I came across this very inspirational letter and thought to myself, “everyone needs to read it, act upon it, and true change will occur in all of our lives!” It is from a CrossFitter from New jersey. Enjoy!
The Circle of Influence
by Patrick Cummings
“You know, your grandmother’s been doing CrossFit in her basement.”
Maybe it’s only a rumor, an exaggeration at best. But as the potatoes are getting mashed and the pumpkin pies are batting their eyelashes at me from the countertop, as my family mills about the kitchen waiting for the official start of our Thanksgiving festivities, my mother whispers to me and I can’t help but believe it.
“She’s not telling anybody, but she’s doing it.”
My grandmother is almost eighty years old, but don’t tell her that. She’s a former nurse, mother to nine children, and wife to one stubborn and amazing old man. Together, they are the picture of what retirement should be—travel, family, continued intellectual curiosity and the occasional glass of good scotch. They are the reason I’m not scared of getting older.
Give us the one thing we can do to turn this all around. One thing, and we’ll all do it and it’ll set us heading back in the right direction.
So when my mother tells me that my grandmother is doing CrossFit in the basement, she unwittingly jars me from my newfound CrossFit malaise.
It’s been a week of reading blog posts and endless pages of repetitive comments. Days of conversations with no real conclusions. Hours spent trying to determine how I felt about the whole mess, with no result other than disappointment pointed in no general direction.
But now it’s as if my mother’s taken me by the shoulders and shaken me back to reality.
I think about my aunt in Virginia emailing me a few days earlier to tell me her “Fran” time. I think about doing “Daniel” at CrossFit Cape Cod alongside two aunts and a cousin, my uncle across the gym on the C2, pulling himself toward a new 2K PR. I think about teaching my twenty-nine year old sister how to do pullups with a band and my four year-old cousin showing me what a burpee was.
Later, after the turkey has been cleared from the table and I’ve finally given in to the pumpkin pie, I sit across from my grandfather. We’re talking about why the world seems so imperfect these days and I ask him a simple question. I ask, “If someone comes to you tomorrow and says, ‘Give us the one thing we can do to turn this all around. One thing, and we’ll all do it and it’ll set us heading back in the right direction.’ What’s that one thing?”
He thinks about it for a few seconds, leans back and smiles. He says he has no idea, which, if you know my Grandfather, is a rare occurrence.
He says change isn’t so simple, that it doesn’t work like that. He says the best we can hope for is to positively affect those people within our own circle of influence. Do right by the people closest to you, and they will do right by those closest to them.
I make a quick mental list: one grandmother, one mother, two sisters, three aunts, one uncle, three cousins and three college friends. I claim no credit but being lucky enough to have been introduced to CrossFit two years ago by a good friend. I was within his circle of influence and they are within mine. The two women my aunt has recruited to workout with her in the basement are within hers.
They don’t care about the drama. They don’t care about the ramifications or the politics. They care only about feeling better and living fuller lives.
And that’s what I’m back to thinking about now. Because my grandmother might be CrossFitting in her basement.
Who can you influence? Moms, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts and Uncles. What about cousins? Friends? College roommates? Co-Workers? Some of you are already on the right path to creating change in the lives of the ones around you. To you, I say, “keep up the change!” To the others, I ask you, “who can you influence?” It starts with those closest to you and will spread like a virus if you allow it to. 🙂 What a satisfaction it is to know that you were able to help someone for the better! To do good to those around you! Man, I get excited when I think about the unlimited possibilities of great change that can occur when we help those closest to us! To everyone, I say, ” Get out there and encourage those around you!”