TJ's Gym Weekly News 07/13/2018


Coach Mika's last stand at TJ's Gym. Short shorts for everyone!

Message from TJ:

"The Challenge Coin"

Per Wikipedia: A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion, bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and carried by the organization’s members. Traditionally, they are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. In addition, they are also collected by service members. In practice, challenge coins are normally presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit. They are also exchanged in recognition of visits to an organization.

For those of you who don't know, Coach Mika is leaving us for Navy training in the next week. This has been his dream for years--since he was three, according to his mom--and he has been training like crazy to earn his chance.

Mika joined the gym a few years ago with a solid background in all things fitness, an accomplished MMA competitor who had been through Navy training once before. He was training at the gym in order to be ready for his next chance.

A few years ago, when we had a shortage of coaches, Mika knocked on my door and said he'd love to help.  Simple as that. He just wanted to help. I threw him to the wolves—first into classes, where he found his footing on the slippery slope of Marin attitudes and opinions, which often differed from his own. Then into personal training, where he immediately made himself indispensable to his clients. Finally into programming, where he flourished, by listening to his athletes and responding, rather than trying to re-create the wheel for them. He never hesitated to ask exactly what he should do. He is probably the best communicator I have ever worked with. He has never been embarrassed to put himself out there and share his vulnerabilities. He has stayed true to himself while representing TJ's Gyms as well as anyone who has ever coached for us. He has raised the bar as far as what we expect from our coaches, and in turn, he has raised my own bar for how to be a better leader. He's been a great asset to our community, for all sorts of reasons.

An employee’s job is to make the work of the boss easier. Mika not only did that in spades, but, more importantly, he helped to make my life better. For that I will forever be grateful.

Last week, I was approached by one of our members who wishes to remain anonymous, because of his involvement in the Secret Service. This person had a request—he handed me a coin and asked that I give it to Mika before he ships out.

This brief interaction had a massive impact on me, after I researched the significance of the challenge coin. In some small way, I was part of a special, time-honored tradition. I was delivering a message of respect between people who have chosen to risk their lives for the sake of the freedom of others.

We have these brief moments of opportunity in our community to dig a little deeper with those around us--maybe during a warmup, or in between sets, or outside the gyms. We can learn a lot, and I would argue that there aren't all that many places in the world where these types of exchanges are encouraged. What I have come to realize is that most people are generally good people and want to help others in some way. Most people want to connect.

The more open you are to this philosophy, the more you will experience memorable moments and positivity that will stay with you for a lifetime. We will miss you, Mika. Safe travels...