To this day, I love gratis meet and greets with any and all people. In my entire career I haven’t ever had much space for new clients; but I’ve always made time to meet new people. I can’t but think those two things are connected.
When I was at Bally’s, we’d be lucky to get 150-250 tours per month, with as few as 80 new members some times. I and my training staff were always happy to chat with any of them, even people who clearly weren’t ever going to become members. It was a great learning experience. As such, we had solid rapport with members. We knew them, chatted with them, looked forward to them, trained many of them.
The first night I walked into Lifetime, before I started working there, there were more people on the floor at 9pm on a low day (Thursday, September 30th to be precise) than I’d seen in January at a higher traffic Bally’s at 5-6pm. “What an incredible opportunity to meet more people than ever,” I thought. I simply started with a goal of learning a minimum of 15 member’s names and stories per day. Within my first week after orientation I was struggling to find any more space in my calendar. I was out of draw during orientation before I technically “started” working.
I encountered something else new once I began there. Some coworkers looked to be handed “prequalified” leads. We never heard of such a thing in my prior network. Every chance to meet with anyone was an opportunity to connect with another human, period. If you were invested in people, you’d find that they would invest in you. And I have had people reach out to me 5, 10, 15 years later in some cases to be coached.
I visit a lot of different gyms, studios, and workout facilities. And more often than not, the engagement is somewhere between hiding behind a desk or overbearing salesmanship. Nobody wants that. It’s so transactional.
Sadder than that, I’ve encountered some people who’ve been conditioned to think that they themselves may be “a waste of time.” They think only about transaction. Recently, in fact, a lot of people who inquired about working with me, stated they didn’t want to “waste my time.” Meeting a new person and learning his or her struggles is never a waste of my time. My schedule is full. I’m not meeting people to fill my schedule. I do consults in order to learn and hopefully offer some valuable guidance. IF we get along, maybe we’ll work together. Maybe. Maybe not. That’s immaterial. If we can simply connect as humans, nothing is wasted. And no one is a waste.
But I keep running in to this transactional expectation. People have so embraced modernity that everything represents a transaction or is a lead up to transaction in their minds. Rather than interaction or transformation, they’re simply looking to arrive at the transaction. Even in workouts, people mindlessly speed through a series of repetitions on an exercise to ARRIVE at the end of the set. They're missing the boat entirely. From that perspective, yeah, I bet a lot of things seem like a waste of time. All of life must seem like a waste if you’re just getting to and checking off one transaction after another.
If nothing else, my hope would be that I can impress upon people the non-transactional nature of fitness. It is not a bunch of ones and zeroes. It isn’t a series of credit card swipes with dopamine payoffs. It’s a journey. Health and fitness is a walkabout. It’s a wandering in the wilderness. It’s a sojourn without end. The most valuable outcome is BEING in the very moment where you exist, experiencing the challenge, not speeding past it.
On that journey, there are no throwaway characters. This isn’t a game with worthless players or worthwhile players. No human is a waste of time.