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November 28, 2018

Finding Your Way Through Conflicting Values as a Leader

by Michael Hughes

One of the hardest things as an entrepreneur is to let go of control and pass the baton to an employee. I remember when I was the only coach of the Gymnazo program, and the first time I added Trevor Smith to the coaching schedule. Nervous excitement. A bit of vulnerability. Hoping it was the right call. Trusting it was. I remember someone wise saying that if you think you’re the best one for the job, you will never be able to grow. I wanted to grow, so I knew I had to do the uncomfortable and let go. 

I also grew up, observing my grandfather, an owner of a successful plumbing company in Salinas, telling me that if you want the job done right, you do it yourself. The pride in mastery was clear in his work. It was respected by his employees. His standards were the highest of anyone in the industry and his work was quality. I’m naturally a perfectionist and this mindset also appeals to me. 

So how do you reconcile two conflicting beliefs as a leader? 

To me, it’s the beauty of being human. 

Each day, we are given the opportunity to grow, to learn something new, to try to do something hard. We evolve, and we take a new shape. We try on new ideas, build a new practice in order to turn it into a habit, and we tackle internal conflict through the process. 

I can say I still believe in both lessons. I want to be the guru on my team and demand the highest quality across the board. As I grow from that, I want to give others on my team the same opportunity to stretch and grow. Growth can be awkward. It can be painful. But it is transformative. 

For me, I’ve found that I personally get energized and inspired by learning and education. I also find that ensuring the education of my team allows me to let go more easily. It may not be the quickest way to grow, but I deeply believe in it. 

I’m happy to say that as an organization, we invest in learning. Not just for me, but for the whole team. 2018 was a big year of skill building for us. We invested a lot of time and money into new training, education and empowerment of our team. We have done everything from flying out a Women’s Health Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist from Chicago to train the whole team on female biomechanics, to sending Mercedes to the Ritz Carlton customer service training, to my education on nutrition and soft tissue massage. 

Sometimes I doubt whether locals care if our team is the highest educated coaches on the Central Coast. I recently ran the numbers and to date, we’ve invested over $100k into our team’s formal education and knowledge. It’s humbling to see competitors offering the same membership prices for seemingly less quality. But ultimately, I come back to this: Learning is inspiring for me and my team. It keeps us growing. It keeps us humble. It brings us closer to the quality we seek. And so we are committed to growing our skills. 

In 2019, we are sending Kaleena and Mitch to do the GIFT fellowship of Applied Functional Science, which is an intensive 10 month mentorship. They will join physical therapists and movement professionals and will skyrocket their ability to problem solve pain and strategize on how to improve each unique person’s function. In 2019, they will step into Semi-Private and one-on-one training environments, as senior coaches. We will double our ability as a team, to help people restore comfort and confidence in their lives. I couldn’t be more thrilled and proud. 

Coming out of Thanksgiving week, I am truly blessed and thankful for what Gymnazo is today. I’m thankful that I am still somewhat of a guru, on the team. I am thankful to have opportunities to guide and steer this passionate team. I am also thankful to have so many rock stars to trust with services and members that I deeply care about. I am thankful for the trust that our members place in us to allow change and continue to keep me informed about how we are doing. 

To all of you who write reviews, take our surveys, or pass along emails or feedback to me personally, thank you. I can truly say that your insight and perspective have been guideposts for me in the last eight years and will continue to be.

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