There are moments in our lives when profound and lasting change happens unexpectedly. And for me, a rather unsuspecting area of my life was the catalyst.

It’s brought about a renewed sense of self – more confidence, better mental toughness, and made me a deeply insightful leader. It’s even fanned the flames of my entrepreneurial spirit.

So what’s driven this impressive change, you ask? Would you be surprised if I said CrossFit?

While CrossFit may conjure up images of tire-flipping and insane, Hulk-worthy workouts, it’s far from it. Yes, people usually first come to CrossFit to increase strength and change their physical appearance. But I’d argue that the camaraderie and sense of community is what keeps them coming back for more.

CrossFitters are an amazing group of caring, charitable, and passionate people who come from all different ages, fitness levels, and backgrounds. The skills I’ve learned while in “the box” have translated into success as a leader, entrepreneur, and business owner too.

Here are those six truths I learned from my very own CrossFit coach, Aris Ventura.

1. Anything is possible…if you’re willing to take the risk.

It sounds cliché, I know. But truly, anything is possible if mixed with a healthy dose of believing in yourself.

Think about it: The pieces of your life, your career – just about anything you can imagine – are always in flux. Breaking apart, resettling, and creating new paths. Similar to what you’re doing to your body when you exercise.

But it’s up to you to identify which paths are worthwhile, and then take action.

For entrepreneurs and leaders, that usually equates to a bit of risk-taking. Same with CrossFitters. Virtually everyone fears failure at some point, but pushing through those fears to go after what you want is often the only way to reach the end goal.

2. Be positive and work hard consistently.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and greatness and success aren’t easy to come by either. Just like you work hard to sculpt your muscles and change your eating habits, strong leaders get in the trenches to evoke change also.

They bring an infectious energy and enthusiasm to the most mundane tasks, and especially to the difficult tasks. They know they have to set the example for others, and show them that hard work pays off.

Like Aris, leaders encourage their teammates to keep going, because their goal is absolutely obtainable and worthwhile if only they keep their heads in the game.

3. Outstanding communication skills are imperative.

Screaming and yelling isn’t (typically) going to motivate anyone. And neither is incessantly talking at someone.

That’s why successful personal trainers quickly hone in on their clients’ needs and identify what motivates them. Leaders do the same.

Leaders have to form relationships with their teammates, just as trainers do with their clients. In order to do so, you’ve got to focus on listening and understanding before you can teach and train.

If you don’t, each message you try to send to your team will only fall on deaf ears. Approach is everything when it comes to setting the stage for effective communication.

4. Set high standards for yourself (and your team).

Don’t ever settle for mediocrity. Ever.

“Good enough” never translates to greatness. And if you’re not pushing the limits in the gym or with yourself or your team, mediocre is where you’ll land every time.

Do your best to stay on top of the little things. If you’re struggling to do so, ask for help and guidance. And before you know it, those little wins will stack one upon the other. That momentum will inevitably launch you to bigger and better achievements.

If you set the bar high and actually give people the tools and training to reach those goals, you’ll be amazed at their triumphs. Just don’t forget that encouragement goes a long way too.

So in the gym, drink your water, watch your form, and listen to your coach. And leaders, learn about the interests of your employees, thank them for showing up and giving it their all, and most definitely lead by example.

5. Persevere and persist.

Conflict is a part of life, both in the box and out. But leaders and CrossFitters know that conflict isn’t a roadblock. Instead, it’s an opportunity to overcome.

To overcome your doubt, your fear of failure, your worry that you’ll let others down. Those who persevere and persist may find they actually thrive despite the conflict.

So get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You may end up sweaty, exhausted, and nearly broken, unsure if you can get back up.

But, you will get back up. You have to get back up, because giving up isn’t an option. Dust yourself off and set your sights on even bigger dreams.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas A. Edison

6. Be committed to continuous improvement.

When you’ve reached your goal, it’s tempting to become complacent. After all, you’ve achieved what you set out to do whether that’s mastering a power lift or having your most profitable quarter.

It should be a time to rejoice, right?

But being a winner today doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a winner tomorrow. There’s always more work to do. Relentlessly chase personal and professional improvement and you’ll achieve levels of success you never thought imaginable.

I’d like to send out a special thank you to the group at CrossFit Illumine, and especially my CrossFit coach, Aris Ventura. For the last year, Aris has had an amazing influence in my life, and brought about a profound and renewed change both in my health and entrepreneurial spirit. I wish Aris and his family nothing but the best as they follow their dream and move to Florida!

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