As corny as they all are, I absolutely love to know what a company’s core values are.  Being an Army brat, I appreciate the foundational beliefs that a business or unit hold that unites them.  For instance, one of the tenets of the Navy SEAL code is: “Excel as warriors through discipline and innovation.”  This tells you that a Navy SEAL is trained to win not only by their mighty firepower and superior training, but by their ability to adapt, improvise and overcome obstacles.  Mottos like this create a company culture and from a united identity.  

     As humans, we naturally gather and rally around causes.  Whether it be a football game, work, church or volunteering, we all want and NEED to belong to something.  It gives us a sense of purpose and an ability to derive meaning from our existence in this universe. This is why I believe that core values are essential as to the WHY behind any organization.  

     Between the lessons learned from my parents (both of whom have served our great nation), mentors and colleagues, I’ve distilled down to the three foundational beliefs I have about how one should conduct themselves in life. 

  1. Take responsibility for yourself.  No one else is to blame for any of the obstacles I face or for improving my life’s circumstances.  It is 100% up to me to roll up my sleeves and get what I truly want out of this life. The minute I start to blame others, I stop growing as a human being.  This is a tough pill to swallow for many, but I strongly urge you to take full ownership and responsibility for yourself. In addition, I’m in full control of my response no matter what the circumstances are.  This belief was heavily inspired not just by my military parents, but “Extreme Ownership,” a fantastic book by Jocko Willink. It should be required reading for every person on this Earth.  
  2. Serve with compassion and humility.  I don’t care what job or career you have, there is someone you’re serving.  As a personal trainer, my clients are my priority. I’m being trusted with teaching them how to move well, get stronger and live a healthier lifestyle.  I cannot take that lightly and must remember that my job is to serve my clients first, the rest is secondary. I’ve trained clients during their toughest moments in life.  The personal connection and enjoyment of the sessions is what kept them coming to the gym when it would have been very easy to retreat. No matter what your job is, always remember who you’re serving.  In a world that’s more distracted and disconnected than ever, aim to be a source of kindness and compassion for whom you serve.  
  3. You’re a part of something bigger than your individual self.  When it comes to any team, organization or business, you have to let go.  Let go of the ego and the need to be an alpha or the smartest person in the room.  I don’t care how many certifications you have or what your accomplishments are. If you can’t work with a team you’ll never be as successful as you want to be.  Teams are everything. I remember coming across a U.S. Army Special Forces poster that read: “It’s not about making the team, it’s about making the team better.”  This is exactly what I saw during my StrongFirst Level I Kettlebell certification course. Everyone was there to learn, get better and help each other do the same. Part of our evaluation was coaching each other.  You know what the best part was about that? Everyone learned more, got better and I can guarantee that this led to a higher passing rate than if we had just done individual instruction with no team-building exercises.  In addition, I’ll wholeheartedly admit to you that I definitely would not have passed SFG without the abundant help I received from my teammates (4 StrongFirst certified instructors in total). WE came together and helped prepare me to succeed, it was not a lone-wolf effort.  Even Batman has Alfred and Commissioner Gordon, no one does everything alone.  

These three beliefs have completely changed my life and I know they’ll do the same for you.  Recite these three statements aloud.

I take responsibility for myself.

I serve with compassion and humility.

I am a part of something greater than my individual self.  

Take note of how you feel after saying these powerful words. Now, beat your chest rhythmically while humming and you’ll be on your way to becoming a stronger and more successful version of yourself.  

To your lifelong health and success,

-Demarco Crum, CPT, SFG

“Strength has a greater purpose.”  -Pavel Tsatsouline

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