What started in one-half of a double garage just a few years ago, has grown to become so much more. A family, a team, a gang and a tribe. Too many people use the word tribe these days because it sounds cool, it sounds Caveman and Paleo and other bullshit terms. But they don’t truly recognise or understand what a tribe is. According to Stephen Mansfield in his book on manhood, a tribe is “a group of men who do life together.” This rings true not just for men but for everyone. A tribe, therefore, is “a group of PEOPLE, who do life together,” which is what we are becoming and I love that.

I never intended to start a gym, I intended to help people, to bring people together. I intended to make a place where my family would be safe in a new land. I intended to build a tribe. If it had not been through CrossFit, it would have been some other way but is still would have happened.

Along the way it has been easy to lose sight of why we started and even at times of who we are and even who I am. When I look back on what got us here today, everything that has happened finds its roots in the love and need for a tribe and the love and need for adventure. Now that we are about to embark on something much bigger, I want to make sure that we don’t lose sight of where we come from and where we are going. I want everyone to know what I expect from myself, my team and my tribe.

So here are our values which I expect myself to uphold and my team to strive for and our tribe to work towards.

  1. Seek Adventure. Dare greatly. Go out and earn your happy life. A dream without action is a wish. One day you will die so stop wasting time and go grab what you want from your life. Your journey will come with many ups and downs but, with self-awareness and your training here with these friends, you will relentlessly apply how to live happy so that you may die well.
  2. Take Responsibility. For your words, actions and thoughts. Take responsibility for the gym and the people in it. Take responsibility for your future and the future of the team. Ultimately your success and your happiness is in your hands.
  3. Be Selfish. You can’t support others if you don’t put yourself first, you can’t support your family if you are too broken to move, too tired to think. Take care of yourself as a priority, look after your body, take care of your mind, tuck your kids into bed and kiss them good night. Take care of your sore muscles and your tired mind so that you can come back stronger the next day.
  4. Build A Tribe. Not a gym, not a fitness facility, not a meeting, a club, a therapy group or a self-help society but a tribe, a group of people doing life together. It is in the best interest of the tribe to only keep those around that are supportive, useful and believe in the same values of the tribe and to bid farewell to those who don’t. In a tribe, if a home burnt down, everyone would turn up and help salvage what was left and start again. This should be the same for every member as it is for the group as a whole.
  5. Be present. This is your life, make sure you are aware of where you are in each moment. Are you actually listening to what is being said? Are you safe in your current environment? Should you walk under that barbell or in front of that kettlebell right now?
  6. Be Curious. You do not know everything. Nor should you. You are not expected to. Be humble. If you do not know the answer, go find it. Never lie. Keep your mind open.
  7. Pick Your Battles. Not everyone is in the gym for the same reasons that you are. Some people may just need to escape the house and feel like they won at something. By the same token, you cannot fix a lifetime’s poor movement in one session. Triage. Identify the one thing that is likely to cause the most problems and work on that. Note I didn’t say FIX it.
  8. Get Over It. Be Positive. No complaining. No whining. No gossiping. No negative self-talk. These things ruin teams, companies and souls. Develop a sense of being present and a discipline of gratitude. Accept feedback. Critique compassionately. Breathe deeply. Unplug and get fresh air often. (Perceived slights, comments complaints or criticisms can be used to make you better, even if it’s just thicker skinned.) Forgiveness has profound effects on the mind.
  9. Sharpen Your Spear. Words are empty without action. We must train consistently, continuously and vigorously. We must train in the physical, mental and spiritual disciplines that not only make us better at our craft but better human beings. People do not follow words, they follow actions.
  10. Be Affluent. Time is the most expensive commodity you have. Give your time to improve someone else’s life Every Day. If you do this, you will be able to look in the mirror and be proud of what you have done throughout your lifetime. Give Back. Our job is to educate and empower others to live the life of their dreams. Give back when you can. The world needs it. This is good for others and fantastic for your soul.
  11. Leave The Team Better Than You Found It. From keeping the gym tidy to every single interaction with Teammate or Client; from every class taught to every program run; from each training session to each meeting, from the time you clock in until the time you clock out, leave the team better than you found it. The legacy we leave here is up to each one of us.
  12. Focus On Solutions. Each and every one of our jobs is to create solutions. Solutions for the client, for each other, for ourselves, for this Company and this community we live in. Be a leader. Leaders find ways to win. Leaders lead from the front. Leaders develop other leaders.
  13. Fail Forward. You will never leave the impact you wish to or be as effective as you could be if you are afraid to fail. We encourage “failure”. Failing forward, it is the only way to learn. Remember: you only truly fail if you give up.
  14. Keep It Simple. Fundamentals. It always comes back to fundamentals. Never stray too far from the fundamentals. Always know why you are doing what you are doing.
  15. Be Early. “If you are five minutes early, you are already ten minutes late.” When you are late, you are in a hurry. When you are in a hurry, you make mistakes and those who rely on you lose. Be early and come prepared.
  16. Look Out For Each Other. You are a tribe. A tribe is only as strong as the people in it. If the culture is strong but the tribe is weak, the tribe will fail. If the tribe is strong, but the culture is weak, the tribe will still fail. Listen to one another, feed off of one another, support one another, ask questions, be there when one of us makes a mistake and be a guide instead of assuming or judging.

The All Blacks have a saying, “In the belly, not the back.” They trust one another very deeply because nothing, absolutely nothing, is ever said behind a teammate’s back. The absolute honesty amongst them builds unheralded trust. This trust breeds love. Unbending trust is the strength of the All Blacks. It is the strength of any great team or tribe. Be a great tribe.

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