By Alan Shaw, Co-Founder and Head Coach of Rhapsody Fitness in Charleston, SC

Introducing Box Building. Follow Rhapsody Fitness Co-Founders Alan Shaw and Trinity Wheeler as they continue to build one of the fastest growing gyms in South Carolina. Answer the hard questions, explore various approaches, dive into strategy and share lessons learned that go far beyond fitness to be universal across entrepreneurship and startups.

I’m sitting in a CPR certification course, and the instructor asks the group, “What do you do first in a medical emergency?”. Hands go up followed by best guesses…see if the person is breathing…check for a pulse…try to get a response…all wrong.

The correct answer? Point to an able person and direct them to call for help.

As humans, it’s critical for us to know our role – whether it be as a leader or team member – so we understand expectations and can act accordingly in the context of different situations. 

Business is no exception. The first rule, especially as an owner, is to define and own your role. 

When Trinity and I founded Rhapsody Fitness, we established our roles well before opening our doors. He was the producer and I was the star of the show. To take this structure from Broadway shows and apply it to our gym in Charleston, Trinity worked behind the curtain to establish systems, operations and brand development; whereas I owned the stage, setting the standard for coaching, directing member care and managing our team.

5 Fundamental Truths

We still own these same spaces today, and I have a growing respect for these hard lines with each passing day. Here are five fundamental truths I’ve learned when it comes to defining and owning your role:

  1. Know where you shine and where you stick. No time for shame or doubt here. Those sticking points need to be your priority for delegating or outsourcing as soon as possible. 
  2. Business cannot run by committee. Even among partners, the final word must come from one mouth. Own that the buck stops with you, or clearly designate the final say to someone else. 
  3. You will need help. Avoid the trap of hustling for worthiness or thinking it’s a badge of honor to do it all yourself. Whether through mentorship, collaborations or growing your team, you will be better and your business will be more successful with support. 
  4. Time is your most valuable asset. Learn this lesson quickly and adapt accordingly.
  5. Discomfort is not failure. Not acting on prolonged discomfort will be. 

You’ve likely picked up that I’m big on designating and delegating what falls outside your role early and often. I say this appreciating that, especially in the early days, you are counting every dollar in and out, which begs the question of knowing when you’re at the cusp of needing to make a move. 

My recommendation is to hone in on the uncomfortable. Discomfort for a day or two is manageable, but discomfort for a week or two is a tell that it’s time to boss up and call for back up. 

Follow Box Building on Rhapsody News or visit Rhapsody Fitness online to learn more.