Searching for Significance

I believe we all ask the question at some point, “Does what I do at work really make a difference?”

I’ve struggled with this question frequently in regard to my current employment. As the service manager of a gym, what impact do I actually have on the members’ lives? Hmm…not sure. Would it matter if I didn’t go to work today? Not so much. People would still come to the gym, workout and then leave. Maybe the front desk staff wouldn’t be as friendly or the equipment wouldn’t get cleaned as well because “the boss” isn’t there supervising. Supplies wouldn’t get ordered and some questions may go unanswered, but ultimately, the gym would still function. I found myself wondering, “why continue doing what I’m doing?”

Then, I spent the last four days in a sales training class learning how to sell memberships and personal training (not nearly as much fun as it sounds). And even though it was focused on sales (something I’ve never been interested in), it made me realize once again that I’m part of a company that’s helping to change people’s lives for the better.

Coming from the customer service side of the business, I had a different perspective on the sales process. To me it’s not just about getting the sale and taking someones money. To me it’s actually about helping people make the decision to take action, to get in shape and change their lifestyle. Potential members come up with every excuse in the world not to join because the road in front of them is tough and it’s just plain easier to sit back and do nothing. My job then, is to show them how being healthier will impact their lives, to create a vision of the future.

I feel reenergized to go to work tomorrow. When someone enrolls, I won’t think, “there’s another new member unit.” I’ll think, “awesome, we’ve just helped another person save their own life.” I want to sit in front of a potential member and not “sell them,” but instead help them choose to better themselves and point them down the right path.

I think I’ve found an answer to the question, “does what I do really make a difference?” I see the significance of my career. Or maybe, over the past four days, I was successfully brainwashed by corporate America?

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3 thoughts on “Searching for Significance

  1. Maybe you can help to change the atmosphere of the gym. It always feels like I’m going to back to high school – like there’s some underlying competition that no one acknowledges but everyone participates in. Is there a way to make the gym more personal? If people didn’t feel like they were being sized up every time they walked in, I bet a lot more of them would go. Fitness should be natural, relaxing and fun – not stressful and psychosomatic.

  2. Angie makes a good point. Neither of us is out of shape per se, but we’ve talked about this subject several times and seem to agree that there’s no escaping the inferiority complex that is brought on by the ‘underlying competition’ element inherent to most gyms. If you could somehow transform the space into a place where gym goers help each other use machines or share nutritional secrets, those things might change the vibe and bring more members in.

  3. I hear what you’re both saying. I’ve worked at 8 clubs in SD and been a member of a few others during my lifetime and each one has had a different vibe to it. Some areas, like PB and Hillcrest definitely had more of a “meat market” or competitive feel to them. Rancho Bernardo and Santee, however, are both more family oriented and friendly.

    I think it also depends on your level of comfort with both your own body and your knowledge of the gym equipment. I used to feel like people were watching me and judging me upon what I was doing, my form, how much weight I was lifting. As I spent more and more time in the gym I eventually got over it and now just do my own thing. Does it really matter what some random guy or girl at the gym thinks of you? In my opinion, you should be at the gym for yourself, to reach your goals, and not for anyone else.

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