When’s the last time you did something utterly life-altering? Made a decision that, maybe not at first, but over time brought about alterations that reverberated through your life and the lives of those around you in the most shocking ways? That’s what November Project has done for me and can do for you…
It’s 2:47am and I can’t sleep. 2:47am on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. The year is 2013 and tomorrow is another crazy day that will feel half over before we even hit 8am. When I first had the crazy idea of leading a November Project tribe, the guidebook failed to mention the inability to sleep. Call it nerves. Call it excitement. It was a little of both but slowly and surely, November Project DC was becoming a thing.
Since our very first official workout, there have been more than 700 mornings where November Project DC has met (if my calculations are correct). If you’ve been to any of those 700+, you’ll know a little bit about what I’m talking about below…
A Brief History.
November Project started as a simple way for two dudes in Boston to stay fit. If you don’t know the rest of the story, you should probably check out the book or watch the short film. When it started to become more than that, it was about building a community that held you accountable, promoted fitness, and was open access. Today, it’s that and so much more.
6 people. That’s how many showed up to our first workout (not including myself).
Since then, we’ve hit 500 people at a workout twice. Numbers are great but November Project is about quality, not quantity. The experiences I’ve had led to gains and losses over the last five years. Here are some examples of what you can gain and lose by deciding to #JustShowUp to November Project DC:
- Fitness: Let’s start with the obvious. This is a #FreeFitness movement. Our workouts are some of the hardest you’ll encounter but somehow are scalable to EVERY fitness level. Don’t believe me? Just show up. But keep reading because it’s so much more.
- Confidence: The key is owning who YOU are and being confident in who YOU are. Countless workouts and interactions with hundreds of people has taught me to be comfortable with who I am, whether you laugh at my dad jokes or not. Don’t believe me? Just show up.
- Friends: People at November Project are some of the most reliable you will ever meet. No, you won’t be best friends with all 500 people tomorrow. But maybe one of those people will become a close friend. A boyfriend/girlfriend. A husband/wife. These people will drop everything to help you, support you, or just go have a beer with you. I’ve made long-lasting friendships with people in DC and across the world. Don’t believe me? Just show up.
- Home: The classic line from Cheers (“where everybody knows your name”) is a great example of how one feels at November Project. Showing up for the first time is scary. Always. But as soon as someone introduces themselves and smiles at you, maybe you even have a laugh together, a high five, and a hoistie, it starts to feel a little more like home. November Project has succeeded in making DC home. It gives you a sense of belonging, an instant community that has lots of #3 (see above). Don’t believe me? Forget it. At this point you should have stopped reading and set your alarm for the next workout.
- Nothing. This shit is only positive. Go back and read about the gains.
- But really, the only things I can think of are losing the ability to take stairs one at a time, the timidity associated with joining a new community, the ability to take a normal photo, and…well that’s it.
The November Project movement is here to stay and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to play a small part in letting the animal out of the cage. On our National Park Service permit, we state that our purpose is to “establish an all-inclusive community of like-minded individuals that aim to make our city a better place and get fit for free”. It’s my hope that this has been the case since day one. To each and every person that has shown up to a workout, a weekend event, a cheer station, YOU are what makes this movement tick. So THANK YOU. Your willingness to laugh at our bad jokes and try out new workouts and push yourselves to the physical, social, mental limits and jump out of your comfort zone. THAT is what makes November Project what it is. In some crazy scientifically provable way, the positive energy and smiles and pure joy start to permeate the rest of your life. Continue to show up. Continue to make November Project yours, whether you show up for the fitness, the friends, the community, whatever the reason, don’t stop. Whether today was your first day or your 500th day. AND, if you’re reading this and you’re still just thinking about showing up, just do it already. You won’t regret it. This crazy train we’re on will keep chugging long after me.
Last but NOT least, I need to thank a few special people. First and foremost, to my girlfriend, then fiance, and now wife that heard EVERY alarm and thought I was some fitness weirdo when we first met, THANK YOU. Your support and love helped me through seemingly insurmountable obstacles. For those that know her (funnier and better looking than me) you should all know that without her, this would not have been possible. To Danny Metcalf, my co-founder, thanks for dreaming with me and helping make DC what it is today. To Kaelan Denali Dickinson, thank you for your incredible leadership, for harnessing Steve Full’s ideas, and for making me a better person and leader. To Jake and Maria, thank you for your unconditional dedication to this movement and your passion for NP and the DC community (and for an unforgettable sendoff).
It’s been an honor, a pleasure, and an incredibly positive, life-changing experience. Thank you.
DJSCRISTO signing off.
ALWAYS SPREAD WILD LOVEShare via socials: