Lead by Example

“Do as I say, not as I do.”
 – Ryan Wolf
Yesterday in our CrossFit Kids Camp, we had a pretty interesting discussion about leadership with some 6-to-10-year-olds.  They were surprisingly engaged and even argumentative about different traits that a leader should have, and it was a real treat to be able to have that chat with them.  One of the first points that I wrote on the board to get started was that there are different ways to become a leader.
One way is to stand up and declare, “I want to be the leader.”  An example here would be running for president.
Another way is for someone else to nominate you as the leader of a group, like a coach tapping a well-performing kid to lead the next exercise.
A third way, and the one I focused on the most with the kids, is when no one makes any formal declaration about you being the leader, and you don’t stand up and say it yourself, but you become the leader by demonstrating good intent and good actions.  You lead by example.  This is probably the most powerful way to lead, because people that are following you have chosen to do so because they respect you.  They trust you.  Maybe they aspire to be like you.
As I was thinking about that discussion later, I thought it would be interesting to have that same discussion with our adult CrossFit members!  I know I could definitely use a reminder sometimes to not only enforce rules or norms that we have in the gym on other people, but also to be a good member myself.  I know the quote above has come out of my lips when someone notices that I cut a warm-up way short during Open Gym because I just want to get to the workout.  I have written so many blogs about properly warming up and recovering to prevent injury, but somehow I think I am exempt from that advice?  If you’re like me and you’ve ever had to explain away an action by saying “Do as I say, but not as I do,” jokingly or not, then we need to remember that those that look up to us as leaders are always watching, and labeling us correctly as hypocrites.
It’s interesting how you can find motivation or inspiration to follow the right path in strange ways, but I definitely learned something in my leadership discussion with our awesome little CrossFit dudes.  I told them (and then myself) that if you want to be respected and followed as a leader, you have to show integrity in your thoughts, words, and actions.
Thanks for allowing me to try, make mistakes, and grow as your (self-appointed) leader.  My mission in life is to pursue self-mastery through learning and tough challenges, so that I can teach and inspire as many people as possible to do the same.  I value all these learning moments greatly.

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