Shared Struggle Brings People Together

Tough Mudder race

Tough Mudder Staying healthy through exercise is not the easiest of tasks as it takes time, dedication, and discipline. Here at the Motley Fool, we’ve created a new culture of wellness with the focal point being exercise. As the Wellness Fool, I try to encourage a well-rounded strategy for personal wellness, but exercise and fitness remain at the heart of my intensions. However, the common thread through all fitness-related activity is collaboration. Although I do personal training with the individual Fool occasionally, our weekly schedule revolves around group exercise activities from our flagship Foolish Fitness classes (boot-camp style classes), to our Yoga classes, Zumba classes, and our twice-weekly open gym runs where we enjoy basketball, floor hockey, soccer, and volleyball.

Getting healthy is the primary goal, but a powerful secondary benefit comes from the collaboration amongst Fools from all over the company.  I’ve led over 350 of our Foolish Fitness classes now, and we have Fools from our tech department, helping Fools from our marketing team, pushing Fools from editorial – all for the collective gain of the individuals, and company as a whole. Although we are not a large company, there is a chance that some of these Fools might never have said more than a friendly, “Hi” in the hallways if not for these activities. You get to know someone’s real character when they’re sweaty, tired, and pushed to their physical/mental limits. And to come out together, smiling, and pumped-up through a common struggle brings us closer together.

So recently, a group of 12 Fools got together and started training for the Tough Mudder, a 12-mile obstacle course challenge, where you are pushed to your breaking point in order to complete the challenge. Now I call this event a challenge and not a race because you are not timed and are encouraged to simply finish the course. We all came away with cramps, cuts, and bruises, but yours truly ended up splitting my temple open at mile 1. We trained so hard for this, and I wasn’t going to quit on my teammates. On the other hand, I felt bad for delaying my fellow Fools while waiting for the medic to arrive, so I encouraged them to go on without me and I’d try to catch up. Once again, we trained so hard for this that they weren’t going anywhere without me, and we finished the challenge together.

The old cliché remains true that if exercise was easy, everybody would be doing it. The reality is, staying healthy and active is not easy and is downright uncomfortable at times. However, if you are going through a common, shared struggle together, the journey seems less daunting, and everyone is better off for it.