A Counter-Cultural Commitment

A couple weeks ago, at an F3 workout I attended in Chapel Hill, N.C., a guy hit a seam in the pavement the wrong way, rolled his ankle and hit the ground.

I heard the commotion behind me and turned around to see what was going on. As it happened, this workout was what we call a “convergence,” where several different groups combine for a special, super-sized event, and there were at least 20 guys clustered around the fallen man, helping him up, figuring out how to go get a car for him, whether he needed to go see a doctor.

In F3 and and its sister organization, Females in Action, there is a commitment to a core principle of “no man or woman left behind.” If you show up to work out with us at some pre-dawn hour and you’re new and maybe you haven’t worked out in a while, we promise you will welcomed and that you won’t be left behind. And if some mishap like a sprained ankle should befall you, we will take care of you. And at the end of the workout, we will celebrate your arrival by giving you a nickname and making you a full member of our brother- and sisterhood.

One of the Chapel Hill guys later pointed out to me how counter-cultural that is. Think about it, he said. How many groups do you encounter where day in and day out the most important and celebrated person is not the shining star or the highest earner or the strongest performer -- but the raw newbie, the fresh recruit just learning the ropes and still unsure of him or herself?

He’s right, it is counter-cultural. And, I told him in response, it wouldn’t have any force or meaning if not for what comes after it. Because even though we start with, “We’re not going to leave you behind …,” we finish with this statement:

… but we’re also not going to leave you where we found you.

Today, I will circle back to pick you up. Because of my circle-back, you will push yourself a little bit harder than you might otherwise or you will push past where you otherwise might have given up. And tomorrow, you will be a little bit stronger, a little bit faster, a little bit better.

That basic idea -- together we are better -- underlies everything we do at The Iron Project. We believe that commitment, whether spoken or not, is at the heart of all high-impact organizations. Please contact us for a conversation about how we can help demonstrate that kind of culture for you and and build one in your organization.

Tim Whitmire