What to do with a mandated closure
Posted on May 03, 2020
The recent governmental announcement felt a little like a kick in the teeth. I understand why the decision is made. Our local/state authorities are doing what they feel is best for the public health of our state. I will support them and follow their guidelines, but I believe it's fine to express frustration and disappointment. I think my frustration lies in the fact that what I have spent the last 7 years of my life building has been removed from my control and influence. Now, I know what entrepreneurs and IG influencers would say to my frustration, "It's in these times healthy businesses will learn to adapt" or "The greatest business owners respond to the external crises by reinventing themselves". I can appreciate these sentiments, but I am not sure their truth is fully inclusive. We have adapted to the best of our ability during the last 7 weeks - we have changed our programming, used virtual mediums for coaching, reworked our membership model, we emptied our physical location of equipment and filled local garages, and we have creatively worked to keep some semblance connection and community. None of these things are groundbreaking in of themselves, but at the end of the day, I am running a totally different business than I ever imagined. I am frustrated because it's not really CrossFit. Yes - the workouts are similar. Yes - the terminology is the same. The equipment, the physical stimulus, and the rush of endorphins when the timer hits zero are largely unchanged. But CrossFit is not really about these things. CrossFit is what it is for 2 reasons - relentless coaching and steadfast community. All the other stuff are the ancillary benefits. What makes CrossFit unique is the fact that when you walk through our doors - there is coach a that not only knows your name, but is your advocate and will walk with you toward your goals. Our Duratus coaches are not hired to simply have a key and know what to write on the board. Our coaches are concerned about the personal development of those in their class. They show up with you in mind. But even beyond our coaching staff, CrossFit IS the community of like-minded individuals. Dūrātus has become an extension of my family. It's the dozens of people that continually show up and push each other toward betterment. It's the members that get up before dawn, rush from dropping kids off at school, or start making dinner at 7pm, because of their commitment to fitness, and health and wellness. The real CrossFit experience is made when you are able to surround yourself with these types of people. When these types of people become your training partners and close friends. You see, my frustration lies in the fact that CrossFit is what it is because of the relationships; and right now, no amount of creativity or adaptiveness can replace these relationships. Zoom doesn't do it. Virtual coaching doesn't hit the mark. Periodic workout challenges just doesn't seem to satisfy. Other fitness models might work via television or exist virtually or even cater to an individual, but CrossFit will only be successful when it can be lived and practiced with real people in real time.
Which leads me to why I am disappointed. I'm disappointed because I currently cannot deliver on what I feel like I owe you. If you are reading this then you likely have signed up for monthly membership or maybe you went out on a limb and paid for the whole year up front, regardless of what you chose, we had an agreement. You paid money and signed a contract under the pretense that I, alongside my staff, would work to create daily opportunities for you to experience, live, and enjoy CrossFit coaching and community and all its ancillary benefits. I'm disappointed because I can't uphold my end of the bargain. I know it's out of my control and the situation we find ourselves in is nothing that I have done, however I have felt convicted that I have to apologize for not being able to follow through on my end of the contract.
So, why am I writing all this? Seems little out of character doesn't it. Yeah - its not typically what I would do, but one of the things I have been learning throughout this quarantine is that vulnerability is not a weakness, but rather a more honest way to live. I am writing because I believe I owe it to those who have trusted me with their hard money to include them in the process. I am writing because the best leaders live authentic lives. We have officially been closed for 7 weeks and at this point I am not even going make a guess when we will walk back through those doors together. I can tell you we have regretfully lost about 30% of our business in April and are anticipating that number growing to 50% in May. My heart is heavy not because of the lost revenue, but because of the people. Because good people had to make tough economic decisions. We support them and are still in their corner. We hope they might return sometime, but if they don't, I am thankful for the time they were a part of our gym family. I am fully aware that more people will have to make similar decisions and there will be a point where I, as a business owner, might possibly have to make tough economic decisions. Like I said, we made it through April. We have a plan to weather the storm of May and I am working to figure out what it might look like beyond. I will not be consumed by my frustration. I'm not going to sit in my disappointment. Nope - I will use them as fuel to become a better person, husband, father, business owner and athlete.
I firmly believe that a business is only as good as its willingness to serve the client. Maximizing profits has never been my end goal. So please hear this, if you have been economically impacted by COVID-19, I am more concerned with your ability to provide your own basic needs than your monthly gym payment. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you need help. However, if you have not had a significant impact to your income AND you find value in your Dūrātus membership, then consider staying with us though this time. Many have already shown undying support and I will assure you that we are in a season where everything helps. Even though we cannot provide what we want for our members in this time, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to see this community through to the other side. I am amazed by this community and am thankful to be a part of it.
If you have made it this far, congrats. Honestly, this might be one of the longest things of this nature I have ever written. But I would be remiss if I did not end with the challenge to remember to keep proper perspective in this time. It's sobering to think that while I am worried about the health of my business, others are mounting the loss of a loved one. Not comparable in any way. I am grateful daily for the problems I currently have and am hopeful that each of us maintain reasonable perspective in this time. Most is beyond us, but don't forget you get to choose the way you see the world around you and you get to decide the person you are going to be. So friends, let us keep fighting the good fight. #phase3forlife