Community and Culture, Year 3.

3 years. Our anniversary week puts me in a space of reflection and gratitude. In some capacity or another, I've heard most of you give your "why". You can articulate why you show up, why this is important and necessary part of your day and it blows me away how we, as coaches, can impact you with just the hour you are under our leadership. I can't. I can't put into words why this space and the people and coaches are so special and meaningful to me, I can only tell you I get a deep feeling in my gut. I believe all of this comes back to two things, some would say they are the same but I view them as separate but connected: Community and Culture.

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Community: You are the community. You are the ones who welcome new athletes, drop-ins, kids, and dogs into the box. Your smiling faces and care for one another is what makes this space special. Not the location, equipment, or programming. There's a certain type of person attracted to CrossFit. Those that know it won't be easy, and enjoy hard work, that don't expect to have results within 6 weeks, those that have a type A personality and choose to not settle for less, those that pursue greatness, invest in themselves, and are supportive. And those types of people you'll find in any affiliate, not just ours. But not every box is a community and I'm sure you've experienced this first hand when you've dropped into other boxes. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "It was a nice box but it makes you appreciate what you have at home." from you. Each of you care, genuinely care about others around you and know that if you connect with each other, you're more likely to show up when you'd rather sleep in or hit up happy hour or work through lunch.

Culture: The culture is the religion of the box. It's not something you can see but if it's there, you can feel it. And it starts with the Coaching Staff. I did not ask to be a leader, I had never  seen myself as one, and I had always said it "just happened". But the more I learn about leadership, the more see it as something that was always a part of me and it was exposed in CrossFit through coaching. I recently listened to a podcast with Bill Anthes, CrossFit Morristown owner, L1 Seminar Staff and former military he describes leadership as this:

"Leadership is a choice that people make. It's how he or she carries him/herself, it's his/her intentions, it's his/her performance." Furthermore, Anthes says that Leaders priorities are to: 1) Accomplish the Mission 2) Take care of your people. And then there are those who go to the next level... 3) Improve the organization he/she is a part of and not only do the job but leave this place better than he/she found it.

 The coaches did not seek out their L1 or L2 to become leaders but it's certainly a required part of their job. Looking at the above priorities of a leader (or Coach):

1) Accomplish the Mission: Get people fit through functional movements while having fun or "inspire, entertain, and educate," if you want to use the L1 expectations of a trainer.

2) Take care of your people: Your coaches know a lot about you and not just about your squat form. They know about your family, your health, your career, stressors and celebrations. They may know you better than your co-workers do. And they can identify when you're not feeling it or if you need a bit of extra encouragement. They'll also check in with you or call you out if you haven't been showing up to class. They foster the community. 

3) Improve the organization he/she is a part of and leave it better than he/she found it: If you could all look back from 3 years ago (and there's nearly 15 of you that can) who we (as an organization) were then is nothing to who we are now. This is through lots of learning, discussion, practice, being open to feedback from one another, and never settling to be complacent in how they coach. And as a result, you'll find that you are more fit now than you were, your movement has improved, you're mentally stronger, you've accomplished goals you never dream you'd set and I'm sure your confidence in and out of the box has drastically improved. That is due to the coaches ensuring that the programming is executed as it was intended to be and communicating this through visual, verbal and tactical cues all while making it fun and welcoming. It is our coaches who support new athletes in class, and take this to the next level and ensure that yes, CrossFit is for ANYONE. They show this by spending the time explaining the workout intent, scaling the workout for each person based on how he or she is moving in the warm up and what he or she is feeling like that day and continuing to check in with athletes during the workout, not just cheerleading or clock managing and demonstration of movements. CrossFit is for anyone regardless of ability, currently fitness level, age, gender, or physical limitations.

It is my, and now ultimately, our mission over the next 2 years to continue to diversify our community. [As coaches], "we are in a position to inspire others to see that they have the ability and power to change their destiny" (CrossFit.com). I want kids as young as 3 and masters over 80 years old and adaptive athletes to say "I CrossFit at Max Oxygen CrossFit Downtown" because I believe that CrossFit can help people improve their entire lives, not just their health and fitness capacity, and we have the culture and community to truthfully back this statement up. "CrossFit makes people better" -Coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder.

Thank you for a 3 years. For the opportunity to learn, grow, laugh, and sweat with you.     

                                                 Coach Jess                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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