Barbells, Community and Influence
Like quite a few of us, in early 2020, my wife’s and my work went from all travel to all Zoom almost overnight. Instead of frantically racing through airports each week, I was having to navigate the new world of virtual meetings. Cameras and microphones, breakout rooms, internet outages, learning to use “Speedtest.net,” – you name it – we dealt with it!
To help combat the hours of leading Zoom meetings each day, we decided to join in on our daughter’s CrossFit gym’s virtual classes. I love working out and being active, but really hadn’t had time to do much of it with my grueling work schedule…so virtual classes in our yard after work were a great, non-intimidating way for me to start! I actually found myself enjoying the classes and as a former football/strength coach, loved getting stronger again! Once the gym opened back up the summer of 2020, we started attending classes back in the “box” (that’s what CrossFitters call their gyms).
During my 2+ years of consistent CrossFit workouts since the start of the pandemic, three very important realities have come to the surface:
- First of all, being part of a community makes fitness easier. As an introvert who generally doesn’t like most people outside of those I already know, at first, I just wanted to stay in my little corner of the gym and not get to know other folks. But when they started helping me and each other get better, I slowly learned to love this group of people. In the CrossFit world, community means everything – it is one of the things that makes CrossFit so special. People from all walks of life come together in a shared passion for fitness and support each other. This is what makes the CrossFit community so strong! I’ve met and become dear friends with folks I would never have known outside of the gym that have positively contributed to my life and my family’s life.
- Secondly (and this is really just a personal satisfaction), you really can get more fit, no matter what stage in life. While I’m now officially in my “third-third” age-wise, I’m stronger and fitter than I’ve been since my early 40s! It is fun to know I can lift heavy things again!!
- Lastly, and perhaps most importantly for this leadersblog, I’ve been reminded again that leadership does not require a formal position. As “the old guy” at the gym, a number of my friendships have grown into more than just friendships. I’m now mentoring several men who are early in their careers and are moving into initial positions of leadership. My wife has had the same opportunity. We’ve even been able to do marriage mentoring with several of the couples who work-out at our gym.
Fellow Leader, how are you getting outside your comfort zone to meet new people who may be different than you? What can you learn from those who are from different backgrounds and walks of life? How can you use the power of influence to make those around you better?