THE POWER OF CONNECTION – UNITES US ALL, ESPECIALLY IN COVID-19 TIMES
BY MO HAGAN, CANFITPRO COO
In a time of unprecedented change, the only thing that one can do is pivot — this applies to individuals and businesses. I realize this is a term that has been used and most likely overused throughout the last nine months, however, its definition means more than you might imagine. Pivot can mean the one central thing that something depends on.
For canfitpro that one central thing is our purpose and our willingness to connect people with each other and a common purpose. Knowing why we exist and feeling empowered to serve our purpose (inspire healthy living through fitness education) has been our lifeline during this crazy COVID-19 year.
Knowing why you exist and understanding your purpose or responsibility gives you a reason to wake up every day and do what is necessary to push through obstacles and break through glass ceilings so as to discover new ways to exist and thrive. When the lockdown became canfitpro’s new reality in March 2020, we had to pivot and change course swiftly. The result was that within weeks we were able to offer members the opportunity to connect and participate in continuing education opportunities in a whole new way.
This incredibly challenging time reminds me that:
- You must exercise a positive mindset in every situation – anything is possible when you focus on the possible more than the impossible (limitations).
- To move forward through adversity, you must align yourself with positive advisors, coaches, leaders and people you trust and who are willing to pivot when change is the only way forward.
- You must surround yourself with those who will lift you up on those days you feel like you are falling down.
- Your faith must be greater than your fear.
- The power of connection is a strong force that will serve you well when you believe and value it.
Putting business needs aside for a moment, we believed then as we do today, that fitness professionals need to feel a sense of connection with each other and their profession. Committed to a mission to support the legions of fitness professionals who work hard every day to help people achieve their goals, we felt it was our responsibility to move our entire business online.
Within six weeks canfitpro launched its inaugural ‘Virtual Series’ to replace all of the live events we had planned for 2020. As an industry dominated by highly social, people-oriented people, motivated by innovation and change, we trusted this would grant us the opportunity to take the biggest risk of all –move our canfitpro 2020 conference and tradeshow online. We realized that we possessed the power to bring people together and while we really did not know exactly how we were to accomplish this, we leveraged the strength of our associates, technology and the trust of our members.
Our results exceeded our expectations. Registration surpassed canfitpro’s goals by over 100 percent! We received feedback that the canfitpro 2020 Virtual Series became a professional lifeline for many of our members and was described by many of our attendees as the “best part of their year”. It gave them something to look forward to month over month from August through November 2020.
2,500 delegates from fifteen countries, including Canada, participated and the Zoom chat boxes lit up with their commentary and support not only for the presenters, but also for each other. It was heart-warming to see delegates connecting with and supporting each other.
My friend Sarah from Scotland summarizes her experience at the Virtual Series as follows: “Although things have been pretty awful these past six months, these events have allowed me like others to stop and reset. Having this event to look forward gives me that buzz again to get on with things.”
As someone who is both behind the scenes and in front of the camera at canfitpro’s Virtual Series I can honestly say that while this year has been the most challenging year of my 38-year career in the fitness industry, it has on many levels, been the most rewarding with so many silver linings to appreciate, learn and grow from. I have been reminded that anything is possible when you commit yourself fully to the possibility. Giving people hope of what is possible gives them permission to believe in both themselves and the vison of their business and their world, and get on with things.
Photo credit: Dawn Bowman Photography