It is January 2009. The fitness gym that I go to usually gets a lot of new members this time of year. This is because of the New Year’s resolution to “finally lose that extra body weight and get into shape!”
One thing about the gym that I notice this time of year is that you can see some very “unfit” people coming in. The gym is not just filled with people with the super-sculpted bodies; I see overweight people giving it their all to lose some inches and also see some super skinny young guys trying to bulk up and put on some muscle.
Think “University meets YouTube“
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This is a great thing that the gym attracts those who truly seek to change their bodies and become a better, stronger, and healthier person and leave their old self behind. Yippee for them! And congratulations for the gym for creating an environment of success and motivation! Bravo!
When I see this, my heart really warms toward the unfit people and to their trainers who are helping them reach their physical fitness goals. I know how hard it must be for those unfit people to be there. I also know their potential embarrassment by being in front of others in their unfit condition. I know this because I have been there in their shoes after going 20+ years of not working out and also felt self-conscious when I started back a few years ago.
I wondered recently (in a facetious manner), why does the gym allow the unfit into their club? After all, wouldn’t that look bad to have “ugly people” around, perhaps diminishing the polish and prestige of the establishment?
Well, the answer is that the gym is not a place for just the pretty people to come and occupy an exclusive seat at the club. It is a place to grow and improve. It is a place to workout, suffer, stumble, and grow through pain. The purpose for the fitness gym is to be involved in a process that improves the results for people who try.
So if a fitness gym is a place that builds up people to get better results, why don’t you take this same approach to building up the leadership skills, behaviors and patterns for the people in your organization to make them more fit leaders? Why don’t you take the unfit (or “ugly”) leaders and help sculpt them into something that improves them with effort, failures, and struggling through the pain?
As someone who has gone through the toil with the help of a trainer for both fitness and leadership, I can tell you that it is well worth the effort to help people in both of these areas. It is worth helping them through the pain, sweat, embarrassment, and toil of being an unfit leader. By doing this, you can encourage them to grow. You can show them the incremental steps to improvement that will make them a better leader. You are also providing the multiplier effect to those who they lead.
By doing this, you are helping to create a culture of leadership fitness.
So, how are you doing establishing a Leadership Fit Club?