Validate the Difference

We all have an awareness of our own uniqueness and difference. We might feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied in an environment where it is not recognized and encouraged. Being welcomed into a group where the difference in validated and encouraged by people who are also different, but like ourselves, is a relief and even exciting.

Douglas Atkin, The Culting of Brands

In the United States alone, there are over 200 million people without a gym membership. Of the 50(ish) million folks who do pay membership fees somewhere - at an average cost of less than $50 per month - most don’t show up with any kind of regularity.

All to say that just walking through your doors for the first time makes somebody statistically special, and saying yes to what you have to offer puts them in rarified air.

Then showing up three, four, five times a week?

They’re basically aliens from a different planet, your members.

Celebrate this fact.

Celebrate the time they put toward their own wellness. Celebrate their willingness to put their money where their mouth is. Celebrate that they’re among the rare few who are eager to stand before a heavy barbell & see if they can move it.

It’s easy to feel like what you’re offering has obvious value, to feel like the folks who don’t see it are just uneducated or lazy. But that’s a backward way of looking at it.

The truth is, what you’re selling, it’s only for the aliens, the weirdos, the slightly-off.

The muggles - basically every adult everywhere - are going to Planet Fitness or playing video games or doing juice cleanses or jogging or sleeping in.

The tiny percentage of people showing up in your gym are signaling how unwilling they are to accept the status quo. They are signaling - to the world & to themselves - that they are not like everybody else.

You want to celebrate this as early, as often, & in every way possible.

It starts with remembering just how special they are in the first place.

Patrick Cummings