BRIGHT SPOTS FRIDAY: Start with empathy and compassion


If you are not Facebook friends with KP, you missed her post yesterday. Do yourself a favor…Friend her today and take a few minutes to read. It was a brave thing to write as well as an inspiring thing to read. And it struck a personal chord by reminding me of this…

We are not in the Fitness business, we are in the Help business.

There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” For me at Nevermore, that starts with empathy. I’ve come to realize that helping someone lose weight, or gain strength, or improve mindset does not begin with a program. The starting line is getting to know them, trying to understand what makes them tick, digging down to the root cause of poor eating habits or lack of strength or absence of confidence. Empathy is not sympathy. Empathy occurs when you are truly trying to understand or experience someone else’s emotions, as if they were your own. Sympathy is simply saying what is expected, or as David Sedaris wrote, “If you’re looking for sympathy you’ll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.”

My challenge to you guys this week is share a story of help. Give us your Bright Spot as always, but maybe also include an instance when you helped someone, or when someone reached out to you, or when something you witnessed left an impression.

Angie helped me a couple of years ago at the gym. It was a comical incident but one that changed the way I try to behave every day. Some of you MAY remember a guy Stephen refers to as “Coppermine Kevin”. He was a guy who would get REALLY frustrated when members at the gym “just didn’t have any common sense.” During one particularly grueling WOD I kept returning from my run to find a set of rings set up in MY pull-up station (can you image?!). So I did the natural thing…I lost my temper and began to pull the rings, straps and all, off the rig. When the guy next to me told me they were still using them, I decided to emphatically remove the second strap (forgetting that the last piece to come flying over the pull-up bar would be the metal buckle). When it cracked me in the head just above my eye it left a reminder that empathy was not in the forefront of my brain, but rather a neat trickle of blood.

On the way home, still incredulous at the BALLS of this guy to use my pull-up station, Angie had a little heart-to-heart with Coppermine Kevin. “You can act like that if you want, but you won’t have members for long if you do. And is that really the person you want to be?” A little tough love went a long way. After that guy quit (can you imagine?!), I ran into him about a year later and we had a good chat. The first thing I did was make fun of myself for being such a jackass. I’m happy to report that this chap is once again a member of our community. So thank you, Angie for putting yourself in my shoes and not liking who you saw 

If you’ve been around for a while perhaps you remember that guy a little. If you’re somewhat new hopefully you’ve never met him. The point is…there are many ways you can help someone else. Start with empathy and compassion.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

What’s your Bright Spot?