I worked for major corporations for a decade… insurance actually. Insurance is a tricky world — lots of rules and regulations; then you pile on corporate policies, and well… I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t entirely miserable…but I wasn’t thriving. So, in 2010 I started a side business — a hula hoop fitness company called Happy Hoops (www.happyhoops.us) and recently became Sr. Vice President of FXP Fitness (www.fxpfitness.com). Through 5 years of hula hooping, I’ve learned remarkable things about people, myself, life and business:
1) Show Up
More than half of the students I encounter proclaim they cannot hula hoop. I always want to ask, “If that’s the case, why did you show up?” The answer doesn’t matter. What’s important is that they did show up. You can’t learn, can’t push yourself, and can’t discover your abilities unless you show up.
And when I say show up, I mean mentally just as much as I mean physically.The world has a lot to offer and you can do a lot more than you think. If you are present. None of it’s possible if you’re just going through the motions.
2) Never Give Up On Yourself — OR Others
Thousands of women (and 4 men) have come to Happy Hoops classes to learn to hula hoop. Despite their self-proclaimed inability to hoop, we (myself and a team of incredible instructors) have successfully taught EVERY SINGLE ONE of them to hoop. There have been tears on occasion, but there is always that moment when “it clicks.” That smile, that light in their eyes, that pride of accomplishment — that’s what it’s all about. When the teacher sticks with the student, and the student sticks with the teacher, great things happen.
It’s easy to throw in the towel when things are hard. No one wants to feel like a failure. BUT — on the other side of that embarrassment, frustration, and fear is a great reward. A magical thing happens when a leader believes in the employee — the employee starts to believe they are capable. That’s when the real fun begins: through that self- belief, your team can achieve what previously seemed impossible.
Be a cheerleader and find a cheerleader — don’t forget it goes both ways.
3) Have Fun
Let’s face it — not everyone likes going to the gym. In fact, I’d say most people don’t. Hula hooping though? It’s fun! The irony is, you can burn as many or more calories hula hooping as you would running or some other traditional fitness activity. The difference is, when you’re having fun (i.e. hula hooping) you forget about how much work is being done (sweat).
The cubicle jungle of your office may not be the most exciting, but finding ways to infuse fun into every task is the key to getting it done and making difficult tasks easier to accomplish, and — dare I say it — you might just start looking forward to your day. Turns out Snow White had that “whistle while you work” thing down!
4) Pay Attention to Your Body
Students come to class with a wide variety of aches, pains, illnesses, and injuries. The Happy Hoops and FXP Fitness philosophy is never to just push through it. We are gentle on ourselves. We encourage our students to listen to what their body says is “ok” and what is not.
I’m not saying we should ditch work every time we feel a little sniffle; but, it is much more effective to tackle the really hard projects when our energy is at its best. Save the little, mundane daily tasks for those times when you can’t seem to focus. It will save you a lot of frustration and help you avoid making mistakes.
5) Connect With The People Around You
The students having the most fun in hoop class are the ones that make a point of getting to know the others hoopers. It regularly happens that students become friends outside of class. When that happens — they look forward to class each week, are more likely to come back, and have a lot more fun.
OK, that doesn’t mean you need to invite the Finance Director out for drinks, or your customers over for Thanksgiving Dinner. But, going out of your way to learn the names of your coworkers/customers, where they are from, their hobbies and interests, etc. will change the way you approach your customers (side note: coworkers are customers too) and how they approach you. I’d even go so far as to encourage customers to get to knoweach other (pot lucks, department events, etc.). This is a great retention strategy, as you are making connections happen.
Extra Credit: Genuinely care about people instead of going through the motions of asking “how their mom is.”
I encourage you to take just one of these lessons, apply it, and don’t give up before you see results. And, I promise — you will.
Written By Kristin Benton. 11/13/14