Many of you may have thought from time to time “What does “I am because we are” even mean?” Let’s chat about its origin, history, what it means, and how it pertains to us.
From the very start, I wanted to separate WHO and WHAT set JR CrossFit apart from other CrossFit gyms. I never wanted us to be better; I wanted us to be different.
Before we were JRCF, and this was all just a dream, I needed to define our mission, vision, and values clearly. I wanted our foundation to be on a set of principles that no one else had. I never wanted to be an owner that used the cliche answer “Our community makes us different.” Sounds great. But, HOW?
I knew from the beginning that the lion would be our logo (a story for another day) but what TRULY was our essence? Our mantra?
“I am because we are” originates from the word Ubuntu. Ubuntu is an ancient and beautiful concept. It can be translated as human kindness, but its meaning is much deeper than that. It embodies the idea of connection, community, and mutual caring for all.
Its a traditional African philosophy recognizing the shared essence within humanity and life. Unbutu embraces the idea that humans cannot exist in isolation. We depend on connection, community, and caring . To put it simply, we cannot be without each other. This philosophy requires a conscious shift in how we think about ourselves and others, especially at a time when our nation is more divided than ever.
So where did the word derive from? Ubuntu’s powerful meaning comes with a dark history. It was adopted in South Africa, a place still recovering from a long period of political, economic, and cultural turmoil that left highly divided and unequal social systems. Ubuntu developed as a way to overcome these tensions plaguing society.
As individuals, we are equipped with particular talents and strengths. Though it’s natural for us to want to use these for our self-progression and success, if we use these qualities to better our community, we reap both personal and societal benefits. We do not have to sacrifice personal triumph for the community’s success, but we must strike a balance between the two.
To ask everyone to practice Ubuntu seems like an unrealistic feat. But we can start by asking ourselves this, “What if what you want to be will only come about when you ensure that others get to be that as well? And what if all of humanity was on your team, working toward your good? Individual acts of kindness and generosity of spirit change the world. Kindness is magical, contagious. A fundamental, wonderful truth about all people is that through our choices and actions, we can and do make the world a better place. Even the smallest kindness has the power to resonate through this sometimes difficult and troubled world.
Ubuntu is what JR CrossFit stands for. This is what our community embodies. This is what we believe in down to the depths of our souls. From an owner standpoint, I can have a nice facility, top of the line equipment, but it means absolutely nothing if I don’t have EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU!
Our members and coaches are everything to me, and I hope in return everybody else means something to each of you! So go out today and start this week with small acts of kindness.