So last week someone on the 'internets' gave our business a review of one star out of five.
They have never stepped foot in our door, never spoken to any of our coaches, or talked to our assistant coaches. Never trained with us, done an On Ramp with us, never attended a seminar with us. Just didn't agree with something we said and decided it was ok to hit that big ole one out of five.
Here's how my brain works.
Stage One - The Raised Eyebrow
Read it, did some research to see if they had a valid point - had we done something wrong, been abusive, dismissive or wrong. Came to the realisation that this person was either a) trolling or b) genuinely stupid. Potentially both. Either way you could then count on zero hands the number of shits I gave about their opinion.
Stage Two - Did you just..
So I don't care what you think about me (bonuses of a resilient and sizeable ego) but then I realised you just slagged off our business. Now you're not just talking about me but also our coaching staff, the years of work they, myself and my wife have poured into building something real and working with real people. Ok now I'm a little pissed.
Stage Three - You shouldn't poke bears...
What about our members, are you also critiquing their efforts and challenges, are you belittling their successes and achievements. All from the comfort of your dim existence behind a keyboard.
My general policy with trolls and idiots on the 'interwebs' is to ignore them. I'm too busy.
But sometimes it's not about standing up to defend yourself - it's about standing up for those beside you. Those working hard and not in a position to argue or fight back. It's about not just believing in what you practise and preach but being ready to defend it - vehemently if necessary.
"You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em and know when to flip the table and start shootin'..." - not Kenny Rodgers
Having the courage to go to a gym - especially if you're not a natural athlete is hard. I don't care what gym, if you are starting a fitness journey or just working hard to make progress it's tough every day. And if you're training with us I personally guarantee that it's hard - physically, emotionally, mentally. Our coaches and our community focus on helping you find walls, barriers, excuses and those places you hide in - and we drag them kicking and screaming into the light and help you destroy them. That's why we are so successful at what we do. It's why we love what we do. It's why we don;t just produce fitter people - we forge resilient, confident and fit arse humans.
If you are a 'natural athlete' that trains with us - guess what - it's still damn hard. Welcome to the pain cave.
You know who impresses me the most. The quiet ones. Who work. Hard. I know people who have literally driven to our front door, sat in the car, and then driven home. That's where they started - and then they walked in. And then they started making progress. And they have been making progress every day since. Every. Damn. Day. These people are awesome. They probably don't realise but every time they front up they are building and strengthening an indomitable will. A strength that is both physical and mental. I could care less if they have a six pack, or wear size 20 or can't do a pull up. You turn up, work hard and go home a better human than when you entered. Progress is progress, and you are lapping every internet warrior sitting on the couch.
So when someone who has never even fronted up to test themselves, put themselves out there with all their insecurities, fears and doubts on display and just hoping it'll work out. When that person judges the work of our coaches who don't just work the classes, but message clients out of hours, email, call and talk food, feelings, emotions, barriers and plans. Who feel every victory and every setback as keenly as you do. When you do that - you aren't just hitting a button on social media in a make believe world. You just passed spurious judgement on literally hundreds of people you don't know. And some of those people aren't just real - they are tough, resilient and strong in ways many people simply don't understand.
Stage Four - Reflection.
Dear internet critic - thank you.
You lead me, unknowingly, on a journey from being pissed at your flippancy and disregard for others to sitting in the park today after the WOD, walking my dogs, thinking about our members and how literally unbelievably awesome they are. Every one of them. Big, small, fast, slow, the early birds, the late comers, the chalk abusers and neat freaks. They are all making progress by putting themselves out there and doing the work. What an epic privilege it is as a coach to spend time with these people and help them chisel away the rough edges to find the incredible human that has been forged beneath.
Strength isn't measured by lifts. It's measured by the trial and tests we are prepared to submit ourselves to and conquer. It resides in the finding the voice deep within that says you can do it.
And doing it.
That's fuckin' five star.