Most people think Crossfit is a cult. Think what you want about Crossfit. If you drank the kool-aid, you may know that Crossfit's infancy was back in 2007 on the west coast. Over a few years, Crossfit gained momentum to disrupt the global fitness industry.
I have been part of this fun and inspiring community since 2012. Once you get inspired by your fellow Crossfitters, you may get inspired to do a Crossfit competition. Crossfit and competitions are not only for the most elite athletes that you see showcased at the Crossfit Games. Regular people, like myself, do Crossfit competitions too.
After a two-year hiatus from competing, I decided to participate in the recent Crossfit Bettendorf Invitational in January. I have competed in eight competitions with a different team members and partners. Each time I compete, I learn something new about myself.
Today, whether attending college or working your way up the corporate ladder there is emphasis on the ability to work in a team. Accomplishing projects and goals are completely different in a team environment where you are all dependent on each other's success. Competing again, especially on this four-person team environment, made me aware of some great lessons and take aways that apply to anyone looking to grow both personally and professionally.
4 Life Lessons You Will Learn After Competing in Crossfit
1 - COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Communication is a two-way street between the communicator and the listener. It is important to know what communication style you have and how that style fits with the other team members.
Both verbal and non-verbal communication is important to support your team. I admit that during the heat of the competition, although my intentions are to be encouraging, my non-verbal communication can sometimes show frustration or stress.
Advice: Know how to motivate your team members through impactful verbal and non-verbal communication. Learn what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.
2 - SPILT- MINUTE DECISIONS ARE GAME CHANGING
In fact, studies performed by Sheena Iyengar at Columbia University found that Americans make an average of 70 decisions each day. (Source) That's a lot of decision making! Entrepreneurs are known for being decisive and having the ability to develop quick decision making.
Over the span of each workout there were many times when our team had to make spilt minute decisions based on the situation. You never know how you or your team members will feel or how you will perform on competition day. In 2014, one of my team members had the flu the morning of the competition and was unable to compete. My other team member and I decided we would still compete in the three-person competition with just two people.
Not diving too deep into personalities, being Type A personality makes me love having a plan.
Going into the day of competition, my team had a plan on the pre-announced workouts. However, it is a huge benefit if your team can be 'quick on their feet'. Literally and figuratively.
During the competition, there were quite a few times when we had to be agile and make adjustments. Thankfully, my team members were great at communication and the ability to act 'on the fly'.
Advice: Having a plan is good.
Being able to 'roll with the punches' when things change is better.
3 - KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. MORE IMPORTANTLY, KNOW YOUR TEAM'S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES.
When thinking about doing a team competition, of course you want to have fun. It is natural to strike up a conversation with your friends and favorite gym peeps. It may not be a priority to win or place well, especially if it is your first competition. Whether putting together a team for your first Crossfit competition or in a professional setting, you should identify strengths of each potential team member so you can play to them.
I was fortunate to have a great team with my friends who happen to all have different strengths. We complimented each other very well in regards to Crossfit competition standards for the Invitational.
Not sure what strengths you should be playing to? I would strongly encourage you to read theGallup's Strength Based Leadership book and take the StrengthsFinder assessment. You can purchase here. The book identifies three keys to being a more effective leader:
- knowing your strengths and investing in others' strengths
- getting people with the right strengths on your team
- understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.
Advice: Know How to identify your strengths and how you will contribute to your team.
4 - ADMIT TO FAULTS AND LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
As much as you can prepare before a Crossfit competition or a big executive meeting, there will be mistakes. Although it is hard to hear, mistakes and failures are opportunities. The ability to reflect on situations and embrace the mistake is a core component of leadership growth.
There was a moment in the competition where I miscalculated the weight for my bar for the max snatch lift. Initially I was not sure what was off, but I knew something was not right based on the weight of the bar. After realizing what happened, I took full responsibility and apologized to my team for the poor attention to detail. Taking this as an opportunity, I realized I need pay more attention to details under pressure.
Jeff Wiener, LinkedIn's CEO, borrowed this simple phrase from Coach K of the Duke Blue Devils. And it’s two words: “next play.” Whether you just took the lead from the opposing team with a perfect three-point shot or you lost the ball to your opponent, don't linger too long on what just took place. Take a moment to reflect what just happened and then move on to the "next play".
WHY DO I SHARE ALL OF THIS WITH YOU?
Well first, I want to encourage anyone who is interested in competing in a Crossfit competition to seriously consider finding a team and signing up. Crossfit competitions are not just for elite athletes.
Second, it is inspiring how many great lessons can be learned from participating in a Crossfit competition. If you have competed before in a Crossfit competition, I am sure you can relate. If you have not yet, I hope you find this inspiring. As we approach the 2017 Crossfit Open, you may be able to learn other lessons beyond the ones I have shared.
Lastly, I am not an expert. I am continuously learning myself. However, this blog is inspired by my moments to help inspire your moments. If one person learns something new from my experiences, I have succeeded.
Collect your moments and share them with me!
Can you relate to some things mentioned above after competing in a Crossfit competition?
What other lessons have you learned from competing in a Crossfit competition?