GREAT questions. There are a few things that come to mind:
First, I tend to adhere to a quote a friend of mine used in passing a while back. Pardon my French, but he said "You're not so fucking special." It's something that guides me; the second you think you're good at something, you become complacent. I'm always looking for new ways to get better, and truthfully, as a humble kid from a small town in Maine, I'll never be one of those unapproachable, egotistical strength coaches. I guess it's one reason why I feel weird answering this email.
Second, I practice what I preach. You'd be surprised how many coaches with good theoretical knowledge bases train like sissies or not at all. You'll never have a perspective on the physiological response to exercise if you've never experienced such a response yourself at a number of levels depending on the training stimuli.
Third, I'm a workaholic. This isn't a good thing when you're 24. I regularly work 60+ hour weeks when you factor in clients (in-person and online), Prime Time, and just answering emails day-to-day. I'm also still involved up at UCONN (was there all day today) coaching athletes just because I wanted to check in on the athletes with whom I've worked for a few years now (and just because I love coaching).
Fourth, I've been fortunate to interact on a daily basis with a lot of really experienced and intelligent people by phone, email, and personal interaction. I'm a firm believer that everyone has something to teach, so I go out of my way to talk shop with as many people as possible.
There are probably a few other reasons that will come to mind later.
It's interesting that you bring "spotting this" in someone else. I guess I've kind of acquired a knack for it when it comes to our interns at UCONN. There are a lot that come through just to get their credit hours and kind of just go through the motions without ever really thinking "Damn, I could actually use this in my own training! Heck, I might even have something constructive to offer." With that in mind, keep an eye out for a guy named Mike Irr in the next few years; he's a good kid who has really impressed me of late.
Things I would have done differently? Well, I would have set better rules for myself early-on about finding a balance between work and play. Right now, I work waaaaaay too much relative to the amount of time I play. I need to get better on this front just for the sake of mental health!