Sometimes in life we think we are good, maybe even great, in a specific area. And then something happens that makes us realise there’s more work to be done before we are indeed truly great. This happened to me recently.

All of us turn up to our first modules with plenty of areas we want to develop, but we also have one or two strengths (what were these for you?)

In my first module I definitely had a massive list of “work ons” but I did feel that my strength was around creating connection within my classes.

I’ve always been good with people. I was the paperboy who got twice as many Christmas gifts as anyone else because I knew all of my clients and did my best to make them smile during my neighborhood rounds.

My people skills have flowed into my instructing: I’m always early to my class, interacting with the participants; I aim to use all of my connection skills during my class; and after my classes I’m at the door saying goodbye and praising people as they leave.

Recently, when my local BODYATTACK™ Instructor team got together for an education session, we discussed, ‘How do we build our class numbers?”’ One of the answers we came up was to see our job as community builders. As we explored this further and dug deep into what this actually means, I realised that I have never looked at my role in this light. I suddenly came to the realization that I’m a good connector, but the connection is with me – I haven’t been a community builder. This was a huge eye-opener for me.

This realization has created a massive shift in how I see my role within my classes, and ever since I’ve become obsessed with how to become a community builder.

Here are some examples of how this shift in focus and perspective has changed how I take my classes:

  • In my pre-class interaction it’s no longer just about me connecting with individuals; I’m trying to get people engaging and talking to each other. I’m looking to create conversations within a group and doing this in a light-hearted and fun way.
  • When I’m teaching I’m no longer just saying people’s names when I praise them. Now, when I praise someone I say their name to the whole group but I also try and get the group to work with me. For example: “Working hard, Miles! Somebody give that man a high five”.
  • I now try and include lots of high fives and fun connection points between the participants during the workout, with the aim of creating lots of small connection moments.
  • We have even started our own private BODYATTACK Facebook group so the members can interact with each other and it seems to be a great success.

It’s early days, but I’m already seeing the value in the work my team and I are doing. After last Thursday’s class, one of our participants came up to me and suggested we have a “BODYATTACK social night out together”. I can 100 percent guarantee that this would never have happened had I not had my own realization around community building. With the work that we are doing as a team, we are already heading in the right direction.

If you think about your classes, how well are you doing at building your community?

A sense of belonging is a fundamental human need, and one of the biggest benefits of belonging is that we experience greater commitment. If we believe that the work we do can really change lives, we need to create an environment where our members feel they belong; community building is one of the most powerful ways of doing this.

As Instructors we are all different, and have different strengths and weaknesses. Therefore I’m not going to give you a list of things you should do to build your community. Instead, I just want you to have a think about what “connection” means to you. I want you to look at it through a different lens, a lens that includes the role of a community builder, and with this new perspective explore how you can build your community – and then take practical steps to make it happen.

In the future, I can see myself turning up to a class to find everyone interacting with each other, not just looking at their phones, but having real human connections and conversations because they are a part of our BODYATTACK community. This is exciting, because not only are we promoting health through movement, we’re also promoting it through healthy human interactions in an environment where people belong.

Just imagine the impact we can have on the world if we all create the same thing.