So here we are. Somewhere around day 17 (give or take) of quarantine, and we are all doing our best to keep a positive headspace as the time passes. I find myself thinking back to when I’d be getting ready for work and daydreaming of the chance to stay home and work from the cozy confines of my beloved bed (even though I love my job). It seemed like a fancy mirage that I lusted after. I would then proceed to burst my bubble, grab my car keys, and head off to work.
Fast forward to present times, and I now find myself desperately missing my cubicle mate, the cute little plant that I habitually overwatered on my desk, and the other office dogs and people who I’d get to scratch and chat with throughout the day. (Dogs=scratch, People=chat lol)
What I am sure of in these unsettling times is that I’m VERY fortunate to have the ability to work from home, stay with my fiance, and to grow my little nugget.
There are so many men and women who are tirelessly working to keep our essential businesses in place—people who are still at work and yearning to be at home with their families. People who are selflessly maintaining spaces for the rest of us to shop, heal, and gather the things we need to remain comfortable while we hideaway for the foreseeable future.
There are also so many other men and women who are now out of work entirely—wondering when things will settle down so that they can have the opportunity to get another job and obtain an income once again. Small businesses are hanging on by a thread, hoping to sustain enough revenue to keep their doors open and pay their employees. Companies that took years, hard work, and a single dream to make a reality.
Even though most of us are aware of these things, it can still be a daily battle to be thankful for the things we have, wherever we are. It is something that I have struggled with the last week or so, and I doubt that I am alone.
So what can we do to make sure we are lifting our spirits and supporting the people around us who may be having a harder time? Here are a few ideas I found in a Forbes article by William Arruda:
+Limit your intake. You could watch 24-hour news channels, listen to dire warnings on the radio, or visit countless websites and be bombarded with the angst of the moment. Instead, choose a single news source and decide how much limited time you’ll spend with it each day. Then stick to your plan.
+Look to the past. Get hope from your past resilience. You have likely endured other unforeseen major life disrupters like 9/11, major hurricanes, or the financial meltdown of 2008. You made it through! And you are stronger because of it. Know that you will get through this. Remind yourself of your resilience regularly.
+Watch a funny video. Thanks to the huge popularity of YouTube, there are thousands of videos that can help you take your mind off current events, if only for three minutes at a time. Start to bookmark the funniest among them so you can return for a repeat viewing whenever things feel gloomy.
+Look after your neighbors. You may be at low risk of severe consequences from the virus, but it may not be the same for your neighbors whose immune systems are compromised. The act of checking in on them (keeping six feet apart, of course) will not only make them feel good, and it will make you feel good and remind you that there are others for whom this predicament is even more stressful.
+Support your favorite local business. Maybe you’re heeding the social distancing advice and aren’t eager to sit in a crowded restaurant right now. And others feel the same way. Those empty seats aren’t helping the restaurant owner to pay her staff or keep the restaurant in business. Buy a gift card to help the business owner now, and prepay for a beautiful meal you can have to celebrate when this pandemic is behind us.
+Send gifts in the mail. It may not be wise to drop in on your loved ones with some fresh-baked goodies, so send them a card or present in the mail. Unexpected treats can be huge pick-me-up-in times of stress. This is especially valuable to the elderly who are living in nursing homes. Many facilities have closed their doors to all visitors, making residents feel even more isolated and vulnerable.
+Take advantage of found time. Cancelations allow me to focus on some things I’ve had no time for and to accelerate my progress on other product offerings. It’s liberating, and that’s what I’ve decided to focus on. If your company has implemented a WFH policy, how will you use the time you previously spent on commuting?
+Practice random acts of kindness. Leave an envelope with a little gift for the Amazon Fresh delivery person who drops off your supplies outside your door. Or have a coffee delivered to your doorman. Your kindness doesn’t require a monetary outlay. Write an unsolicited book review for a friend of yours who is an author. Comment on a colleague’s LinkedIn post. Send a snail-mail note of appreciation to a friend or colleague. Many in the entire country of Italy broke out in song and applause to honor their healthcare workers. Thank the custodians in your building or workplace for their efforts to keep things safe. Think of those who could benefit from your thoughtfulness and generosity. Then act.
+Rescue that animal you’ve wanted but haven’t been sure you’d have the time to allow it to get acclimated to your home and family.
In times of constant negative messaging, you need an antidote so that you can keep your positive attitude and march forward with determination and hope. Be deliberate in activities that are positive, heartwarming, stress-reducing, and laughter-inducing! Together, we’ll get through this.
Written By: Hayley Sutherland
Below I have put together a small list of steps to help develop new habits and make them stick:
Written by Hayley Sutherland
“To truly celebrate CrossFit Eden Prairie’s 6th birthday, I decided to flip the script and put co-owners, Curt and & Anna Follman, in the hot seat. Although, this is a celebratory moment I wanted to have them share the reality of what goes on behind the scenes to create the #workhardbenice community that stands today.” Written by: Hayley Sutherland.
What are some of your favorite moments & memories from the last six years?
It’s fun to look back and realize that some moments were way more meaningful now that we are further away from them! There are too many to count, but looking back now there are a few that stand out. Our 1-year party was pretty awesome….and by awesome we mean we had a band and open bar! We quickly realized that we didn’t need to do that again!! 🙂 There were so many memories from our original space. We had our first CrossFit Open as a community, first WODdle Before You Gobble on Thanksgiving Day, and many more that I’m sure the community members can attest to! When we were moving to our 2nd location [now known as the pitstop due to the short 10-month stint there], we signed the lease to the space while Anna was in labor with our daughter, Hadley! We literally made a “pitstop” on the way to the hospital to sign the lease, I guess the name holds many meanings to this day. That was quite a hectic couple of days, to say the least! A huge sigh “relief” came over us the day that we moved into our final space [where we are currently]. Not having noise complaints, other issues, and having the best facility to date was the light at the end of what felt like a very dark tunnel at the time. They always say 3rd times the charm!
What would you say is the most challenging part of owning the gym?
The most challenging part (as most small business owners will tell you) is the “consuming” nature of owning a business. Owning a small business with your spouse adds its own unique challenges. We’ve heard so many times “I could never work with my spouse….we’d kill each other!” Well….we’ve almost done that many times! On date night we have to tell ourselves not to talk about the gym, and that usually doesn’t work. To most people starting or stopping a membership at a gym or other place isn’t a big deal…but to us, it’s legitimately our livelihood! So relying on people’s decisions in that aspect can be quite stressful at times. Another piece to the puzzle is the natural changes in life that have come along the way. Opening a business when you’re young and engaged is different than when you have a 4-year-old and hoping for more children. All of the early mornings and late nights don’t “mesh” well with that. We all know that CrossFit is an extremely personal business where we have relationships with so many people, so when we aren’t able to be as present as we were in the beginning, it has led us to feel guilty at times, when in reality we are just doing what is best for our family! Although it’s not always butterflies and rainbows, we’re extremely blessed to be surrounded by the countless amazing humans that we’ve been able to meet over the years since opening CFEP.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of owning the gym?
We built something from nothing…together.
This will always be the most rewarding piece to all of this. We created something that wasn’t ever there from the ground up and have been going strong for 6 years now! A lot of businesses [especially fitness] never make it that long. Fitness is cut-throat in many aspects, and a lot of times you see owners start to burn out if they don’t take the necessary steps to relieve some of the workloads. We’ve made it a priority to not let that happen! This community is also filled with some AMAZING people! There are so many times where the generosity and kindness of members in this community has been overwhelming. Even our friends and family who aren’t apart of the gym don’t always understand how great everyone is or how much people care about each other. The typical gym is where you go in, get your workout done, then leave. We do that…but we also raise money if someone needs it, go to happy hours, golf together, attend other members’ birthday parties, etc. We have such a large support group, and more importantly, our daughter Hadley has one hell of a group of role models to look up to!
If you could go back six years ago and give your younger self advice, what would it be?
Anna’s first response to this question was, “to hire a rockstar business consultant and CPA right out of the gate and to ask more questions [be more curious].” As her younger sister, hearing that this was her initial response was no surprise to me lol. When encouraging them to think beyond business their thoughts were the following.
A common theme over the years, especially the first few can be summed up by “Stay in your Lane.” To better define the co-ownership roles and rely on one another’s strengths right out of the gate. Too often we would try to prove we could convert a weakness into a strength, just to show each other that we could do it just as well. This tactic may remind you of any toddler you’re close with, but being in business with your spouse can bring out your inner child at times. It wasn’t always easy to do, but learning when to take a back seat and when to let the other one shine is an important message. This applies to us as both business owners, and as husband & wife. Another piece of advice we continuously remind ourselves of is that it’s okay to drop our pride & ask for help [which we sadly admit is still a difficult thing for us to do] We have learned to accept the fact that everyone needs it from time to time!
Where do you hope to see the gym and community six years from now?
As we eluded to earlier, the fitness industry is always ebbing and flowing, it’s our mission to continue to offer a “best in class” service to all of our members. In our opinion, CrossFit will always be the most effective way to sweat, and the community aspect is hands down the most motivating factor to keep the doors open. The most important aspect that we hope to always instill is the #workhardbenice culture derived from the many members reading this today. We cannot wait to witness many more first skills, PR’s, friendly camaraderie, and so many more people we have yet to meet.
If CFEP had a theme song, what would it be and why?
When I asked Anna what she would choose as the CFEP theme song, she giggled at first and said “I’ll be there for you,” from the cherished 90’s sitcom Friends. Apparently, Curt despises the show [which is a sin in my opinion] but she went ahead and picked it anyways. We looked it up on youtube [which we encourage you to do as well], and we realized that it does fit the mold quite well. We then joked that she would most likely play the role of Monica, and Curt would be her Chandler Bing- therefore doing anything that she says. Ha-ha just kidding.
If you could summarize how you feel about your community, what would you want them to know? (A message from the owners)
Where do we start? Gratitude is the first word that comes to mind. It’s an easy word to throw around, but we wouldn’t be in business today without countless handouts from many of you who still sweat with us, and some of those who have moved on but keep in touch. That one word carries more weight than we can ever express. For those who fought for us and jumped in to help without request and of course without ever seeking anything in exchange. For standing up for our young family when we were “served” at our home when Hadley was just weeks old in an attempt to “bully” us out of the pitstop location. For volunteering your professional time because what happened to us just didn’t feel fair. For helping us move our gym [TWICE] in one year without batting an eye. For hanging in there during “no dropping weights” time. For having empathy & compassion when a decision we made may have felt out of left field as a member but better supported our family life. This list goes on and on but one common theme? Gratitude. From the countless members we have had the pleasure of getting know, thank you for letting us be a small part of your journey. As the theme may suggest, every single person who has had any hand in this business becoming a reality; our family, friends, past, present, future members, and beyond. Thank you.
Written By: Hayley Sutherland