Exercise is something that’s traditionally talked about as ‘good for you’, but most of the times from the perspective of stress release. CrossFit in particular is a unique beast when compared to most other forms of exercise out there, primarily due to its intensity and community. In my years of being in the advertising industry, I’ve not seen a brand that has grown so quickly as it has, with such an engaged audience to boot!
Sure it’s a fun way to work out and de-stress, but as I crossed my first entrepreneurship year, I noticed that some of my tough times were better managed thanks to things I picked up from my 6 years of CrossFit. Here are some of those lessons.
You can learn to be comfortable with discomfort
If you’ve experienced or heard about CrossFit workouts, you’ll know that some of them get pretty brutal. A hero of mine from the community once said “just remember that it’s temporary”. The parallels of a workout with a finite time or workload versus business (which is ‘ongoing) isn’t exact, but the lesson still applies.
The highs and lows in entrepreneurship won’t ever go away, but by expecting the low bits and enduring through them, long term success is almost inevitable. This isn’t a blanket ‘NEVER QUIT’ statement, but simply a calm acceptance that there will be challenges, and that you can endure more than you realize.
Strive to have no ‘glaring’ weakness
One of the guiding principles of CrossFit is the preparation for the unknown and unknowable. In that, they believe that we should work on addressing our weaknesses to the point where there is at least no glaring hole there. 4 time Games champion Rich Froning had a remarkable failure back in 2011 when he lost the title thanks to his complete inability to perform one of the movements.
I subscribe to the same belief when it comes to being an entrepreneur. I don’t think it’s possible to be an expert in everything (it shouldn’t even be a goal), but I think there’s a definite need to know the essential bits of key disciplines. Eg; You don’t need to be a killer sales guy, but you should be able to communicate yourself clearly.
Patience and purpose makes a smoother journey
In my early days of being in CrossFit, my impatience was a big issue. I wanted to push myself hard to constantly get faster or lift bigger numbers. This reckless approach resulted in me getting injured, which further set back the progress I wanted so much. Time and a couple of injuries allowed me to develop that patience by having a deeper understanding of ‘why’ I wanted to CrossFit.
Today, in my early days of entrepreneurship, I face the same issue. I find myself getting frustrated at the pace of certain things, but thankfully have a little perspective to draw upon. During those periods, I remind myself of why I’m doing this and my long game, and a sense of calm returns.
Community makes all the difference
Till today, walking into the gym and seeing the group I workout with is a pleasure. There’s something to be said about enduring a challenging workout together. Beyond the social support and bonds, CrossFit also has one of the most vibrant communities around. There’s a wealth of information across a broad range of health and fitness topics available to the curious. Despite being a ‘gym goer’ since college, I never really took interest in those matters until thanks to the community, I was pulled right in.
Entrepreneurship, especially if you’re a solo-preneur like me, can be a tad lonely. Nevertheless, I’m thankful for the few partners that I’m engaged with, as well as other online communities. Asides from being fun, connecting with likeminded people and those sharing your goals helps speed up your own success.
Just cause you’re down, doesn’t mean you’re out
I have a confession. It’s been many months since I joined in a proper CrossFit workout. I suffered an injury early last year, and have since been unsuccessful in treating it. Despite this, I have chosen to modify my workout routine in order to do what I’m able and have since embarked on learning a whole new field of adult gymnastics!
Likewise with business, late last year was rough, but the extra free time allowed me to explore other interesting options. Since then, I have managed to launch another small venture, which allows me to spread my risk a little. When things can’t move forward for whatever reason, look up, down, left and right. You might just find a new (or better) path.
Even though the benefits I gained were from CrossFit, they’re not exclusive to it. As long as you’re actively engaged in some sport or other demanding side hobby, these lessons are likely there to be learned as well. How do you build your entrepreneurial muscle?