What is Community?
We typically define community as a group of people that feel connected to others that have and share common interests, feelings, and goals. I have found that the most successful fitness journeys and businesses all have one thing in common - a feeling of community: people supporting and believing in them.
Build up your four walls and then tear them down.
It is so important to support and invest in your clients, students and athletes. You want to build relationships with them, encouraging them to constantly be growing and reminding them that it is ALWAYS about progress over perfection.
At the end of the day, we are all human, we want to belong, and feel connected to something greater than ourselves. We want to feel invested in. So, invest in your people - mind, body and soul, and for goodness sakes, remember their name.
Once you’ve focused your attention on building up what’s inside your four walls, I encourage you to tear them down… There is never going to be a perfect moment to get involved with your community, and we are all in this together.
Live in the present moment. You think it, or say it in class all of the time. Do it, and do it now. You can’t grow if you are doing the same thing everyday... you have to try new things. Be BOLD, be willing to adapt, and be open to feedback.
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Okay, but how?
- Start a conversation. Remember you’re surrounded by “like-minded” people. Everyone here wants to be here, they’ve made a conscious choice. Listen to what they have to say.
- Take and try a new class and check your ego at the door. Invite someone to come along with you - fitness is more fun with friends. To paraphrase Lao Tzu, “a journey begins with one step,” well, so does a relationship, and so does getting involved.
- If you want to get involved in your fitness community then you have to take action.
Grow the Collective
There is enough sun for all of the flowers. We’re stronger together. It’s so important to realize that we are all in this together. Get involved with your fitness community, they are your central support base. Partner with other local studios or charities to host events that benefit something beyond your business. You’ll find more than enough reward here.
- Make your presence on social media powerful.
- Encourage your clients, students, athletes and instructors to be active.
- Run campaigns or challenges, and give them an incentive to participate! You’ll find new friends and further expose your brand to the community. Interaction is key here, it’s important to be mindful on social platforms.
- Acknowledge your athletes, students and other local studios on a job well done; let them feel your presence.
What Can You Do?
You always want to set up your team for success, so choose a time that works best for the studio/gym/box to have most of your team/instructors present.
- Host an open house or a workshop. Believe it or not, anything can be intimidating, and we were all beginners once. Realize this, and be conscious to break down common fears or barriers.
- ‘Meet us on the mat/megaformer/box’ - invite people to try your class.
- Take class at your studio - practice what you preach, it’s that simple. Be the example.
- “Bring a friend” - Connection is a spectrum, and it’s important to involve your entire team to expand your community. You may not be able to connect with every person, and with more instructors/trainers present to engage and answer questions, everyone will find someone to connect with.
- Most importantly, be in relationship. Find out what’s going on in the lives of your students, athletes and fellow studio owners and instructors.
Engage with one another, take it out of the studio or the gym on occasion.
- For example, host a happy hour, goals workshop, wine Wednesday or Saturday beach clean-up. Take the time to intentionally listen to the goals, dreams, and ideas of your people.
- Be authentic, and realize that however much you invest in your community, has a direct effect on how they will invest in you back. We truly are stronger together and can make a difference if we so choose it.
Interact with your community. We are social beings and need to feel valued and that we are connected to something greater than ourselves. Work together to achieve your goals, and put in the time, nothing worthwhile is built in a day. Invest in your community, your people, your tribe and they’ll invest in you back. Share your experiences and appreciate the simplicity and complexity of human connection. You got this.