Year Eight: A Study in Resilience

“What are we going to do?”
— CFKI community sentiment, March 2020

These “year in review” blog posts have been fun for me to write, both because I can reminisce on good times and great pictures of smiling faces and hard work, and because I get a chance to contemplate and reinforce the lessons learned.  They are re-instructional for me, if you will.
Writing about Year Eight feels different… maybe due to the global pandemic that ground the world to a halt in the beginning of 2020.  But yet looking through the pictures, it looks almost the same.  Still lots of smiles and hard work, just a smaller cast of characters being tagged on Instagram.  Our social media feed throughout the spring was devoid of “gym pics,” but they were replaced with driveway workouts, muddy backyard family fitness adventures, and biking/running/rucking – anything to reduce the symptoms of cabin fever we were all acutely feeling as social fitness animals!

The Wolf family was featured prominently as the online face of CFKI, but I know you were all staying active and eager to remain part of the community.  I know this because so many conversations I had with you all individually as we would catch up on the phone or via email during the initial lockdown revolved around this question:

“What are we going to do?”

Initially, I didn’t have the answer to that question, and Denee and I and our coaches spent two weeks thinking and planning.  But I was overwhelmingly encouraged by the fact that you were asking, and I want to pick apart the language to explain why.

“WHAT are we GOING TO DO?”
The tone of this question implies that we are GOING TO DO something.  We are going to respond to this situation with a positive move forward, rather than doing nothing.  The person asking the question assumes that the CFKI leadership and community is not going to sit idly by and wait for further instructions that could come tomorrow or in a year.  We would be proactive and do SOMETHING.  This was your expectation, and I love you all for that.

“What are WE going to do?”
Think about the implication of the word “WE” chosen by the speaker.  I believe “we” in this sense means the CFKI community.  “We” is the team of CFKI members, coaches, and owners that need to come together at this time to act.  If I ask, “what are WE going to do?”, I am including myself in that community and holding myself accountable for leading and acting to pull us out of this hole.  You, as a community of “WE”, took responsibility for helping to craft the best plan and then supporting it wholeheartedly.

You all know the rest of the story.  After our two-week hiatus, we took the approach of providing the most benefit to our members as we could, giving away our equipment and remotely training everyone that wanted to at home.  We all started with a workout-of-the-day template and an assigned coach modified the workout for the equipment we had access to, as well as our ability level.  This remote coaching idea was a success, and at least kept our conditioning level up (maintaining strength was an issue).  We still have several members that are training with this model now, with Alyssa as their coach!
Eventually we were allowed to return to the gym premises and train outside, which produced some awesome tans in the heat of summer and maybe some low-grade hand burns from those black mats!  I got burnt to a crisp during our Burpee Hour (as many burpees as you can do in an hour, then order takeout food from a local restaurant).  I was super confused until I realized I was facing the same way under direct sunlight and soaked in sweat for an hour straight!

We are fortunate that regulations were lifted and we were gradually able to return to “normal operations.”  But I think we are even more fortunate to have experienced this pandemic and that we were able to stress-test our operations and make our business, and our community, stronger from it.  I am confident now that whatever disruptive challenge comes our way next – and there will be one! – we will come out the other side even smarter, more prepared, and more resilient.  Bring it on!