WHAT I ’M THANKFUL FOR
To me, there’s nothing like late fall in Ohio. The weather is crisp, the leaves are colorful, the Buckeyes take on Michigan, and of course, I get to celebrate my second-favorite holiday with my family. To this day, my mom still hosts Thanksgiving at her house, having my brother and me over every year. At 72 years old, she still lays down the law in the kitchen, which is probably for the best. My brother and I are many things, but chefs are not among them. My mom’s cooking is definitely a factor in why I love the holiday so much. Whether it’s paired with mashed potatoes and gravy or stacked into a sandwich the following day, her Thanksgiving turkey never fails to impress. More than the food, however, spending time with my family and taking the time to really focus on the bright side of our lives is what makes the holiday so special to me. You see, at the end of the day, Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that is purely about gratitude. Rather than focusing our gratitude on a particular nation, movement, or religious event, the fourth Thursday in November honors simple, everyday thankfulness. As an entrepreneur, I’d argue that this kind of open-ended gratitude is important to celebrate. This is something I’m sure any box owner can relate to. When you run a small business, it’s rare that you can afford to think about anything but the future. How are you going to grow? What needs changing in your retail operation? Where are you going to find replacement coaches? When should you invest in new equipment? To run a business effectively means being in a near-constant state of anxiety, pushing yourself and your team to the next milestone. But focusing on the road ahead can make you feel like you never get anywhere, no matter how fast you’re actually moving. Finding time to pause and look back on the path you took and the people who helped get you where you are today is vital to keeping yourself grounded. That’s why no matter how busy I am, I’ll always take off work on Thanksgiving. It’s the one moment I really allow myself to pause and take a look back on how far our company has come.
This year, as I pause to reflect on the strides O2 has made, I’m struck by both how far we’ve progressed and what we’ve gotten away from. We introduced new flavors, ironed out our branding, and got to know many great affiliates and their stories. But as we’ve grown, we’ve found it harder to maintain the personal connections that were at the root of O2’s original success. Back in the day, I used to take it upon myself to call every new Affiliate owner who decided they wanted O2 in their box. It was important to me that I got to chat with these owners, not only to thank them for believing in our product but to get to know the people I was now in a partnership with and had a responsibility to. Making these phone calls, I discovered a deeper connection with so many of these incredible people. Like me, they had the gumption and drive to strike out on their own as business owners. Many pulled long hours, coaching on the side just to make ends meet while they chased their dreams. Thinking back to these moments of shared connection, I can’t help but feel incredibly lucky to have grown O2 within the CrossFit community. Within this culture of support, commitment, and drive, our company found its identity. With the love and patience of countless members, coaches, owners, and fellow fitness brands, we were able to flourish to our full potential. Having said that, what I’m about to say may still sound a bit corny. But rest assured that this year at the Thanksgiving table, I’ll be raising a toast to our fans and the wider CrossFit community. O2 would not be the brand it is without you.
–Dave Colina Founder, O2
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