If I had to sum it up, my biggest reason for getting my clients to hit the gym with me or get out for an early morning run with me is this: Training hard has changed my life. It’s one of the best parts of my day, and I’d like to share that with as many people in my life as possible.
It has brought a lot of focus and alignment to me and gives me some quality time to think and learn. I run for one, two sometimes even eight hours, and I’m listening to all kinds of things from podcasts to audiobooks to news and updates on the financial planning sector to motivational material. It’s prime self-improvement time for me.
Training with my clients has also given a whole new dimension to my client-advisor relationships.
For someone like me, who works with a small and select clientele, these relationships are essential. How my clients and I choose to nurture them is important.
Here are a few things I get out of getting my clients into the CrossFit box with me, or hitting a running trail in Hatta with me at the crack of dawn on a Friday.
Great one-on-one time to talk life and business
I’m not a gym chatterbox, but all the happy hormones that are released when you’re in the thick of a good workout puts people in an open, relaxed state of mind.
My clients and I end up talking about work, life, and beyond. It helps me understand their challenges, what more I can do for them, what they’re looking for in terms of service, products, what their goals and aspirations are, and figure out if and how I can help them get there.
It is also a great time for them to give me unadulterated feedback about the service proposition I have for them and whether it works or not. There have been several instances where a client and friend has opened up to me about what isn’t working about the experience I am trying to deliver for them.
This quality time together also means that we learn more about each other as individuals. My clients get to see how dedicated I am to setting and crushing big goals. I train fiercely, I’m always pushing my limits, and that’s the energy I bring to the table at work, too. I like for them to know that – I think it’s reassuring for them to draw that parallel.
Training teaches core values like respecting time and punctuality
I’m big on core values. I pick my clients based on their core values. And amongst them, one of the most important is valuing my own and others’ time.
Training intrinsically makes time and timing extremely important. At the Marathon des Sables (250km ultra-marathon across the Moroccan Sahara), which I’ve run twice now, starting late on one of the seven-race days gets you a time penalty that affects your standings in the race as a whole.
At the Crossfit box, arriving five minutes late for your workout means that you sit it out. Or you pay with 100 push-ups or something as painful.
So all the metaphorical ‘traffic jams,’ and ‘tire punctures,’ and ‘dog-ate-my-homework’ excuses – they might be true, but issuing those excuse cards comes at a price.
For me, fitting in a 10km run in the morning before work means starting the car at 5:00 am to get to the beach, running for an hour, getting home, shower, shave and back in the car at 7:15 for school drop-off.
If I’m late for that first commitment, everything else on my calendar topples over, too.
This lesson goes a long, long way for me and for every person I’ve dragged into the Crossfit box or onto a running trail with me. Crassly and commonly put: You snooze, you lose!
The community aspect
By default, I’m a connector. I like connecting with people, building bridges, and being a part of communities. Especially empowering communities that help me do and be better. I’m either joining communities like this at my CrossFit box, the gym, on my runs, or I’m building communities like this around me.
Most of my clients are positive, future-focused people, and they too draw energy from being around other people like themselves and so getting them involved in my health and fitness initiatives fires many of them up. They’re excited to win at something new, and in the process, they’re leading happier healthier lives. Huge win for me!
I lived a sedentary lifestyle for nearly 30 years of my life. So today, I see my physical fitness as a blessing, and I don’t take it for granted.
My chance to drive positive change
One of the biggest things that I get out of getting my clients to train with me is gratitude. In the past, I’ve encouraged some of my gym-averse clients to get up and get moving towards a healthier life, something that was at the bottom of their priority list.
When they made the change and realized how much it helped, they’ve always been thankful. I receive thank-you messages from their families and loved ones: Thanks for getting him or her to make a change and get happier and healthier.
That’s empowering. To know that I’ve helped someone get up and do something good for themselves, something that’s gotten them better in some way – that’s a great feeling. I know that in many ways, I earn their respect, too.
Training is a lot like buying Life Insurance. A lot of people know they need it and that it’s the right thing to do, but it takes a bit of a nudge to get around to actually doing it.
Buying Life Insurance, like training, is not an instant gratification transaction. The results don’t show overnight. You don’t buy a policy and go home with something shiny to show off. It’s not a ‘sexy’ transaction, so it’s hard to be motivated to get it done.
But getting your policy in place, just like waking up and hitting the gym every day, has an undeniable benefit in the long run.
So really, there are a lot of obvious and less obvious reasons for me to encourage my clients to lead a healthier, happier, and more active lifestyle. My true intentions, however, are pretty straightforward: It’s good for them, I care about them, and I want to share something with them that changed my life for the better.