On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and flown into The Pentagon. All 64 passengers–including six hijackers–were killed. Another 125 people in the building were killed with them. The victims’ bodies are memorialized at the Pentagon Memorial, and they live on in the hearts and minds of a nation.
But one of them left something more.
The victims of the Pentagon attack were taken to Dover Air Force Base. This is where all CIA operatives (spies) are brought before burial. Astronauts from the space shuttle Columbia, victims of the bombing of the USS Cole–they’re prepared for their final rest by the morticians at Dover.
While performing autopsies on the passengers of Flight 77, one of the morticians found the ultimate “message in a bottle”: a short note, hurriedly written, in the stomach of a passenger.
The passenger wrote a note and ate it. Stomach acids protected the note while the plane burned.
What was on the note? That’s confidential. What’s important is that the message was received.
The passenger wasn’t sure whether they’d live or die. But they wrote the note anyway, and ate it, on the very slim chance it would be discovered.
Let’s turn to your business.
It’s no secret that not every gym survives.
I’ve seen the numbers. There are over 14,000 CrossFit gyms in the world now–but there have been more. The open-source model of entrepreneurship is a massive opportunity. But it’s also a challenge: everyone kinda has to figure it out as they go. Programs like the Incubator didn’t exist until the last few years, and some of the first affiliates simply didn’t make it. Some of those in the tidal wave of growth from 2012-2014 decided not to continue at the end of their first leases.
ALL of those box owners tried hard. The survivors didn’t outwork the rest. No one opens a CrossFit gym with evil intent, or believing they won’t have to work hard. So what’s the difference? Their WHAT was the same. Their WHY was probably pretty awesome. Only their HOW separated them. In other words, knowledge was the differentiating factor.
What if those owners had sent US a message in a bottle? What would it say?
What if you were sending your OWN message in a bottle–to the next thousand box owners, or to yourself in the future?
What would you write?
Let’s say you had thirty seconds, a used napkin and room for twelve words or less.
What would you write then?
Write it to me.
Hit “reply” with your message. Type it in, and hit “send”.
I’ll publish them (anonymously) next week.
And if, five years–or five months, or five minutes–from now, you need to hear your words again, ask me for it. I’ll keep them all.
Brad Meltzer uncovered the story, and gave more details in his fictional book, The Escape Artist.