As a business that’s strategically and purposefully tough

on its clients and coaches, we find ourselves needing to make some clarifications every now and then. For example: The difference between pushing and bullying.

Bullying is, unfortunately but undeniably, as old as humanity itself. You can also see traces and whispers of it amongst dogs and many other domesticated animals. Whether conducted online or in the real world, it’s the public ridiculing, belittling, and/or embarrassing of someone weaker by someone stronger for the express purpose of establishing social control, dominance, and authority.

Formerly reserved for children, the concept of bullying has dramatically and controversially expanded in scope to include adults. Amongst journalists, politicians, educators, and psychologists, there’s heated debate about how to handle bullying, but one thing is clear: Bullying, when endured by children or the otherwise defenseless, cannot be tolerated in civilized society.

Pushing is an entirely different phenomenon–one that’s far more effective, beneficial, and positive for all parties involved. First of all, pushing–as we’re defining it–occurs between two consenting adults who make an informed, mutual decision to enter a relationship in which one party will do the pushing and in which the other party will be pushed.

But why push in the first place? Because, sometimes, even though you know that the best step is the next step, you just don’t feel like taking it. You resist. You hesitate. You float complaints. You manufacture excuses. All of which is perfectly understandable given human nature–and all of which must be countered in order to achieve the results one is out to achieve.

In excellent companies, employ- ers push employees to become more creative, more efficient, more innovative. Successful employees, being human beings, tend not to like it–but they stick with it anyway. Why? Because they like those paycheques and (if they’re lucky) they know they’re part of an enterprise that’s doing good things.

In excellent schools, professors push students to become more perceptive, more experienced, more intelligent. Successful students, being human beings, tend not to like it–but they stick with it anyway. Why? Because they want that degree and (if they’re lucky) they’re learning something that’s important and fascinating to them.

At excellent group-training and personal-training facilities, coaches push clients to work harder, to be more responsible, to have greater integrity, to produce superior results. Successful clients, being human beings, tend not to like it–but they stick with it anyway. Why? Because they want to become (and remain) fit and lean. They want their health and vitality back–if they ever had it in the first place. But most of all and most importantly, successful students respect and appreciate being pushed because, without that pushing, they’re stuck. That doesn’t make them bad, nor wrong, nor worthy of shame. But it doesn’t exactly make them winners in the game of life either.

At ARM TRAINING SYSTEMS, we never bully our clients. But we most certainly do push them–lovingly, strategically, and intentionally. The vast majority of our community loves that about us. To them, it’s a refreshing change from lower-cost, lower-value, big-box gyms that demand (then deliver) nothing at all.

Of course, for a vocal, sensitive minority, pushing doesn’t work–and that’s OK. Really! But those individuals should know in advance that we’re probably not the fitness solution for them. Which is why we take such great effort to develop signage, graphics, materials, and advertisements that communicate what we’re about and how we go about the business of making business people fit, lean, strong, and powerful in all areas of life.