If you want to compare it to the NFL, I’m playing for a Super Bowl ring. If you’re into the justice system, I’m sitting on the Supreme Court bench. And if all you’re into is trashy reality TV (#noshame) then it is the first all-out, in your face drunken-drama ridiculous stiletto wearin’, hairdo havin’ season of Jersey Shore.
I am in it to win it.
I remember the first time I heard about my reputation as a bitch in my job.
It came from the owner of a vendor we were using for retail who had earned lots of business from me because they were recommended by a friend. After 2 deadlines had been blown on their end and another week of no returned phone calls or emails, I took the project over from one of my associates and placed a call to the owner myself. When I got the voicemail I left the kind of message that you KNOW will yield a return phone call immediately once the message is heard.
Not even five minutes later my phone was ringing.
The owner ranted and yelled about being on vacation with no reception, blah blah, being held up by the wholesaler, whine whine, and something like “let me tell you about how I run my business… it doesn’t include taking crap from people like you.”
I then very calmly proceeded to tell her how I run MY business. My number one priority is making sure that my members can take me at my word—that we provide everything for them we say we will. And when someone (said owner) carelessly mis-manages my expectations via deadlines, pricing and availability, I have now NOT been my word to my members. Can you see, owner person, why I am an unhappy customer here?
I was accidentally CC’d on an email a few weeks later that was clearly not meant for me to see. The closing remarks were, “Oh yeah, had a run in with that Meghan chick. She’s exactly the way you described her …. What a b*tch.”
My husband Chris shed some really amazing light on the situation for me and told me this: “It makes me so pleased to hear that this is how you’re handling your business while I’m not here with you. (He is in the military and lives away from home for a few years). What I WOULDN’T want to hear is that my wife is being run over or taken advantage of by anyone and everyone because she doesn’t have the balls to take care of business. It’s confidence, babe. You’re nailing it.”
If the word confidence defined means, “full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing,” then how could there possibly be any CON side to having a full and confident presence while running your small business?
I always figured the more I grew into my role as an affiliate owner, the easier my job would get. Quite the opposite, actually! The CON side comes with a price. And when the stakes are high, the view is much different from the top.
The upside to running a super-successful CrossFit affiliate is knowing that your thumb is constantly on the pulse of your business. There is confidence in this! BUT WARNING! … and proceed with caution! The CON side to knowing the heartbeat is that you have to know every organ, major or minor, every vein and every cell, and the makeup of every strand of DNA—and how all of these things collectively make the darn thing tick.
When I opened my affiliate 5 years ago with my husband, I had next to zero confidence in my ability to transform people’s lives through functional movement performed at high intensity, let alone make our box “successful,” whatever that means. How do you define SUCCESS in your CrossFit box? I’m sure this looks different for the 4,000+ affiliates across the world.
Is success having your Affiliate Team on the podium at The Home Depot Center, for the CrossFit Games? Is success 500 paying members? Is success that you drop in on your business from time to time, but don’t physically have working hours in your gym?
My definition of success in our box is that our members’ lives are forever changed in the areas of everlasting wellness by being a part of our program. It’s having highly trained and skilled associates that lead these members through their pipeline. And for these same associates to earn a satisfying living that meets their goals and need for the standards of their own lives.
Finally, success is knowing that I have done the best job possible to make these things happen, to make everyone feel better when they leave than they did when they walked through our doors.
But as a female business owner, there were specific hurdles I had to overcome in order to fully claim the confidence to succeed on my terms.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper here into the CON side of confidence for women box owners:
C : CONFUSION
Women (more than men) tend to overemphasize relationships and let emotions blur the lines of friendships instead of making clear, concise business decisions. We become friends, the best of friends! These relationships can unfortunately undermine boundaries and authority, which leads to more emotion and interpersonal entanglements. We as Coaches get invited to weddings, children’s birthday parties, football tailgating. This has been a fatal mistake for me in the past; being everyone’s best friend, confidant, last man standing at the happy hour, an answer for every text message, no matter the time.
When it comes time to do business, set boundaries or enforce rules and accountability, even so no one is up in arms, wondering why their “best buddy” has her panties in a bunch. There comes a point when people either understand your role or they don’t. Love communicated and leadership are not at odds, you must have both to survive. Nobody else can lead your people like you can.
O : OMNIPRESENT
The bad news for you is that, wherever you are, you are still the affiliate owner. You are the same person that commands presence in your box and who people go to for full understanding of procedures, movements, and timelines.
As a woman, for many of us, there are many roles that come attached to your gender (besides business owner). Wife, mother, single mother, caretaker for family or best friend. I so often bury myself in my day-to-day tasks in each one of these roles to feel as though I have fulfilled all my daily duties and covered my bases. This has created bottlenecking in my business (see Tim Thackrey’s post for more on this).
Your full presence in your business rides shotgun with you everywhere you go, and it’s an absolute MUST to set that precedent with everyone on your team and in your box.
N : NOT WHAT THEY WANT, BUT WHAT THEY NEED
Of course its not what they want! In a perfect world, we have all the answers to everything and nobody ever has to make the tough calls.
“You’re not the boss of my life!” There is a difference between being bossy and being a leader. Even in my own home, with my own children, I struggle with knowing when my bossiness wins out over what is best for my little team. As the leader of my business, you trust in me to embody the authority necessary to claim ownership in my role as LEADER. No team gets better without a Coach. Nobody heads out on the field without reviewing the plays that were written specifically for them by a person with a bigger vision for the game. A Coach was designed to lead from the front in every way, despite the bumps and bruises that may be incurred along the way.
It hasn’t been easy learning all these “minor organs.”
Memorizing the playbook is painful and it takes time. Screwing up has set me back at times, and other times the lessons learned push me through the sticking point and on to my next level of learning in my business. But the CONFIDENCE (remember the definition?) that has developed within me and my team has become the most critical piece in making sure our box runs like a well-oiled machine.
If we are each confident in our abilities to make good decisions, make them according to what is best for the gym and give constructive feedback in the moment to each other about those decisions, the ripple effect is huge! The heartbeat is STRONG!
But remember your affiliate will not come packaged with a red bow that reads “Confidence Included.” That’s up to you.
Who wouldn’t want a “b*tch” like Meghan on their team?
Go ALL IN with the Tribe for the next 12 months and you’ll have the rare opportunity to build your confidence by learning directly from SMEs Meghan Russell, Chris Thorndike and Tim Thackrey.
More info to come…