The hardest part of running a health and fitness club is not what you might think. It’s not keeping it clean, or staying current with fitness education and trends. It’s not keeping the members happy or helping people achieve their goals. The hardest part is when we lose our members or they lose someone they care about.
I don’t mean lose like they are leaving the club for the summer or taking a break. I mean lose them to sickness like cancer or an accident or to any other of life’s tragic events. When you work in a fitness club you become close with your members in a way that does not feel like they are just another acquaintance. When we join someone in their personal path to become better in any way we are entangled with their success and failures, ups and downs. We connect with them on a level that may not play out in Friday night drinks or dinners but we truly care about them.
Over the past year we have lost some beloved members to cancer or other devastating illnesses. We watch our friends fight down to their last months and others are still fighting. We are a small part of their story but the relationships are real and it is very hard to lose them.
It’s also very hard to see our members lose people they care about, a spouse, friend or a family member. After so many years together we often have a glimpse of the importance of certain people in their lives and we know how devastating the loss will be.
If there is any silver lining to the hardest part of our job is that it reminds us that we are all people and we all have battles in our personal lives. It helps keep front and center why we do what we do. It also helps remind us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that this community really means something in life. Feeling the loss of or with our members is the hardest part of the job. We will make sure to take that loss and turn it into meaning and a purpose to make the most of each day and time with everyone as long as we can.