn’t good.

Take a look at Michael Jordan for a minute.  Arguably the greatest basketball player of all time and undoubtedly a master of the game. Jordan had three NBA championships under his belt and numerous Olympic medals.  He was so good, and he was bored.  So he retired to play baseball.

Arnold Schwarzenegger might be the biggest career changer of our day.  Starting out at a body-builder, he mastered that arena and moved on to conquer the next.  After conquering the acting world and making himself a household name he was ready for the next challenge.  Thank you Governator.

These guys suffered and succeeded because of the boredom that comes with mastery.

Now, I’m a firm believer that there isn’t such a thing as mastery.  There’s always something more to learn, a new way to innovate, or an improvement of your technical skills. Regardless, successful people have found a way to master their craft and manage their boredom, but how? When you find yourself saying I’m bored the monotony of maintenance is killing me, here’s what to do!

Here’s a few ideas:

Learn to savor the process.

Continue to focus on and love the training process.  Relish in the little moments: the animal’s response to the bridge, the way it feels when a session just clicks, the endorphin rush you get from the relationship with that animal.

Look at the skill in a different way.

Can you clean your exhibit ten minutes faster without cutting corners?  Try challenging yourself to enrich an animal with the same item in fifteen different ways.

Teach it to someone else.

A great way to stretch your capabilities is to see if you can transfer your skill to someone else.  Teach your best friend, volunteer, or better yet a guest about what you do and how.

Research to be ready.

What’s it like to be at the next level? Do some research about the person in the position above you or a company you’d like to model.  Gather the details of what it’s like to be them and what information you’ll need to get there. When opportunity knocks be ready.

Be critical of your skills.

Film yourself and review the footage.  Is there anything you could improve on? Ask for feedback from your peers and supervisors.  Ensure your mastery is genuine and there’s not more you can learn. Watch how we would do consistency audits of our behaviors to ensure our cues and criteria we as consistent as possible. 

Remember, it’s not really about you.  

So what if you’re bored.  Is the animal getting what they need?  Are you part of an organization that’s doing amazing things?  Give up a little on checking all the boxes and live in the reality that you’re serving a greater good, not just yourself.

Need help breaking out of boredom?  Break out your training toolbox and get technical.

Download our I’m bored the monotony of maintenance tips here!

Break out of the boredom (1411 downloads)

Love training? Can’t find the time! Listen here! Episode 30: You clean too much!

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