This morning I was sitting in church (I am a holiday kind of guy), and it just so happens the sermon was in regards to transformation. The second the word was said, my mind began to wander and develop ideas for this post. I had thoughts of all the great transformations I have seen since we affiliated on the third of May in 2013, but then it turned to short comings.
While this auspicious verbiage spurred a volley of names, faces, and feelings, most of which were amazing, it also made me think of the short comings. The people I failed to reach, and the lives which could have found more joy and more fulfillment. In this moment of revelation, I felt an odd congress with the Pastor. I bet he has the same moments when it comes to his congregation. The lives he has tried to change and a long list of failed attempts. The failings in a fight to move up the rankings and into someone’s “third place”.
The concept of a “third place” has been around for some time. If a person’s first place is home, and second is work, than the third place pays an important role in their lives as “The Great Good Place” by Ray Oldenburg, states. While we do not fit the entirety of the requirements to be a third place, the gym can fill the role. I have watched the gym become a social anchor, a place where one can depend on. It is neutral ground, where everyone is treated the same no matter socioeconomic standing or title. First names are the norm, but nicknames tend to be developed. In this aspect I feel we end up being in a battle with other potential third places for a spot on the podium.
Once one decides to make it official, concluding that this is my third place, so much more happens for them in a short amount of time. An entire new social world opens up, with people who take their health “seriously”, but still have fun. This creates a support network of individuals to raise you in your triumphs and to pull you up quickly in your defeats. Access to a caring network of individuals is what makes this gym “third place” worthy. How can we show you this concept? The gym can be a scary place, full of failure and undesirable experiences. So the question is, how can we counter act that?
Education and a few well-placed kind acts is a way to do this. With this idea in mind, we give you “Fit it Forward.” Daily, people who have already made us their third place, will be spreading the joy of wellness and gratitude. If you know someone who is a member, I would keep them close this week because it could benefit you greatly. We will be spreading the love of our third place, through the community, with random acts of kindness and knowledge of health. Our plan is to invoke you with a symbol of our philosophy. You may see this adorn the social media of our third place, or maybe on your friend’s social media. You can question it and be curious about it, but in the end, maybe you will embrace it, and we will welcome you with open arms.