What Do You Do?

I read an article about marketing recently that said if you want to sell to someone, you have to sell them what it is that you do. A lot of that article was also tied up with labels and things like that, as an example when you meet someone new, sometimes the first question is, “what do you do?” and that answer could well be for me “I’m a personal trainer”. This article talked more about the what it is you provide a buyer than what you are to a buyer. Which got me thinking … what is it that I provide to my consumers?
It was this thought, among many others, that have been rattling around my head for this blog. What is it I provide for my consumers? I think a moment in one of our classes this week explains it well. Last week I had done a Facebook live, actually feeling a bit down on myself, because I had lost some motivation on our pullup challenge. We are doing a Pullup challenge this year where over the course of the year, we are stepping through building ourselves up to do a single body weight pullup with no assistance. If there’s more than one pullup achieved, #ahmazing but if it’s just one, then that’s the goal achieved (also #ahmazing). The following day, as everyone came to class, they hugged me. Someone said they felt like they had to get in the car and come over straight away to make sure I was ok. Then my words were brought to account, and we all got back up on the bar. It was wonderful that this group of people could give me such a small thing that meant so much as a gesture of support.
Someone else said that they hadn’t been doing the pullups at the end of any sessions because she thought others might resent her for it (my words not hers). Before I could jump in and reassure her that was not the case at all, the rest of the group were doing that for me. The beautiful things the group were saying to her to reset her confidence in herself were just amazing. There it was again, that gesture of support when someone was feeling down.
I’ve also had a couple of new people start with Fitness For Wellness recently and it has been great to have some new faces among the community (not that I don’t love the old faces). One thing that I have found to be common to all new people in a fitness environment, is fear, uncertainty and that feeling of being a little bit on the outer. There is no doubt that the community that is Fitness For Wellness is a tight knit one, they share moments in time with each other several times during the week, they have similar muscle soreness after particular sessions and while it sounds a little weird, they do bond over those things. Others find that there are things they share in common with people they may not expect to just by the chats they have during a session (in between trying to catch their breath of course). The beautiful thing I see with this community is how they share little snippets of information with the new person (the favourite at the moment is “when Susie says something is amazing it usually means something completely different to the rest of us”), to help them feel more at ease, how they might even help correct some technique when I’ve missed it, how they might even share some of their own experiences when they were learning the movement pattern the person might be struggling with, all to make that person feel just a little more at ease.
#gymdog is also a big part of Fitness For Wellness and he has been a reason for many people to attend sessions (remember when I did the “what’s your why” on the blackboard?). I like to think that he is the one who decides who can stay part of the community and who can’t. I’ll admit there are people he’s not really warmed to immediately but he’s let them stay, giving them a chance to find their place. Others he’s not paid much attention to after the first sniff test, and funnily enough, those people haven’t found their way back into a class. He’s the guy who looks out for everyone during meditation sessions, gets in the way of kettlebell swings, gets in your ear when you are anywhere near the floor. He’s just looking for a little love and attention, not unlike the rest of us.
This brings me back to what is it I provide my consumers. My mission statement says that I am here to help people of every age, to move better, pain free, for longer through functional movement in a supportive community environment. This last week has highlighted to me that what I provide to my consumer is a safe place to train, whether you are learning how to move your body in a safe way or you’ve got experience. Safe means many things, safe from injury (although #gymdog may have caused one or two over time), safe from judgement, safe to express your emotions and most importantly a place where you can safely be you. The other thing I provide my consumers is a community. That community has proven itself to be supportive of everyone, myself included. Sometimes that looks like challenging you to finish the set even though the timer has gone off, it might look like a hug as you arrive because you just don’t look like your normal self, it might look like a chat between your parked cars as I pack up and everyone leaves. For me, it has been all that and more. The friendships, the support, the privilege to watch as each and everyone of you, do something amazing with your bodies that you might not have been able to do last week. To see your confidence skyrocket in the knowledge that underneath what you might feel like is a ball of fear and anxiety, is actually a confident badass who can do anything they put their mind to.
When you next meet someone new, give consideration to what it is you actually do, because you are so much more than a job title or position. You have influence and you just don’t know whose lives you are influencing by being the greatest version of you.