We have been at this “gym business” thing for 5 years now. And I used to feel really crappy when folks decided to move on…….leave……..quit. It was like someone breaking up with you. Really.
It didn’t feel much different. But, then, I realized something………I will get to it in a minute.
From time to time, I like to reflect back on where we started and where we are now. Much of that also involves remembering what I thought it was going to be like to run a business and what it really is like.
What I thought patience, empathy, love, honesty, forgiveness, mental health, and hard work meant BEFORE opening up our CrossFit gym……and what it means now.
Some things really haven’t changed, and some things have changed a lot.
Like, when we first opened our doors, I knew we wanted to be a place that families felt welcome. That you could bring your kids to either workout or to watch their parents workout. There would be space for them and the environment would be one that you didn’t necessarily have to worry about them hearing or seeing some of the crappier stuff that may go on in a gym. (ie: cursing, half naked men, gross conversations, etc) I’m not saying none of that goes on here at Waypoint, but it isn’t something you take notice of each and every day.
The above still holds true.
We have been able to build a health and strong business on the model that there are families just like us around. Families that are looking to do CrossFit, but maybe don’t feel like they belong in a CrossFit gym. They are busy, they have life stuff happening, maybe been through some stuff and are looking for a fresh start and taking the step of walking through our doors is it for them.
By offering a safe place mentioned above, we have managed to have an estimated 1,000 folks. Which is amazing. We have become the go-to place for busy moms seeking a change. We have become a place where active adults can find that change they are looking for in their workout regimen.
That “change” is different for everyone. Some have been looking to lose the baby weight, some are looking for a community, some are looking to get fit.
At least, those are the reasons they tell you.
What they are really looking for and dealing with, are these things:
- A fresh start after a divorce
- To save their marriage
- Health and wellness after trying unsuccessfully with getting pregnant
- Mental strength from losing a loved one……sometimes even a child
- To figure out how to use their body after losing significant weight
- To be able to see their children get married
- To be able to take care of their grandkids
- For their sanity
- A break from their life
- A break from their kids
They may sound brutal.
But, it’s the truth.
I know it, because I have talked to these people. Sometimes having multiple phone conversations with them before they decide to step foot in the door.
I know, because I have sat and hugged them while they cried.
I know, because I have fought to keep them safe. Fought to maintain a space where they could just…..be. And it hasn’t been just me.
As our community continued to grow, our members saw, that, was how you treated people here.
That you treat everyone with patience and empathy. That everyone has “stuff” (one of my favorite sayings) and you never know what they are dealing with, so just be nice. And if you didn’t like it, then this wasn’t the place for you. Believe it or not, some believe that, somehow makes you “soft”. Oh on the contrary wise one…………when you truly give people the space to be themselves without judgement, not only do you show strength but you are helping build someone else up stronger.
We have managed to build a team around us that also understands that. It’s super easy to find an employee……maybe even someone who wants to coach. It’s not easy to explain to someone that part of their job is to be empathetic and that the only way to understand our clients, is to learn all there is to learn about them. To accept everyone with their ticks and personality stuff. (We all have stuff……remember.)
So, when we have done this………care so much to build them up, surround them with members who treat them like us, care for them and really open up……and our staff has done the same…..it hurts when they say good bye.
The negative side of my brain says…..”how unfair.”, “how ungrateful”, “after all we have been through”…….because believe it or not, the love is real. And when our members go through stuff, so do we.
For some reason, I always though if you were that first person to make them believe in themselves and make them strong both mentally and physically, that, they would of course stay with you forever.
BUT, now after 5 years……and many, many life lessons. I can now say – I am PROUD.
Proud of helping build up someone who then feels that they can do anything. That they can go out and conquer the world. That, they don’t need to lean on the community or leaders like they did in the beginning, because they themselves have become a leader.
So, as my girl MC Lyte would say, we are going to “keep on, keeping on.” And keep welcoming in all bodies, all levels, all ages…….until they feel like they can conquer anything.
-Regina Aldridge, Owner