Tribes and CrossFit
Quote from CrossFit member on "Why I am CrossFit:"
Never before have I been a part of something that has impacted my life the way that CrossFit has. I've played just about every team sport there is over the years, but I have never been a part of a more dynamic, close-knit, supportive, badass bunch of guys and gals as I am here at CrossFit! Everyone is so passionate about fitness and the CF way of life, and it truly is contagious. I am CrossFit because....When the workout is over and the reality of what I just went through sets in, I have a smile on my face. When the pain comes and I look around and see that I am not going through it alone, I have a smile on my face. When I post times and accomplish goals that I never thought possible, I have a smile on my face. In the evenings when I am dead tired, sore as hell, and the days events are going through my mind and I realize that I gave it 110% all day, I have a smile on my face!!
Sense a little passion in the above quote?!! We'll get back to how that relates in just a bit.
Several months ago I finished Seth Godin's latest book, Tribes. While I enjoyed the book and have tremendous respect for Seth's marketing views and business insights, I did not feel like this book was his best effort. It was well marketed and well packaged (love the dust jacket!), but the content left me feeling: "Okay, so .....?" And call me old school, but I prefer more narrative and not so many one-paragraph anecdotes or client stories.
Then, about a month later, something happened that shifted my thinking. I joined CrossFit.
Talk about a tribe... CrossFit is a living, breathing tribe! My CrossFit experience totally crystallized Seth's theories about tribes. Godin: "A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate."
The idea behind CrossFit and the shared interest among its tribe members is elite fitness. Everyone at CrossFit is there to learn and train (in a very unique manner) to achieve a new found level of personal fitness. Our CrossFit tribe makes great use of a very enriched TypePad blog as its forum for communication. The workout for each day is posted on the blog late evening for the coming day. I know from experience that every member of the tribe is on the site multiple times a day. A typical day's blog post will draw a response of 15 or more comments. Today, there are thousands of CrossFit members spread across six continents.
Godin: "Tribes need leadership. Sometimes one person leads, sometimes more."
The leader of CrossFitWV is Jeremy Mullins. He's the chief of the tribe. And he gets tons of support from other chieftains, especially co-founder Dr. Dan Sticker. But it was Jeremy's vision that brought CrossFit to Charleston, West Virginia. Dr. Dan is a wonderful teacher, and I really appreciate all of the registered trainers (Corey, Brooks, Scott & others on staff, who are there to instruct, motivate, encourage and lead.) Here's the clincher: every day the chiefs do the workouts along with the rest of the tribe. They suffer and sweat and bleed along with the rest of us.
Godin: "People want growth and connection and something new. They want change."
Go back and reread the opening quote from Cameron, my good friend and a beast of a competitor who's nicknamed "The Machine."
Godin: "Tribes make our lives better. And leading a tribe is the best life of all."
If you think that's hype, just check out the following quote from Jeremy, our tribal chief:
Was there ever a better time in our lives? As kids, everything in the world was perfect. I used to wake up on a weekend to watch the early morning cartoons, have a bowl of cereal or two lol, and then I’d play all day long. It was such a simple life, but it made sense and it worked. I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. It was perfect!
Until Now.....Right now is the best time of my life. I never get bored because there are always "toys" to play with, and how we play with them changes everyday. I wake up early and get to go hang out with people who are my "family." People who I feel would do anything for me if I asked. I get to watch individuals' lives change on a daily basis. I'm the luckiest one of us all...Why? Because I get to share those 5 mins after a hard workout (you know what I'm talking about here!) with almost all of you. I am CrossFit ... because I'm doing what I love to do from morning to night!
Seth, I stand corrected. You hit the nail on the head ... as usual! Thanks for capturing the essence of something so new and distinct: the American tribe, circa 2008.
CrossFit West Virginia - never have I found such a healthy addiction. You've given me a level of fitness, confidence and toughness that I've never had (and I've always been a pretty confident son of a gun!). Thank you.