What does it mean to Love?

This might seem a right angle post to what I usually talk about on this blog, but bear with me…it actually has much to do with you, your business and CrossFit.

Love means helping. Helping to make someone or something you are a part of better.  Helping people and organizations to reach their highest potential.

Love means constructive criticism.  Carefully pointing out weaknesses in order that work may be done to strengthen those weaknesses.

Love means willingness to look objectively at people and things.  Not turning a blind eye to the ugly spots, but instead looking for ways to make the ugly spots beautiful.

In these circumstances Love is challenging. It is not easy to look at weaknesses and speak about them.  It is uncomfortable to truly assess the points where you are falling down.

Finally, love is telling someone they have spinach in their teeth when they are in the middle of a group of people. 

Fear is in not helping.  Fear is not open to constructive criticism. Fear is unwillingness to look at things objectively. Fear is hiding weaknesses to avoid addressing them. Fear turns your head to avoid looking at the spinach.

The Black Box Summit was born entirely of LOVE. 

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19 Responses to What does it mean to Love?

  1. Coach Rut says:

    I felt like this was the most constructive CrossFit event I have ever been associated with. There was a wealth of experience and information. I felt like all of the presenters didn’t just deliver information but made themselves available to all the participants answering specific business and program related questions. It was both a pleasure and an honor to have been part of this event.

  2. Tara says:

    I have to disclose that I detest “rah, rah” feedback just for the sake of commenting. Actually, this is the first time I have commented any where ever. Just my slightly grumpy nature coming to the fore I guess. BUT, these past three days …. mind-blowing. Although new to CrossFit and the business of CrossFit, I have been in the education/convention/seminar game for over 15 years and this one event did more for our business and me personally than any other event I have every run or attended. The presenter’s sincere willingness to share their successes and failures and talk to us like we are adults was priceless. There was not one presentation that said this is the way you should or have to do it. There was no right or wrong. Just a bunch of seriously smart, insightful individuals telling us how they became successful on their own terms and trusting us to get our sh*t together and figure it out. So, all that to say …. thank you Nicki for letting me grill you during lunch, thank you Robb for changing me and my family’s nutritional life and thank you to every single one of the presenters who created an environment of love, sharing and positive experiences. CrossFit has given me me so much, and now this Summit has taken it to the next level.

  3. Aimee says:

    I Love all the people who have helped me grow and who I can now join up with to help other people grow. The knowledge and experience presented to these affiliates is irreplaceable, in my opinion.
    From an attendee, which I think sums it up: “it was the most empowering CrossFit experience I have had by far. Had to be done and needed for the growth of the sport. Very powerful group”

  4. Greg Everett says:

    This weekend reminded me of the first CF certs I attended and coached at back in the olden days – Quality information, passionate people, and limitless ambition. I received several comments from attendees in the same vein as Aimee’s quote.

    I love CrossFit, I love the community, and I love the people I have been able to interact with because of it.

  5. CJ Martin says:

    Beautiful post Nicki! It was crystal clear to everyone who attended the Black Box Summit that each of the presenters was selfless in their desire to assist and improve the CrossFit community. Not all of the presenters agreed on best practices, but they all agreed that a free flow of information that participants could choose from was the best practice. It was an amazing three days.

  6. jolie says:

    i love nicki.

    I love you too Jolie!

  7. Xi Xia says:

    Hey Nicki,

    We wish we could have made this! A wedding not to be missed just so happened to be on last week.

    Question for you, and maybe for a future blog article: What are your thoughts on the open class model vs. the closed class model? Closed being what CrossFit Central runs – at least that’s what I understand from Jeremy T. journal article and his website. Open being a member can come to any class on the schedule.

    At first, I was reluctant about the closed class model. But I’m starting to see some real positives about it. It’s like a constant running On Ramp with all of the perks of that. A constant community, growing relationships, very efficient control of class size. I am especially curious about the community. When I started, there were like 15 members and every class I saw teh same people. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was like a On Ramp experience in a weird sort of a way. As the gym grew, that started to change. At some point, there are so many members that you more classes of strangers it seems…

    This is something we are discussing actively as our gym size has grown, classes are fuller, and things are generally changing!

    Thanks for sharing any thoughts you may have!


    Hi Xi Xia!
    Central uses the closed class model and it works great for them. We have alot of folks who do shift work with rotating schedules (fire/nurses, etc) and locking folks into set times is not something I can really wrap my mind around at this point. Essentially, if a person misses a day they lose that class and can’t make it up. Versus, an open class model where someone can’t come Wednesday for whatever reason and they come Thursday instead. The model works for sure, evidenced by Central. Why don’t you try it at just one time slot? See if you can get 10 people locked into a MWF 9am for instance, and see how it goes? Then report back please :)
    Happy Turkey day!

  8. Björn says:

    Wow, well put, I ALWAYS tell my girlfriend if she got spinach between her teeth. It is usually reicived well 😉

  9. Trish says:

    Nicki –
    Great post! I truly appreciate your contributions and dedication to making the community better. Your insight and keen business sense is an invaluable gift. Thanks for everything you do.

  10. Thank you so much for all that you have contributed to this community. It because of people like you and Robb and the rest of the presenters from this weekend that David and I are involved in this community. Were excited to see how things will evolve from here and hope help create a ‘loving’ community that is commited to excellence.
    Thanks again and it was great to finally meet you!

  11. scott says:

    Well said Nicki… thank you for all you both do and for your willingness to help make others better.

    I hope this kind of passion can be more contagious!

  12. parker craig says:

    You are a class act Nicki.

  13. Q says:

    Nicki, I didn’t have the privilege of attending the BBS, but I can only assume it was an incredible experience.

    With you, Robb, Greg, Aimee, OPT, Dutch, Coach Rut, Thiel and Kepler… well, it’s hard to imagine a better line-up of brilliant minds and devoted souls.

    You and Robb (and those mentioned above) have been and will continue to be a source of inspiration for me, my clients, and everyone in this community. Thanks for all that you do.

  14. Web Smith says:

    Hey Nicki,

    I completely agree and I believe that all of this stuff will play out, just fine. Hopefully. We used one of your recipes for thanksgiving. Everything turned out great (See http://www.crossfitchron.com) …we didn’t get to chat much at the BBS but even so, you and Robb please keep in touch. I could actually use y’alls help with this initiative that I hope to start.

    Web Smith

  15. Kassandra says:

    Greg, your articles about CrossFit of late don’t say much about Love. Read em again…

    Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    Your stock went down in many of the CrossFit circles I travel, not because of your critique of certain aspects of CrossFit, but because of the WAY that you critique CrossFit.

    Grow up, Greg–be a man. Your jokes ring flat in your articles, outside of the relatively few that “know” you, comparative to the masses that don’t.

    Tough Love, from a tough chick that’s been CrossFitting for awhile, little boy.

  16. BK says:

    The single most amazing weekend of my life. Elite coaches ,quality information,super friendly, all looking to improve a great product.Very well put Nikki!

  17. Dave says:

    Dear Kassandra:

    Please note that this is NICKI VIOLETTI’S blog, not some guy named Greg’s.

    While I note that many people think the internet is a free for all, there is no excuse for rudeness. Greg wrote:

    “This weekend reminded me of the first CF certs I attended and coached at back in the olden days – Quality information, passionate people, and limitless ambition. I received several comments from attendees in the same vein as Aimee’s quote.

    I love CrossFit, I love the community, and I love the people I have been able to interact with because of it.”

    What is there about that quote that brought up any articles he may have written? What part of his post discussed his personal reputation, (stock) within CrossFit? What part of his post referenced his sense of humor?

    If you attended the weekend seminar, and disagreed with Greg’s views as to how powerful and positive the event was, then it would be “relevant and reasonable” to critique his views and impressions. If he were posting some critical piece, disparaging someone, then your attempted character assassination of him would at least be considered “fair comment”. But when someone posts their wholly positive impressions of an event THEY attended and you did not, then your efforts to attack them, (and not their message), makes you underhanded and a Troll. Not the ugly fairy creature, but the internet version. (I don’t want Kass to claim I called her ugly). =)

    Before you make other assumptions, I met Greg once many years ago. I have never read his articles and don’t know his sense of humor. However, none of those issues is relevant to what he posted here, and your efforts to slander him only make you look the fool.

  18. Christina says:

    WOW, I like this approach. I know this was geared towards to black box summit, but I really appreciate how you and Robb come to the gym to give “love”. I was talking to Matt tonight about the gym, some of my concerns and the my goals. I brought up the fact that you, Robb and Andy are very attentive to everyone when you guys are at the gym. No Doubt! You want PERFECT form! You love what you do, you believe in what you teach, it really shows, and as a client, it keeps me motivated to push myself harder because you expect nothing less. It makes me feel good knowing that the objective critisism is there to keep me injury free and to safely reach my goals. You are there for me; not just to make an easy buck. Even when you’re there to workout, you have your attentive on what’s going on around you. So when I have those days when I feel like the forgotten shy girl, it really makes my day (or night) when out of the blue, you tell me where I did good and what I can improve on. That to me is “love” and something to be “respected”. I sometimes wish you three did a guest appearance in some of the Elements classes. Until then, I will see you Mondays for O-lifting!

  19. Christina says:

    P.S. – I hope you tell me if I have, spinach in my teeth, garlic breath or if I’m stringing toilet paper out of the bathroom. ^_^ LOL.

    LOL! For sure :)

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