“Tell us a moment in your life which has left an impact on you, or a moment which will allow us to get to know you better”.
This is how Title Boxing Club NOVA co-owner, Chijioke Asomugha, started last week’s team training. The club has gone through a lot of changes over the past six months and this was a way to get every employee to be on the same wavelength. Within minutes we knew the past experiences which had led each person on the path to Title Boxing Club NOVA. We bypassed the meaningless icebreakers and went straight into hearing the truths and hardships each person brings to work each day. I saw more culture and community within this group of people than I have seen in most 300 person companies who have a VP of People or Chief of Culture.
Everywhere we go we choose the communities we want to be a part of. Every new room, new building, and new organization leads us to make another choice about the people we want to build a relationship with, the people we want to inspire, and those we want to let inspire us.
Title Boxing Club became a community for me in June of 2015 after relocating to Nashville, TN. I walked into the club and felt an instant sigh of relief. I saw people of different sizes, ages, and ethnicities dominating their workout. The club trainers and members welcomed me with a smile and took the opportunity to truly get to know me. The club openly talked about the stress, pain, and struggles each person was fighting for during their workout. The club became my judgment-free zone. It was the one place where people didn’t care about my sales numbers at work or what city and background I came from.
In April of 2018, my career as an employee benefits consultant led me to Washington DC. Every single thing in my life changed except for my community within Title Boxing Club. I walked into Title Boxing Club NOVA and felt right at home. There was a different ownership and members, but the culture of belonging and the push for personal growth was the same. I wrapped up my hands, put on my gloves, and allowed myself to be consumed by 60 minutes of sweat and hard work.
One year later and I am officially a Trainer at Club NOVA. The regional manager, Mike Alexander, recruited me to the team after noticing my four years of experience and my passion for the club. I signed up to teach two classes per week without even knowing how much I would be compensated or what I would ‘get’ out of it. I simply asked myself “What can I contribute to my community?”.
I often think of how employers can create the same type of community within their workplace. In order to create this sense of belonging, an organization has to be willing to cut out the BS. Leadership has to do the inner-work to realize what past experiences they bring to work each day and be willing to be the first person to openly talk about it. The workplace does not have to be a therapy session, but it must be a space where employees can show up as themselves – pain, suffering, past experiences and all. This is when the full talent and potential of every individual can rise to the surface.