Burpees and squats and lunges, oh my!
November will be nine years, yes nine (!), that I've been doing CrossFit. For those of you who've known me a while, this probably isn't news because I used to talk and write about it ALL. THE. TIME. In fact, the subject line of this newsletter is a meme that clearly makes fun of how much people who do CrossFit talk about doing CrossFit.
Like any new passion, the longer I do CrossFit the less I feel the need to talk about it. Or post pictures and videos, talk about my nutrition, my PR's etc. I even used to have a blog called, Master This, which was about my journey as a Master's Athlete (what CrossFit used to call people over 40).
What isn't talked about gets forgotten
Perhaps because I've dialed back on posting about my workouts (you're welcome), many people have been asking me if I still do it. And when I say yes they seem surprised, but also praise me for my commitment. (Narrator: "What Danielle's not saying is that it's for everyone's safety that she continues to throw around a barbell. She'd be very miserable otherwise, and so would all of you in her presence.")
It's interesting that if you don't keep talking about something, people assume that thing is no longer a part of your life.
They'll read it anyway
Have you ever noticed that when you're passionate about something, you just want to talk about it all the time? And even people who aren't as passionate about it will be interested because they see how happy it makes you? I follow all the Instagram accounts of people at my gym and you can always tell who's early in their CF journey because they're constantly posting about their progress.
I'm sure many of their followers are like, 'ugh, another one, I don't care about your snatch PR Paula.' But Paula doesn't give a crap about the haters because she's found something she loves, that motivates her and gives her something to be proud of. And while those people may "hate" on her posts, they still see them, read them and notice them. So they might not be Paula's ideal audience, but they're still engaging with her message.
Repetition is your friend
It turns out that when you write or talk or post about something for years, people remember. And frankly, it can take that long to resonate because we're all inundated with messages. So you actually have to be repetitive in order to be seen. Even now, I barely talk about my workouts, but people remember and THEY bring it up. Because I used to talk about CF so much and I loved it so much that they associated it with me. People I barely talk to will still email out of the blue and say they saw weightlifting on TV and thought of me. My passion was evident to them and even if they'll never pick up a barbell, they know it mattered to me.
Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind
I'm sure I lost audience back in those days, but I'm also sure you won't be surprised to learn that I didn't care. Because I was writing about what mattered to me and what I was passionate about. I was writing to those who felt the same because they were also all in. They were my ecosystem and my ideal customer, so to speak.
Even though I wasn't selling anything, the people who supported me, cheered me on, shared their own journeys and struggles, those were my people. I was writing for me, but also for them. And there were plenty of people on the periphery who weren't my ideal audience but still stuck around. Still read. Still engaged and still enjoyed what I had to say. Because something in the message resonated with them even if it wasn't for them.
Audience by passion (not proxy)
Back then I was certainly motivating myself and trying to motivate others. Most people post on social media as a way of sharing something they enjoy with others, but often it's also a way to hold themselves accountable for that habit or hobby or passion. But when that thing becomes so ingrained into who we are, we no longer need to go on about it incessantly because it's part of us, it doesn't define us. It's no longer all-consuming.
And yet, our audience will still associate us with it, which is kind of the point of consistency and messaging. They'll remember it's something we love even if we don't keep talking about it.
But, at the end of the day, if you love something, other people will love it. And those people will find you, just like you find them. So keep writing for you and your people will follow. And if you need help finding your passion or your voice...
Speaking of CrossFit
This past weekend my gym had an in-house competition. I'm not new to competing, and I've won some comps in my day, but this was really about having fun. My partner and I didn't even really know each other. And even though my back was acting up, we went out there and gave it our all. And well...
We made the podium. You're looking at Trouble Unders, the top women's intermediate team. My back paid the price (a story for another day) but at the ripe old age of almost 50, I'm still proud of my fitness and my ability to stick with something as long as I have. Even if I don't talk about it all that much...