We have Mycal Anders. We've been friends for a long time. We've hung out quite a bit. We met at a rush club years ago and connected, and we've stayed in contact over the years.
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20 Years In The Fitness Industry
Mike: We have Mycal Anders. We've been friends for a long time. We've hung out quite a bit. We met at a rush club years ago and connected, and we've stayed in contact over the years and you've done, I think one or two of my events. And we've had some interesting times, again, we've gotten deep, super deep together.
You're also the owner of a CrossFit PHX, and you do a lot of training around leadership. So, and also you're in the Marine Corps and there's just, yeah, there's a lot. What else should we know about you right now?
Mycal: This year I celebrated 20 years in the fitness industry, took my first apprenticeship when I was 16 years old and my local Gold's Gym. I could bypass a gym membership and throughout my athletic career, in my military career my journey in entrepreneurship it's been one continuous education and not only business, but more importantly, in my opinion, the school of leadership and what that really means.
And to that end, as I've explored the tenants of what it is to be successful, happy, and fulfilled a huge component of that is being a servant leader and having a piece of your charter somewhere in there giving back and paying it forward as best you c when those opportunities present themselves, that you're not seeking them intentionally.
And it's been a hell of a ride, man. And I've just been extremely fortunate along that path to meet and connect with individuals such as yourself who have a very similar mission. And I'm blessed and honored to share some space with you today, man.
Mike: Thank you. And we're going to be talking about leadership today. I think you have experienced it. I've experienced it and the last few months, we're going to cover things. I'm going to cover COVID, how things change for the whole world, and what that meant for leadership in that during that time, which we're still in with the death of George Floyd and a lot of civil rights type of conversations coming up there. The thing is civil rights conversation was coming up before this, regarding things that were happening with COVID.
There was already some stuff going on there that we can address. And thenalso as there was a huge response in the last couple of weeks around involving black lives matter andalso a lot of other stuff going on, there's a lot of moving pieces and it which caused a lot of confusion worldwide. And yeah, I want to discuss all that in regard to how leaders deal with this, how we deal with that and what, what maybe like, I can even talk about what led to decisions to do and not do things.
And then no way that we I reached out to you because I wanted you on the show. And then right afterwards, there is the CrossFit implosion with Greg Glassman. we're going to dig into that because being a CrossFit box owner, there's something there's something to be discussed there. let's start at the beginning.
The Conversation About Race
Mike: What's most present for you right now? As far as man what is occupying your mind space right now?
Mycal: The conversation around race is top of the list has down matter of fact, where to start, I'll start with a story. my father was black, man. My mother's white and my dad grew up in the movement, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, civil rights, black Panthers, the whole thing, right?
He was very much an activist, the Vietnam veteran for, for the bet to watch this show. He's a Mustang. He enlisted to get college paid for by uncle Sam, put himself through law school, became a judge advocate general and then moved into private practice, come over after he retired. my roots are found in entrepreneurship as well as the military.
I come by that part of my storyline, very honestly. And my dad passed in 2007, but I can remember when I was a kid, when the Rodney King LA riots started his whole message to his four black sons was don't give the police an excuse to interrupt your life. And in the unfortunate circumstance that your life is interrupted, right?
You need to do whatever it takes for you to make it home. And by no means, was he endorsing tolerance of any kind when it comes to police brutality or anything like that. But now that I am a dad it re those words really ring true. If from this, from the standpoint that I've got skin in the game if, if I put myself in a situation where the potential for police brutality to take place, who's going to raise my kids, right.
We've seen that in the black community for a really long time, especially when, if you look at the disproportionate population of African Americans in prison. And one of the things that plagues black America is the lack of fathers in the home and these things it's very prevalent in my mind right now what those words actually me but you've been, he's been gone for almost a decade.
And here we are in the wake of the George Floyd situation. And I reached out to two very influential men in my life who were my dad's best friend. And I just asked him, I was like what do you think my dad would be doing? And they said in two very separate conversations he would use his resources, his platform, and his position to ask tough questions, create the conversation and impart change as best he could within arm’s reach.
And I honestly think that's where this whole thing begins and ends. Nobody's going to get elected. No policy is going to be put in place, no law going to be imparted that is going to change this thing tomorrow. And to that end, I think the best place to start is to just create a safe space for the conversation to take place. I think that we've all experienced this conversation on some level with people whose opinion or feelings around it.
We already know. we saved the things, knowing the response that we're going to get. And then it kinda just goes nowhere. at, to the guidance that my two godfathers said about what my dad would be doing right now, we're, we're opening up the gym tonight for a town hall meeting where our members can come in a safe place and I diverse environment, and just have the conversation.
I have no idea where it's going to go. I don't have any intention of solving the problem this evening. All I'm looking for is for people to walk out of here tonight with a, a greater understanding of who we are, where we come from and where we're going. Andalso just a deeper appreciation for each other as human beings. And I feel like if we, if we do that and build that into our charter, somewhere along the way, like if this, this, this thing, this, this, this racism epidemic, whatever isn't going unfortunately, isn't going to be solved in our time, but this, this conversation is the foundation that my kids don't have to worry about it.
What Is The Right Thing To Do
Mike: A lot of I've been learning a lot in the last couple of weeks this all went down and I started interviewing people and listening and watching, and I'm following new people on Instagram. I wasn't following before. And it can be difficult cause I'm looking at it and I'm going okay. I because, and especially as we get older, it's like, I know how this works. I know how the world's working.
Like I got my own perspective, this and that. And I'm originally from the South Memphis, Tennessee. And I grew up in a very diverse crowd growing up and which was a really beautiful experience, but then move out to the West Coast. And it's almost like, I forget he’s just like, it's mostly white and I'm just kinda going about my life and I'm working and I'm doing all this stuff.
And then this comes up and I go, wow, this, I remember these conversations coming up amongst my black friends and then telling me, I don't understand. And for somebody who was grew up in that environment and then just like being told, I don't understand. And then just which caused for me a lot of just going, okay, fine. And then moving on. Cause if you tell somebody they don't understand, they like they're going to stop listening.
Like I can witness it with people in competition. You don't understand that it's automatically like, goes up, no excuse, but that's just something people could look out for when they're trying to communicate whatever's going on for them. But this is brought a whole new thing. And just watching all of this unfold. I, I spent the first week going, I don't know what to fucking do. I need to collect information.
I felt overwhelmed. It was I'm sitting there. I'm really fortunate that I was, I have the ability to sit and consume information. Most people have to work or they've got family and they got all this stuff. I don't have any like I have the ability to sit and try to grok something. I sat there and it was just, I felt this desire to do something. I was like, I gotta do something. And then, but then another part of me stepping in and go, but you don't know what to do.
And, and I'm really I've posted social media constantly, right? And it's like, fuck, what do I post here? It's actually going to be helpful because what I was witnessing was a lot of people posting and I'm going, it doesn't feel helpful. Like when I see that, like, I'm not sure that's actually improving or elevating the conversation. And it's just, and it was, and there was a lot of pressure. There's a lot of pressure coming in offer if you're not saying something, then you're wrong.
And, and it's like, okay. What's like what's the right thing to do here. where I got to that is just acknowledgement is like, just acknowledge like, Hey, this is new to me. This is, I also acknowledge it. This is, this is a perspective I've never seen before and I'm taking it in and, and, and black lives do matter. And I just, I don't know what else to do beyond that. And that's where I was a week ago. What was it, what was it like for you as this was unravelling and like, w did you any pressure from the outside, or did you feel pressure from the inside on this topic?
Mycal: I think we all felt pressure of some sort where I felt the most pressure that's. I don't even think that's accurate where I felt called to action. I guess that's a better way to put it is to be, to be a resource for anybody white or black to have the conversation. I feel like I'm fortunate enough to have lived a very multicultural existence.
Not only am I biracial black and white, but I've spent half my life overseas and just been exposed to legitimate diversity on every level. And I, I feel particularly open despite whatever biases I may have to just at the very least be a sounding board for people too, check in with themselves.
What I found through through quarantine is that you were very, everybody was very susceptible to confirmation bias and you're able to fall in love with whatever conscious and subconscious thought patterns and belief systems you have and with, with no threat of disconfirming information. a lot of the dialogue I've had with people is based around the context of this, this need for understanding and to which I immediately ask.
And it's a really hard question to answer, and I understand that, but I ask it intentionally when somebody says, well, I just, I just want to understand, I feel obligated to respond with what is it that you think you don't know? And that, that is not a judgemental question. It's a request for reflection. Like what, what is the, what is the blind spot? What is the awareness that you feel like you're lacking? What is, what is the, what is the thing that you've chosen to ignore?
That's also a very real possibility is that everybody's reality. No, but it's really opened the door to some very open and honest conversation. And I feel that has been extremely productive in that regard. I feel like a lot of people are stuck and in what to do they, they think that the problem is, is huge kind of like my vote doesn't count type shit.
And, but it does like the, what I like to call the, the Daisy chain of paying it forward and reciprocity. And if, if we just reach out and create an opportunity, or when they have the opportunity to present itself, to just lift another human being up, right. The potential for them to pay that forward that, that becomes a, a living thing.
And I know, based on my experience with you early on in, in the, the existence of CrossFit PHX has really kickstarted that, that mentality or taken it to another level for me. And this has become a vehicle for, for that, that change and to live and exist in that, the change that you want to see. And it's I feel like based on when me and whoever parted ways after that conversation, there was this like, like the weight was taken off their shoulders and okay.
I just each one teach one. If you make it, we all make it that, like, all of that is real right now. And people are now going out and really just trying to help one person as opposed to helping everybody, which is monumental. And it's like almost impossible without help. Right. like that, that's where a lot of the conversation has kind of rested once we unpacked biases and experiences and prejudices and stuff like that, that they may or may not have been aware of.
Leading with The Heart and Gut
Mike: I like what you said the very beginning, like you felt called to it, not to have there wasn't a pressure about it. It was more of you're called to it. And my experience was like receiving some external pressure from people like immediately getting DMS, what are you going to do about it? I'm like, I I'm just, I'm like, I'm, I'm just wrapping my fucking head around it. But, but then getting to a point where like, yeah, if you're, if you're, if you're acting out of pressure, especially external pressure, or because people are creating shame because you're not doing or saying the thing they want you to do, like, is that really helpful?
Like, I think a lot of people aren't behaving out of, I me are you, is that your experience? I me what you see is people like, like, if I don't do or say something, then people are gonna think I'm racist.
Mycal: Well, I feel a lot of people arguing for the same desired outcome, we want racism to die. Where the shit gets stirred up is in how we do it. We all agree on the same principle. We're all just getting lost in the sauce and the method by which we accomplish it. And like, I think that there's, there's merit to every argument I really do.
And I think that everybody needs to kind of just lead with their heart and their gut on this one. And then again, it's not a policy, it's not a political figure, it's us and, and go and go do that thing. And B and D that change. And then the rest of it just kind of snowballs, but to get lost in the, in the house and argue about it should we protest, you know? Yes, we should. should we donate?
Yes, we should. Should we vote? Yes, we should. We should all do all of those things, but do this, do the thing that feels right to you and don't shame other people for, again, trying to accomplish this, this magnificent goal their way. No, I just, I just felt like there, there there's much of that right now, because it's not the way that I would do it. It's bullshit. You're wrong. You're doing it inappropriately.
You're going about it the wrong way, you know? And then we did, it's that crabs in the bucket thing I'm trying, I'm I want I want to educate and elevate. no, no, no, no. That's not the way I would do it. Shut up. And we start dampening each other's voices when we're all, we're all saying.