In my last post, I identified one of the reasons I believe the CrossFit community has such a large range of quality is due to a lack of motivation to raise standards. Either “getting by” is enough or things are going pretty well anyway so why put forth more effort than needed? Motivation derives from two sources: extrinsic or intrinsic factors. In other words, you must have either outside forces compelling you to change practices or an inward reform of beliefs. Reflecting on why there is such a wide ranging scale of quality in the CrossFit prompted me to examine what it was that set the best apart. There is an understood sense that the communities in Southern California, Northern California and Colorado (to name a few) are known for excellence. Time and again we see bright minds and best practices emerge from those areas, not to mention a lifetime of warm fuzzies if you actually get a chance to visit. Why is that?
Obviously it’s the weather. #jelly
Other than that though, there is a common thread: these communities are filled with self-propelled individuals of high standards in environments that incentivize collaboration.
CrossFit is a very unique, emotionally-based business. Everyone believes in the mission of changing lives through fitness and nutrition (honestly, you have to). But there can be an unfortunate dark side. At the end of the day, the CrossFit gym is a business and it must generate revenue in order to sustain livelihoods and continue providing its services. In order to generate revenue it must attract clients. Here’s where it gets dicey. I believe, sometimes, we fall into a perception that only a finite number of clients can be reached through CrossFit. Thus it is only natural (logical, even) to view surrounding CF gyms as competition. If they have a lot of clients, those are clients that could be yours and all of a sudden we are faced with this rampant “every gym for itself” mentality. The situation would be really awkward at the only gluten-free bakery or Paleo-friendly restaurant in town except we have found a fantastic euphemism in which to cloak our unique predicaments…”it’s just business!” Right?
Allow me to offer an alternative scenario.
What if our communities, city by city, recognized that the battle is much bigger than this gym versus that gym. The battle is not even CrossFit versus Cardio Groove. What if we all realized the war we fight is actually on society’s entrenched belief that heart disease, obesity, diabetes, chronic fatigue and the like are merely genetic and cannot be changed. What if we saw that every day we shatter the “I guess this is all there is” attitude and the assumption that if a person does not like to exercise or is unhappy with their body well, they just need to accept themselves for who they are. Goosfraba now, I did not say we should not be happy with who we are…I just think it is part of our natures to seek continual improvement and we are faced with the incredible opportunity to tell the world it is OK to want and be more. It is not just OK, it is possible to attain, and we can show everyone how!
Isn’t that a message worth spreading?
So, let’s say these communities start to work together to share experience, suggest best practices, elevate the immature and encourage those who are lagging. People are attracted to excellence (we all know this stuff works anyway), so we no longer lose anyone to incompetence or lack of education. Little by little, CrossFit in this city or that city is known as one of the best ways to get in shape and change your life without the controversial puking or injuries nonsense. A better reputation = more people willing to give it a try = more clients for everyone. Does this sounds idealistic? It shouldn’t…it exists.
If, as an owner or coach, the thought of sharing insight makes you feel threatened or frightened, ask yourself why. Perhaps a part of you knows you could be putting a better product out there. Or perhaps the things you fear are not controllable factors anyway. Why waste your emotional energy on circumstances you cannot control? If you understand WHY you get up each day and pour yourself into every action, success will follow; you will have nothing to fear and no sleepless nights. If you know your service is the best it can be, people will recognize it and not want to go anywhere else.
Any truly successful business will tell you that, just ask Ritz Carlton, Southwest Airlines or Apple.
As long as a mindset is conditioned to expect the worst, that is the only possible outcome. Is it not better to fight for a worthwhile purpose? We already know a united community is not just possible, it is powerful beyond measure. The path is laid before us, all we have to do is take the first step.
Join the crusade for community.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.” Ephesians 3:20-21