“If you really care about a client, you have to care about the people around them. And if you care about the people around them, you have to care about their environment.”
A local chiropractor was presenting at our coaches meeting at Catalyst, my gym. He was a big outdoors guy, but he wasn’t talking about ecology or recycling. He was talking about changing our town.
His plan was to build bike trails everywhere—and he did. My plan is to change the fitness of 10 percent of our population—7,000 people—before I retire. I can’t coach everyone, but 7,000 people will impact 21,000 more—and that’s enough to change my town of 65,000.
Below, I’ll tell you how I’m doing it (and how you can do it, too). Steal any of these ideas!
The Catalyst Mission
My gym’s mission: change the health of 7,000 people in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
We worked hard in 2019 to get really clear on our mission, our vision and our values. We do our best work with 150 high-value clients. When we do our best work, those clients influence at least three others they care about. Over 30 years, we will change the health and life value of 7,000 local people—10 percent of the population.
We use our platform to deliver high-quality expertise. This includes our own expert coaches and other local experts. When we identify another local expert who can help our clients live healthier, happier lives, we’re eager to invite the person into our community to share. These experts come from health, fitness and nutrition—but also the fields of therapy and finance.
Free Facebook Group
Catalyst runs a free community health and fitness Facebook group. Our goal in the group is to guide the right people to our service and help everyone else for free. Not everyone can afford the high-value service that we provide yet. But we can deliver all the knowledge necessary to others until they can afford it.
Give Leverageable Gifts
The lockdowns in our city revealed opportunities to help. I called the offices of mental-health agencies and foster-care organizations and asked, “What do kids need?”
They said, “Bikes.” So I used my bike connection to get 50 of them into the hands of local kids.
Another agency said, “Frontline workers are exhausted.” And when a friend’s cafe ran into trouble, I saw an opportunity.
The key? It wasn’t money in either case. Money greased the wheels. But the connections made the gifts possible. You have lots of connections. That’s your value to the community.
Serve Where You Can
The COVID lockdowns of 2020 made politicians of us all. Knowing that posting on Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t change anything, I started looking for places to volunteer without running for office.
I found a posting for a board position on the local Economic Development Committee. I applied, and now every month I talk with city leaders about creating economic opportunities in our city.
Call the Media
People need help. The media is looking for stories right now—especially advice that will help people. And you have the advice they need.
Email with an offer to provide “at-home fitness tips” or advice on “how to manage stress.” Stay away from the “how to lose 10 lb. before beach season” stuff and they’ll probably call you for an interview.
You’re not extending this care simply because you want the attention. But because true care is so rare, attention often follows your gifts. The larger your gifts, the more attention you usually get. You don’t have to chase attention; it will find you if you’re generous to your town.
The Greatest Gift You Can Give
The best gift you can give your town isn’t rock-bottom prices. It’s to be a 30-year beacon of fitness, health and hope. A 20 percent discount is a shortsighted play. Staying around—and becoming profitable enough to give back—is the real play if you want to change the world.