When you walk into a System of Strength gym in Columbus, Ohio, you’ll see phrases such as “Keep Moving” and “Find A Way” displayed everywhere.
The cinder block, exposed lighting and mirror-covered walls create a hip, industrial environment for those looking to sweat. Hip-hop music blares throughout the studio as those committed to the System compete against themselves in boot camp-style classes. The room is full, and there’s an energy steeped in positivity, passion and perseverance.
But the room wasn’t always packed like this. In fact, in the early days of its existence, founder Gretchen Dusseau began with groups of five or six in a smaller space that felt more like a garage than a vibe-y studio. There were plenty of moments in those early days when it could have been easier (and surely justifiable) to listen to other voices, to self-doubt and to just give up. But, “Keep Moving” was at SOS’s core.
Now, only a handful of years later, Gretchen and her partner in business, Keri Croft, have inspired a loyal following that has led to jam-packed sessions, two locations (and positioned to grow) and a new virtual online workout platform for those traveling or in other parts of the country.
Their message, “Find A Way,” resonates with their tribe at a time and in a culture when it is easy to give up and just jump to the next shiny object. Their message to “Keep Moving” is not about perpetuating busyness (you know how I feel about that) but is deeply rooted in the spirit of taking the next step along your own personal journey. Be willing to challenge yourself. Act. Close the gap between what you know you want to do and what you actually will do.
I’ve been fortunate to experience their classes and see this spirit in action, as well as serve their leadership team with guidance and support related to their vision and culture.
The successful temperature they are setting is a direct result of their ability to articulate their message and bring their story to life with intentional action. The proactive actions of their entire team are bringing people together, motivating them—and growing a loyal culture along the way.
They continue to keep moving daily with small, intentional actions and goals.
The takeaway: Once you can clearly articulate your values as a team and are all looking in the same direction, there is a compelling opportunity to tie those values to action.
Jason V. Barger is a globally celebrated keynote speaker, leadership coach and author of Thermostat Cultures, Step Back from the Baggage Claim and ReMember. He is founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, a Columbus-based company that works with businesses and organizations worldwide. Connect via email at jason@JasonVBarger.com or on social media at @JasonVBarger.
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