I think it's very common to become self-centered in the pursuit of fitness. I also think one of the best things we can do to improve our individual fitness is to help build up the community around us.
It seems counter-intuitive that we could improve ourselves by caring well for others, but I think we can, and I think we could all benefit by asking the following question frequently...
"Does this build up the community?"
Here are a few examples of this question in action, along with some thoughts on why asking it can make us better individual athletes...
Skipping WODs..."Does this build up the community?"
If I'm going to get destroyed in a workout, I will frequently find an excuse to ditch it.
At face value, this seems like a personal decision that has no effect on the community, but I think there's more to it than that.
If I swallow my pride, and go to a nightmare workout, I'll get to show people something other than my highlight reel. I'll get to show people that it's OK to scale workouts, or that it's OK to post a low score. I'll get to encourage someone else who is naturally strong in the areas I am weak.
Humbly attending a challenging workout helps create a place where it's OK to be a work in progress. It fosters an environment where our best efforts are celebrated more than our best showing, a place where our individual weaknesses can be pulled out of the closet, and worked on.
Welcoming New People..."Does this build up the community?"
Here's a confession. I don't like meeting new people. They freak me out. I start wondering what this new person thinks about me, if I'm saying the wrong things, whether they'll like me or not...etc.
On my best days, I force myself to be welcoming. Not because I'm fake, or inauthentic. I force myself to do it because welcoming someone is more important than my own introverted comfort.
Why do I think it's so important?
I've seen people lose 100lbs at our gym. I know people who just wanted to be skinny who now have a healthy body-image, and win power-lifting competitions. I know people who struggled to lift groceries off the floor who are now approaching a 2x body-weight dead-lift.
You could be the one who welcomes these people on their first day, and keeps them walking through the doors. Don't miss the chance to be that person.
On an individual level, the people you welcome today, will be the people who root for you tomorrow. Being around newbies also reminds you how far you've come. You'll find yourself remaining excited about CrossFit as you see their eyes light up after hitting a PR, marking RX for the first time, or performing their first pull-up.
"I'm going to absolutely crush this WOD...Does that build up the community?"
Don't ever feel bad for doing your best. Obviously, I hope you'll win humbly, and resist the temptation to wrap your self-worth up in your physical abilities, but we should all get the chance to shine where we shine.
When you push the tempo in a workout, it builds up the community by giving them someone to chase. On an individual level, it gives you the chance to celebrate, and enjoy one of the ways you were uniquely created.
We could go on and on about all of this, but here's the takeaway...
There's a reason we aren't all doing this in our garages. We need each other. We need scores to chase. We need encouraging words. We need to see where we're weak, and to celebrate where we're strong.
We need community to be the best we can be as individuals.
If you struggle with occasionally going down a path of self-centered words, thoughts, and actions (like I do) I hope you'll join me by getting stronger individually by asking...
"Does this build up the community?"
See you at the box!
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P.S. Talking about custom jump ropes also builds community :) Click below to design yours!
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