Why You Should Do Personal Training

Personal training has become a more popular option at CrossFit Kent Island since we reopened the gym after the pandemic closure, and I’ve been trying to figure out why, while also realizing that I really enjoy it as a coach.  As I started to list the reasons that I believe personal training has now become a big part of our business, I also recognized them as reasons that you (someone that has not yet started training at CFKI) might want to consider it!  So here we go…

Personal training is more, well, personal!  If you are not comfortable right now with being around a lot of people you don’t know very well, having the gym to yourself (with a coach who is wearing a mask) may be a great option for you.  Most of our personal training sessions are at times when there is no one else in the gym, and if you’d like, we can make sure of that when we schedule sessions.

Personal training allows you to focus on achieving your goals. A group class setting is awesome for motivation – “if that guy is not going to stop, then I’m not either” sort of thing.  And it can also be great for achieving a very worthy goal of general fitness, something that we should all aspire to!  But if you have a timeline you’re working on – I need to achieve X by Y date, personal training might be your best option.

If your goal is post-pandemic weight loss, your coach’s program will remain hyper-focused on keeping your heart rate up in the fat-burning zone, not spending a lot of time on heavy weightlifting.  Conversely, if you are trying to build muscle for football or working on getting stronger and faster for military service, your program will be targeted at power and speed work.  We have coaches who have done what you’re trying to do, and they can get you there too!

Finally, personal training means that you have your coach’s undivided attention.  In a group class setting at CrossFit Kent Island, our classes are small enough that everyone will be seen, everyone can feel safe, and everyone will be coached.  But if you want to work on improving certain skills like Olympic weightlifting technique or even running technique and pacing, and make giant leaps every time you’re in, a personal training program – even just a few sessions – is going to be the ticket.

Group fitness training like a CrossFit class is super fun, motivating, and hugely beneficial toward attaining overall fitness.  Most of our CrossFit coaches work out with the group classes for those reasons!  But if working out with a group is not your thing, if you have specific goals to reach and want to get there now or if you want to develop skills in a super-targeted way, give personal training at CrossFit Kent Island a try!  Just shoot us an email at ryan@crossfitkentisland.com to get started!

CrossFit Open prep

The CrossFit Open is near.

According to the CrossFit Games website, “The CrossFit Open unites hundreds of thousands of athletes around the world to compete in the world’s largest participatory sporting event in history.  The 2021 season kicks off March 11 with the three-week CrossFit Open. Registration is liveSign up today!

We are just over a month away from the start of the Open, which will feature five weekly workouts to test our overall fitness.  Per the blurb above, there are three weeks where everyone is competing, and then there are two weeks designed to weed out the top 10% for selection to the CrossFit Games, but we’ll all complete those workouts too just for fun!
The time is now to focus your training plan on preparing for the Open.  This starts with workout selection and overall volume of training.  What we can expect in the Open is a combination of short, super-intense workouts featuring tests of strength and skill, and longer (20 mins) grueling workouts that require mental toughness to keep going.  But one thing we will not see is multiple workouts in one session.
If you have a goal to do well in the Open, your training volume should now be minimal.  If you’re in the practice of doing multiple workouts per day, consider just one workout per day now, and focus on maximizing your effort and results in that workout.  Additional training time should be focused on practicing weak gymnastics movements and improving your mobility.  Doing multiple workouts per day will not allow you to maximize your intensity on each individual session and also will inhibit your recovery between training days.  You will enter into the first workout of the Open depleted, not at your peak.  Take the time now to dial back the amount of training that you are doing, and focus more on the quality of execution.

Speaking of quality, the other thing about the Open is that as fun as it is — and it awesome that everyone can participate no matter their experience within the sport — there are real, enforced standards.  That’s how we can use the Open as a feeder into the CrossFit Games!  What this means as far as the athlete’s experience in the Open is that rather than a coach letting you know you’re not getting your chin over the bar during your set of pull-ups, and suggesting some ways to improve, it will be more like a judge (a coach or another CFKI member) telling you that that rep did not count, you have to do it over.  If you are someone that has a hard time always meeting the movement standards, but you can do it sometimes, the time is now to meet the standard in your training 100% of the time.  Ask someone to watch you and call you out on your wallballs – “Am I squatting all the way below parallel?”  Fix your movement patterns now (and your mindset that close is good enough), so that the Open doesn’t turn into a hard-to-swallow pill that your perceived fitness level and your actual fitness level are not the same thing.
And once again, the Open is for everyone!  If there are movements that you cannot complete “as prescribed”, just like in a regular training day in the gym, there are scaled standards that everyone can do.  They might not be easy, as we all know a scaled workout is still a tough test to get through, but you will step up to the challenge.
There are also different standards on many workouts for masters athletes (35+), teens, and for the first time this year, adaptive athletes.

If you can’t tell, I’m super pumped about the upcoming CrossFit Open and can’t wait for the excitement of the workout announcements live each week on Thursday nights, the thrill of competing in this annual test, and especially for the new personal records that the adrenaline of competition often brings out.  We’ve seen many first pull-ups, first handstand push-ups, and muscle-ups come out of these springtime weeks every year!

You can learn more about how the Open works and whether or not it’s for you (hint: it is) at the CrossFit Open site here!


Goals: To Be, or To Do?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
 — Tony Robbins

As we are in the beginning of a new year, and thank the Lord in heaven for that, now is a good time to leave 2020 in the dust and forge ahead to 2021 with a purpose.  A goal setting exercise is a great way to get your mind around what your priorities are right now.  I admit that I have skipped out on setting yearly goals at least a couple times in previous years, but I can look back and remember feeling lost, unorganized and unproductive until I sat down and thought about it — what do I actually want to accomplish this year?  The beginning of the year is a good consistent time to think about this, but it doesn’t have to be confined to a certain time of year — any time you feel like you’ve accomplished your main goal and need to select a new target, or anytime you feel like you’re wandering through your job, your training in the gym, or your life without a compass to guide you — sitting down for some self-reflection and an eye for the future is a good idea that can create some positive momentum again.

One wrinkle of goal setting that recently helped me gain some clarity on what I want to DO this year was thinking about what I want to BE.  Goals can be defined as “being” goals if they define who we want to become, or certain qualities that we want to take on.  “Doing” goals can help further drill-down into those higher level “being” goals.  For example, a goal that might get me fired up about my physical training is to “be a better runner.”  That’s something that I can put up on my office whiteboard and get me motivated to train when I don’t really want to.  But it’s relatively ambiguous, so I might define some specific “doing” goals to flesh it out.  “I want to finish a marathon in under 3 hours by the end of this year” fits the specificity bill, and gives me a visual to work toward in my mental training as well.  Even within that marathon completion goal, I might create “doing” goals that define how I will keep myself on track, like “I will complete one long run and one sprint workout each week.”

In addition to creating a “being” goal first and then zeroing in with “doing” goals, I would encourage you to not select too many targets to go after at one time!  We’ve all been there and it’s a recipe for burnout.  Think about what you really want to accomplish this year — who you really want to BE — and try to distill it down to just a few things.

Happy New Year again to everyone, and to all your friends and family.  Let’s make this a great, focused, purpose-driven year.


2020, Thanks for the Memories!

Well, we’re almost there!  New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, and with it we will say goodbye to the strangest, most unique, and maybe most difficult year that most of us have faced.  2020 will not be added to anyone’s list of “Top 10 Years”, but as bad as the clouds of doom were, there were also a few silver linings.

It brought us closer together with the people that we love, even as it added to the political division in our country.  We started reaching out more to our friends, just to chat or to schedule virtual socials.  We craved the “facetime” with people that didn’t live in our house, but we also genuinely wanted to check in with each other.  We became a stronger community.

We got to see real heroism at work from our front-line healthcare workers, first responders, teachers, and parents, among so many others.  A lot of individuals stepped into the void of confusion to help sick patients, scrap their lesson plans honed over years and start over teaching virtually, and maybe even make scary career changes so that they could be at home more with their families that needed them.

We all learned a few things that will help us going forward.  Many of us pivoted the way that we do our jobs, or even the products that our businesses offer, in order to stay relevant and to help the economy.  Our kids learned how to learn again, in a different way, becoming more resilient and more creative.

At CrossFit Kent Island, we continued to thrive through the pandemic because of our strong community.  We reinvested in you with new services, and you reinvested in us by staying connected and continuing to train hard.
And train hard you did!  Attached is a “Year in Review” summary from Wodify, which is always fun to check out.  Of particular note for me are the huge numbers of classes attended, which demonstrates a ton of effort and day-after-day commitment to getting better.  The PR’s are a result of that hard work, and worth celebrating!

If your New Year’s resolutions include getting your diet and other habits back on track, then you’re in luck!  Starting January 16th, the next iteration of the Whole Life Challenge is starting, and we’re going to start a team to do it together!  A lot of the Whole Life Challenge revolves around ratcheting down your diet, but there are also great focuses on sleep, hydration, and mental health.  A bunch of us have done it before and found it very rewarding and beneficial as a springboard to improving our Whole Lives!  — see what I did there?

Happy New Year to our CFKI community!  May 2021 bring us a bit more health and fitness, and may we be the next shining examples of heroism, creativity and leadership that this world needs.


We have a lot of new members joining our CrossFit Kent Island community right now!  I love it!  It’s been a solid mixture of folks who are new to CrossFit and maybe fitness in general, and others that have experience and just moved to the Eastern Shore.  Welcome everyone, we’re so glad you’re with us on this challenging but fun journey toward greater fitness and health!

With newer athletes I usually discuss being patient with your training.  The results will come, but expecting results without putting in the hard work and the time can lead to frustration.  We all theoretically know this, but when it comes down to our own training it can be hard to internalize.

In my mental training I often work on visualizing success in new endeavors I am working toward, or visualizing my future self in a positive way, to propel my thoughts and actions forward to that end state.  Recently, I’ve had a hard time with a particular visualization exercise called the “Mind Gym”, where you recreate your ideal training space in your mind in order to have a mental space to do your future training.  I couldn’t figure it out, couldn’t imagine what my ideal training space was.  The hallowed halls of CFKI wasn’t ideal – I honestly don’t like the building itself, only the people inside it and the hard work that happens makes it somewhere I love to be, but not alone.  I tried HARD to imagine an amazing space, an old karate dojo from my childhood, an awesome gym, a completely invented space built on individual things that I love.  But it wasn’t sticking, I couldn’t be there in my head.  I was getting frustrated, and I told myself to be PATIENT.  To breathe, and think about being happy and relaxed and confident, and let the image come.  I practiced that for two weeks, for just 5 minutes a day, and finally heard the sound of the ocean.  My Mind Gym was not a building after all, but a beach.

Patience is something that we all need to practice, and as a newcomer to the CrossFit community, patience can be hard to come by.  You immediately compare yourself to all the people that look like you, but they are beating you in workouts handily.  When will you ever get to their level?  What are they doing that you’re not?  The answer, simply, is time.  The experienced athletes that you see in the gym have put in the time and work, have built the engine they now have from the ground up, just like you will.  You just have to be patient.

Experienced CrossFitters, you’re not getting off the hook.  Where do you need to show patience?  One example might be in expecting a new personal record every time a benchmark workout or a lifting max is on the board.  If you’ve been at this for a while, you know that beating your previous result — from that time you went absolutely balls-to-the-wall — is really difficult!  So when you do get a PR, enjoy it!  Celebrate it!  Beating your previous 1RM Deadlift by 5 pounds is still a huge deal!  And it probably won’t happen next time.  So when it doesn’t, don’t fret.  It will happen again.  Just be patient.

Coaches, and those that aspire to be, we need to be patient as well!  Let’s not expect perfection from a new member’s Snatch technique.  If someone can improve just a little bit, working on one coaching point throughout an entire class session, that is amazing!  The next time, they will improve some more, and then some more, and we all know the journey going forward is endless.  Coaches, be happy with small improvements.  Athletes, be happy with small improvements, even if you can’t see them but your coach can!  Have fun with it, and be patient.

The next time you need to slow your mind down and focus on being patient, try this visualization exercise for a few minutes.  Sit comfortably, close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose for a few minutes.  Imagine yourself feeling calm, cool, and collected.  As you breathe, you feel strong, and confident.  You might notice thoughts of being rushed or wanting to move on to something else, but you just notice them and let the thoughts float away.  To replace those scattered thoughts, start repeating the mantra  “All good things come with time, I’m ready to work.”

Thanks for reading.  Stay strong, stay healthy, and be patient.


Plan for the Worst, but Act to Avoid It

Bottom Line Up Front:  Wear your mask to help prevent a second shutdown.

As rumors swirl around the timing of a second “shutdown” of gyms and other local businesses in Maryland (and a step was already taken to close restaurants early just yesterday), I’ve sensed a feeling of inevitability in talking with our members.  “It’s just a matter of time,” and “There’s nothing we can do about it, they (the government) have made up their mind.”  While those statements could obviously be true — none of us except Governor Hogan’s inner circle could really know — what if they’re not?  What if we can still affect that decision-making process by stopping the spread, again?  My sense is that the scientists and doctors that are advising our state and national leaders are making their policy suggestions based on data.  They don’t want to see small businesses close any more than we do.  But when the public stops following general health guidelines like wearing a mask when we’re around unfamiliar people (in this case literally “not family”), and the virus starts to spread again more rapidly, they are obligated to make decisions based on keeping people safe.  We can’t fault them for doing their jobs.

I think we still have time to turn this thing around, and not follow the states that have already shut down or severely restricted their gyms for the second time (Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Michigan).
PLEASE wear a mask inside the gym while you’re not working out, and indeed anytime you are around people you don’t live with.  I know it’s not the most popular thing in the world, it makes it hard to breathe and you look like a goofball, but if you take a step back those seem like kind of silly reasons not to do something that will positively impact your health.  In fact those are the same reasons people give for not doing CrossFit workouts!
In the end, wearing a mask and taking the proper precautions is all about our community coming together to stop the spread and stop the UN-inevitable shutdown.  With just a bit of personal sacrifice, we can hold the line and once again be a model state with low virus metrics and open businesses, schools, sports, and all the other things we love to do!

Thanks for being a part of our AWESOME team.


Thank You, Veterans

Veterans Day is a special American holiday because it sets aside a day for us all to think about and thank those in our local communities that have stepped up in service to our country.  Choosing to be a warrior, with all of its demands, sacrifices and risks, is no small leap.  There are many other professions that might offer the same excitement, and without the shadow aspect of a violent death being a very real outcome.  Our nation’s veterans, our WARRIORS past and present, are true professionals who embody courage, excellence, leadership, and service.

Today, as our country stands divided over petty political arguments, let us together put that aside and instead take the time to reach out to a friend or family member who has served.  Let’s let them know we appreciate what they have done and will continue to do for our country.  One day isn’t enough, but it’s a good reminder on an annual basis of the daily sacrifices that members of our military make to get ready for war, and then step up to fight and win when their time comes.

Happy Veterans Day to CFKI members Alan, Andrew, Ben, Ben, Bo, Brendan, Bruce, Dante, Emily, Irish, James, Jamie, Josh, JT, Ken, Nate, Nick, Omar, Peter, Robie, Ryan, Tim, Wayne.

Specialize in Not Specializing

“The fitness that CrossFit advocates and develops is broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.”
— CrossFit Journal

The finals of the CrossFit Games start in two days, and the people that we’re about to watch compete are the best fitness generalists in the world.  Maybe that doesn’t sound very sexy, but what I think this means is that the winner has a legitimate claim to the title “Fittest on Earth”.  This is especially true if we define fitness as being the most able, on average, to complete any physical task known (or unknown) to man.  The Fittest on Earth should not just be the fastest sprinter or the absolute strongest person in the world.  They should not just be the most gymnastically talented, or be able to swim the longest distance without tiring.  In fact, the Fittest on Earth probably wouldn’t win any of those individual crowns.  But if you had all of those single-event champions compete against each other in the other events, i.e., if the strongest person in the world was put to a long-distance swimming event, the results may not be very good… they may actually be disastrous!

The point of the CrossFit Games, then, is to identify the woman and the man on this planet that rises to the top after a series of very challenging, and very different tests.  CrossFit defines ten general physical attributes that must be trained in order to develop general fitness, which are strength, stamina, power or work capacity, speed, endurance, flexibility, agility, accuracy, coordination, and balance.  These attributes will all be tested and demonstrated by the Games athletes in large doses.

These attributes, and thus our overall fitness level, are also tested during the annual CrossFit Open, the precursor to “The Games”.  The two major results of the CrossFit Open are that the entire CrossFit community (and anyone else that wants to jump in) receive a major annual test (and major dose of humility), and that an international leaderboard is created, at the top of which sit the qualifiers for the next CrossFit Games.

If we strive to do well in our next fitness test, the 2021 CrossFit Open (beginning late February), we must treat ourselves like overall fitness athletes, like the generalists we will see this weekend, and not specialists in one niche of fitness.  We don’t mean to be JUST the strongest, or have JUST the most endurance in our peer group, but we strive to excel at everything.  And those areas where we find ourselves lacking should be our major focus areas when selecting a near-term goal to achieve.  Those of us that have completed the Open before – let’s remember that dish of humble pie that we were served up when “that one workout” came up that made our fitness house of cards crumble to the ground.  Next time that workout or that movement (hello, double-unders) comes around, we’ll be a little bit more prepared for it.  Maybe still not the BEST, but we’re making headway and we’re improving every day.

Looking forward to checking out the CrossFit Games this weekend!  You can watch it on the CrossFit Games site, on their Facebook page, or their YouTube channel.  And check it out on Saturday, 1-3pm, live on CBS!

Train hard, stay safe, and work your weaknesses!


How We Will Make It Through

Sometimes I get writer’s block, and in fact last week I didn’t put anything out there in the blogosphere because there was just a blank space where my right-brain creativity (sometimes) is.  So this week I was all ears, and Denee suggested I write about how we made it through the COVID shutdown.  We not only survived when many other gyms and other businesses didn’t, but we thrived.  Why is that?

In thinking about that question, I first of all stopped myself from believing that we have “made it through.”  I don’t want to throw a Mission Accomplished carrier landing party just yet, as it seems this pandemic situation has lasted a lot longer than most people would have imagined.  So, although our initial “shutdown” period is over and we are operating almost normally, there is always a chance that our operational plan could again be flipped on its proverbial head.

But I’m not worried.  Our CrossFit Kent Island community has thrived during this time, and I think the best explanation why is that we have a shared story.  We are all a part of this story that is bigger than ourselves as individuals, and we all stick together because we want the story to continue.  It’s just too awesome to stop!

The story begins for us when we first walked into the gym and were thrown into a brutal workout experience.  We had never experienced anything like this before, and during the thing, it sucked.  But then we were helped off the floor and high-fived by several smiling faces, all of whom had just gone through the same miserable workout, and they were congratulating us!  “Not many people step up and do what you just did,” they told us.  We were now part of a special team of people that enjoy challenging ourselves physically, mentally, and even emotionally, in order to grow.  Hard Work and Growth became core values that we lived by, and we were Having Fun doing it.

As more new people came into the gym, we learned to take our eyes off of ourselves and look out for them, making sure they felt welcome and encouraged.  We remembered being in their scared, tenuous situation just a few short years, or months, ago.
The good feeling of looking out for our own in the gym made it a no-brainer to support each other when we were in trouble, and the Service aspect of the CFKI story began to take hold.  We have led service projects for fellow members, our overall Kent Island community, and local non-profits that tie closely to our values, with amazing fundraising and community-building results.  We support and help each other when we are in a strong position to do so, and we know that when we are down, experiencing some tough times in our lives, our teammates will be there to pick us up.

Our shared story of challenging ourselves to constantly improve, of suffering through tough times together and being there for each other, is what binds us together.  And we don’t want that to end, so it doesn’t.  You, the CFKI community, bound together and did what you didn’t need to do, which was to help the gym financially by continuing your memberships and working out at home.  We stayed connected through social media (it does work for good sometimes!) and supported each other emotionally from a distance.  We were once again suffering together, and it made us even stronger, and did not pull our CFKI team apart.  This strategy — of continuing our training regimen together but without physically being with our teammates — it could have failed, and in fact did fail at other gyms that did not already have the bond, the emotional connection through a shared story that we have.  This is why I know we can weather any storm that may come in the future, and why I am so proud to be apart of this AWESOME community.

We are at a difficult and rather scary crossroads now as a country.  The heightened tension of the pandemic has added to an already ultra-polarized political situation, with two groups of people shouting exact opposite messages at each other and nobody listening.  We have an opportunity to model to everyone in our larger community the values of supporting each other, listening to each other and respecting the suffering that everyone is going through, and to lean back on a shared story that we all have as Americans.  There have been times in our national history that we have been very connected, and it usually happens after tragedy… shared suffering.  We are truly in an extended “tragic” situation right now, and it’s up to us as leaders, as models of positivity and service to others, to pull our community and our nation through this together, not apart.

I hope you can forgive the quick foray into politics, but I couldn’t push it out of my head and my heart.  This group of leaders, of warriors, of strong but humble, patient and compassionate human beings, has done it before — we have “made it through” tough times. And we can show others how to do it again.


Leadership: Be a Copycat

Last Sunday a few of us completed a GORUCK Challenge event, one of many that I have done over the past few years.  In trying to count them all, I’m coming up with 10 GORUCK events that I’ve been a part of, although there may be more.  It started when someone at GORUCK HQ called me not long after we opened our doors at CFKI in 2012, looking to partner with CrossFit gyms on this new “Challenge” event they had come up with.  I asked them what it was all about, they said basically to bring a backpack full of bricks and you’ll find out when you get there.  And bring as many friends as possible, this is going to be a team event.  12 hours overnight in Baltimore, getting wet in the Inner Harbor and then sandy at the base of Federal Hill, carrying a giant telephone pole through East Baltimore, and bringing 15 individuals together as a team through shared suffering, and I was hooked.  Well, maybe not immediately — if you would have asked me right after the event I would have told you that was the hardest thing I had done to that point in my life and I should probably settle back into 15-minute AMRAPs.

But I was hooked, apparently, and not because I enjoy pain (I don’t) or even rucking long distances (I don’t think anyone really enjoys that).  It was the leadership lessons that I learned from being temporarily in charge of the group (the instructor would make people the Team Leader for a while, and then rain down criticism and a chance to try again when you messed up), and also the leadership qualities I admired in the instructor, Cadre Chris Sanchez, a Recon Marine veteran.  Chris taught me, and all of us, the value of tenacity in getting things done — he had to ask several Inner Harbor-stationed police officers before he found one that would allow us to get in the water.  He reinforced in me the value of humor when you’re going through a difficult situation, shouting “how are those kipping pull-ups helping you now, CrossFit?” when I was struggling under the log.

Overall, the instructors at GORUCK all have different leadership lessons that they are hoping to impart on their crews during a Challenge event, and I have benefited greatly from those direct lessons.  But it is really their individual characters and their personal leadership qualities that I have become drawn to, and what keeps me signing up to learn more.

There are a few other leaders that I have stuck close to over the years, and although they may not know it, have become my mentors.
One is Jason McCarthy, the founder of GORUCK.  A Special Forces soldier turned backpack designer, he started GORUCK with the idea that everyone should have a “go-bag” or “go-ruck” with essential supplies in case of an emergency.  And he wanted to bring the quality gear that he enjoyed in the military to the civilian world, in the process bridging the gap between the two communities.  From Jason, mostly through his writing but also in the few personal interactions I’ve had, I have learned how to communicate clearly and directly, and how to be transparent about what is really going on.  GORUCK, like every company in the world, has had its share of up’s and down’s, and the transparency with which he shares bad news just as readily as good, without complaining but just out of a sense of “honesty is the best policy”, has kept his community super tight-knit and growing all the time.

Another is Jocko Willink, former Navy SEAL Commander and now leader of the management consulting group Echelon Front.  One of the scariest dudes you can imagine, not only because of his accomplishments in the military but because of his intimidating presence and the constant scowl on his face.  I can just imagine his grade school pictures.  From Jocko I’ve learned a couple things.  The first is something also intrinsic in my own personality but he takes it to a whole new level — he is a man of few words.  Listening to one of his 3-hour long podcasts, you may “hear” him pausing for effect… for 10 seconds.  When a few of us saw him speak live in DC, he started his on-stage presentation by just sitting at a desk and reading letters.  To himself.  Eventually he spoke about those letters from WWI soldiers home to their wives, but for a solid 5 minutes there was no sound.  I’m not saying I’m going to coach a CrossFit class like that, but damn!  That was powerful.
The other lesson I continuously learn from reading and listening to Jocko is that you have to take ownership of everything that is happening in your organization.  If something goes wrong, and you’re in charge, it was your fault.  Someone was not properly trained, or was not given clear instructions on what to do in that situation, which falls back on the leader.  A leader that understands this and truly embodies it will grow other leaders in the organization with the same mindset.  I’m still working on this one, but I’m lucky to have many other leaders at CFKI that step up and take ownership when I drop the ball.

Finally, Mark Divine, founder of SEALFIT, has shown me that it’s OK to be vulnerable and admit your mistakes, especially to help others not fall down the same way.  In small group settings and even in his latest book, Staring Down The Wolf, he talks a lot about how his life experiences have shaped him — through failure.  And sometimes failure is not a bad thing, if we’re really going for something hard.  Fail Forward Fast is his mantra around developing new ideas and service offerings, and it’s apparent in how much different material the SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind organizations have put out, and how they continually evolve to get it better and better with each iteration.

When you’re a leader of an organization, especially a young leader with a lot to learn, don’t be afraid to try on some of the leadership qualities that you admire in others.  Straight up copy them!  There’s a reason you admire those qualities — because they are effective and inspiring.  When you’re faced with a complex situation, put yourself in your mentor’s shoes.  What would they do?  How would they step up as a leader here?  Embody their strong qualities, and then go out and lead!