Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Community: A Little Less Observation, A Little More Action

Community. It’s the foundation and launching pad for a project Jake, Chance, and myself have initiated called LivXFit. The defining characteristic of any thriving community is shared and active participation by its members. I think Elvis said it best when he sang, “A little less observation and a little more action.” Ok, ok, maybe he actually said “conversation” not “observation” but for the purposes of me making an awesome point, let’s all just pretend he said, “observation”. Thanks.

Not everyone requires being told they're doing a good job when they’ve, indeed, done a good job. I do. I require verbal affirmation along with some type of super secret best friend fist bump/hand shake combo and a toy- any toy will do. But I’m an anomaly of sorts. However, in all seriousness, if we were to be completely honest with ourselves, most all of us would admit our desire for some level of affirmation in life. Words of encouragement build us up, they motivate us, and they give us confidence. We typically establish trust and forge a sense of camaraderie with those who take the time and effort to speak words of encouragement into our lives because it shows they care. It is this very concept that has catalyzed the success of CrossFit as a training philosophy. As co-owner of a CrossFit affiliate, I see the willingness of our coaches and members to empathize, encourage, care for one another and build each other up as being directly responsible for our success. The very nature of CrossFit to be community-based has cultivated the opportunity for CrossFitters to take some form of action in each other’s lives, be it positive or negative action. No matter the size or type of business, organization or community, none has the potential to be viable unless a critical mass of its membership contribute something positive. If you think about it, this is true in every aspect of life and at every organizational level of relationships from an individual basis, to family, friends, and acquaintances. When we pour out positivity into the lives of those surrounding us, it starts a chain reaction similar to the effects of an earthquake; the effects may be most evident at the epicenter, but the shockwaves are capable of carrying a lofty punching power which can be felt for miles and miles.

Outside of having a mohawked Filipino dude conjure up some of the most creative, potent, effective, and dare I say (I do), ingenious WODs in the world, what originally drew most of us to CrossFit was the fact that, at some point, someone engaged us. At CrossFit, we became more than just another faceless name in a stack of signed auto-renewal gym contracts. We weren’t allowed to fall through the cracks, hide beneath a hat, or workout alone in the corner of the room. When we needed to be cheered on to the finish line; someone cheered, when we completely butchered the technique for a movement and needed coaching; someone coached us, and when we needed to know we weren’t the only ones struggling for air; we sat up and looked around only to discover everyone else lying flat-backed as well.

Here’s the bottom-line: Even a little bit of encouragement can go a long way in terms of helping to build a cummunity. The amount of effort required in learning a new members name or by offering someone a well deserved “Congrats!” or “Great job today, buddy!” when they establish a new PR is minimal compared to the substantial impact it may have in their lives. But don’t cut yourself off at the knees by ending your pursuit of taking action within the bay doors of your affiliate’s box. LivXFit’s challenge to you is to not only see what can happen when you intentionally and purposefully infuse nuggets of encouragement in CrossFit settings but to take the concept of pouring out positivity into all those you encounter outside of the box: Your family, your friends, co-workers and acquaintances. In this life, you’re either someone who always wishes things would happen, someone who always makes things happen, or one of those who always ends up asking, “What the heck happened?” Be proactive. Take action within your sphere of influence. Make an impact in your community, one friendly smile, one sincere showing of support, and one super secret best friend fist bump/hand shake combo at a time.

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