In a New York Times article, Greg Glassman bluntly acknowledged the likelihood of injuries in CrossFit, saying, “It can kill you… I’ve always been completely honest about that.”
It’s common for CrossFit to be labeled as more accident-prone than other sports, even from within the community. But the fact is that injuries are common in any endeavor that requires one to push him or herself to the limit – whether that be a sport, a personal crisis or running your own business.
After all, injuries are just problems applied to the body, and all problems create the same kinds of challenges and offer the same opportunities for growth.
So, what can we deduce from the lessons CrossFitters have learned about managing sports injuries to help run better boxes?
Here are 5 key steps for managing injuries that apply both to CrossFit and business:
Prevent: The only thing better than a problem solved is a problem avoided altogether. In your workouts, this might mean learning to gage when to push through and when to ease up. It might also be as simple as staying after class to stretch and mobilize for 10 minutes instead of running out the door in a hurry. In your business, this could look like making sure you have the right systems and checklists in place ahead of time to ensure that an event is going to go smoothly and that you’ve already planned all of the details.
Face: Can’t seem to stop yourself from pushing through pain because you’re such a focused and determined person? Then enlist an ally by asking your coach to act as the angel on your shoulder. Have them step in to ask you if what you’re experiencing is the “good kind” or the “bad kind” of pain. In your business, this could involve having a peer, fellow business owner or accountability partner to run scenarios by. Want to know if something you’re experiencing at your box is a normal growing pain or if it could be the symptom of a much bigger problem? Ask a fellow affiliate owner.
Correct: Assume you already have perfect form? Have a qualified friend assess whether you have slipped into any bad habits over time that you may not be aware of. Even pros can get off track once in a while and a fresh eye can help you recognize it before it becomes debilitating. In your business, this might mean hiring a business coach. The best athletes and business owners ALL have great coaches. Sometimes an additional set of unbiased eyes are just the perspective needed to really “see” what’s going on.
Heal: Give yourself permission to adjust routines or take time off to account for problems. Take the feedback your body or business is telling you seriously! If you don’t let your injury heal now, it may cost you a lot more than impatience – like expensive treatments and frustrating downtime. It is just as important to take rest in your business as it is in your training. Running on all cylinders for a prolonged period of time with no breaks is a sure fire path to burnout and could ultimately cost you your business. This is also one of the reasons it’s so important to identify and start to train your duplicate early on. You will need someone capable of running and driving the business just as much as you, if not more.
Transform: Jim Collins calls it an “autopsy without blame” when we face our unintended results without judgement. Your injury is not a statement about you, your athletic stamina or the viability of your business. It’s information that can enable you to improve your performance and even to grow if you approach it open-mindedly enough. Every injury or business problem you encounter can bring you one step closer to the athletic performance or the successful business you desire…as long as you take the time to learn from each “injury.”
Everyone has certain (often temporary and fixable) limitations to work around. If we’re smart, we will increase trust with our clients by being transparent both about our strengths and about how we are addressing and growing from our “injuries.”