When I was a kid I used to play a game called “What If” with my best friend Dana. We never needed any equipment or toys or money, we could just sit around wherever we were and challenge each other by imagining some outlandish scenario. One person would issue the challenge “What If…..” and the other person would have to decide how they’d respond. For example: “What if the house was suddenly struck by lightning….” Each game never lasted all that long, but I think it was a terrific way to develop our creativity.
So today I’d like to play a little game of “What If” and ask you to imagine some outlandish scenarios.
What If: You had committed to an ambitious goal and everybody you met was committed to the exact same goal.
What If: You decided to improve your nutrition and everywhere you went you only found nutritious food for sale.
What If: You accidentally stumbled into an entire football stadium full of people who shared your same values.
These three scenarios might sound outlandish, but they all happened to me last weekend. Along with the rest of the Charly’s Angels CrossFit crew, I went to Los Angeles to watch the CrossFit Games. For 3 entire days, I watched 100 uber-fit men and women compete for $1 million in prize money and the title of “fittest man/woman on earth.” For 3 days, I watched these men and women from around the world accomplish some ridiculous feats of human fitness.
I came away humbled, inspired, and connected. I was humbled by the overall fitness level of all the athletes and what they could achieve. I was inspired to continue my training to get as strong as I possibly can. And I felt connected to an enormous community of other fitness freaks – people like me who like to do pullups and squats and sprints and burpees every week for fun.
It was absolutely surreal to sit in a stadium of 5000+ people and realize that probably 98% of the crowd could all do pullups. It was amazing to spend 3 days with thousands of people fitter than me, to realize there are other thousands of other “crazy” people out there, who are all committed to their own health and fitness. In my workplace, I feel like I’m in a small minority of people who exercise every day. At the CrossFit Games, I was part of a very large majority of people who ALL exercise every day.
Sitting in the stadium, watching the finals competition, I realized the CrossFit Games audience was almost the reverse of the “typical” American demographic. Probably 95% of the stadium crowd was fit. Less than a 1% of the crowd could be considered obese. Do you realize how rare this is? To be surrounded by thousands of people and have less than 1% of those people be overweight? It made me wonder what America could be like if we actually got motivated to overcome the obesity epidemic.
It was a completely bizarre experience, made all the more bizarre when we left at night for dinner and drove past a Krispy Kreme franchise, where no less than 50 cars were lined up waiting for fresh donuts. Donuts! At 9:00 on a Friday night!
I expected to go to the CrossFit Games and be impressed by the 100 athletes who were competing. And I was more than impressed by the competitors. But it was an additional surprise to be so impressed by the entire audience watching the Games.
And this made me realize how powerful it can be to find yourself surrounded by such a positive peer group. Think for just a minute what your life would be like if you were surrounded by thousands of people pursuing goals similar to yours. Think how supportive that could feel.
Think for just a minute what your life would be like if EVERYONE in your life was supportive of your goals. Think about how amazing your daily life could be if everyone you worked with shared your same values.
I came away from the CrossFit Games reminded of the power our communities have to shape us and to support us. When we are part of a large majority of people working towards positive goals, we can literally feel the encouragement of that entire community. Which is a heck of a lot better than pushing a large rock uphill, all alone.
If you feel you are alone with your goals, then please go somewhere – in person or online – where you can find your community of like minded peers. I don’t know if your goals are related to your fitness or your career or your relationship or your health. But whatever you want to pursue in life – whatever matters most to you – things will go much better if you pursue your goals with other people.
Other people matter. Community matters. And whatever matters to you will be easier to achieve when you are working together with others.
I hope that no matter what matters to you, you have found people who care about the same things. If you haven’t, then just keep looking. Don’t stop looking. Your people are out there somewhere.
And if you want to see more about my CrossFit people, if you’d like to see more of the CrossFit Games audience, here’s a couple impressive videos, with only a little bit of gratuitous skin exposure…!
The Crowd at The CrossFit Games (click through to the website to view the video)
The CrossFit Games – 2012 (Click through to the website to view the video)