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CrossFit. Landowner. Land Management.

Four Landowner Lessons CrossFit has Taught Me

forestry landownership longterm management Jul 12, 2023

Have you ever heard of CrossFit? I'm sure you have... and you've heard about "drinking the Koolaide!" and perhaps even joked about the "cult-like" atmosphere for the fitness community. 

But I have been a CrossFitter for a few years. And the honest truth why my husband and I started was because we moved to our town after college and he was looking for an outlet to get fit and I simply wanted to figure out how to make friends now that I didn't have classes that forced a group of people to talk with one another! And that was the beginning, back in 2014. I went to the same box consistently for nearly 4 years before finally taking a hiatus for about 4 years to grow our family, and have recently returned about a year ago (2022). Even having done and been a part of the community for YEARS, returning after such a long break was like starting over. And I was returning as a different person essentially from when I first started back in 2014... 7 years of marriage later, plus three kids, starting a business... a lot about ME has changed, and a lot of it has actually made my time a lot tighter to be able to fit going back to the gym in. So you could say, that returning has been challenging, but I continue to show up day after day.... at least for three days a week!

And over this past year I have gained many lessons on life and landownership, and I'm going to share 4 of them with you today! 

First things first… it always comes down to whyyyyy.

You have to have a SOLID WHY when you’re doing Crossfit. When I started back in 2014 it was because I wanted to make friends and join a community of folks in an area I didn't know. And the reason that kept me going forward was that social outlet! Coming back now in 2023 I've had to really question what’s the purpose.

Because if you’re just going in because you think you want to get healthy, it’s going to blow you over, knock you down and make you want to quit … actually it does that to me anyways... but what is it that makes me follow through with the work and CONTINUE to show back up day after day this time around?  For me, it’s to be strong enough, fit enough, healthy enough… to keep up with my growing kids. And this is the perfect way I can ensure that I better myself to do that.

Now when it comes to landownership and management, you've heard me preach over and over again you need a solid WHY factor. It's all fun in games on the black and white paper, in that distant part of your mind... until it comes time to do the work. And trust me, landownership too will blow over you, knock you down and make you want to quit at times! I mean there’s taxes and natural disasters and complaining negative neighbors... there’s the constant management work that needs to be done…

It can be very easy to walk away from it all if you don’t have a strong and solid WHY purpose to your land.

Second thing: Sometimes it's sprint, but it’s always the long game that matters.

Single workouts will get you to sweat and can make you stronger; sometimes you have a short time workout that is supposed to make your heart race; sometimes it’s a solid hour, slow and steady. But all in all, it’s the ENTIRE picture that matters and how I get fitter, stronger, AND healthier. Single workouts help certain parts of my strength and movement, but it’s the entire week, month, and years which helps me reach my purpose and goals: to keep up with my growing kids.

In land management, there are times when you have to make very instant and decisive decisions. Perhaps you had a wildfire or some beetle infestations which will have to be salvage cut immediately, there's no waiting about for stumpage markets to improve in these instances. Sometimes you have a year or two going from timber harvesting to planting back to back… but it’s the long game that matters most.

Landownership and management isn't one and done, wipe the hands clean. You must be doing consistent work in the woods, keeping your management moving one practice at a time. You need to keep your sights on the ultimate purpose, your why factor, to help you keep moving during the intense and overwhelming times AND slow periods, to help you reach your goals; to keep the forest the healthiest and most productive and sustainable forest it can be.

Three: It can be expensive.

When you compare CrossFit to buying some home equipment or just joining Planet Fitness, it seems insane to pay membership price on a monthly basis. But the expense does provide a few benefits: access to trainers and resources I wouldn’t have otherwise AND that financial kick in the butt to actually show up!  I mean… I’m letting that type of money slide without some type of result!

I don't think anyone is doubting that landownership is expensive too. You have annual taxes which everyone complains about, and honestly any management practice, can definitely be perceived as relatively expensive when you have the opposite side saying “nature is nature for free you know…” But the expense also provides the underlying motivation to get your money’s worth; to make sure that you’re not blowing money to the wind and give you a kick in the butt to be sure you're working towards the results you desire. Of course those results will vary greatly based on your why and objectives, but ultimately... investing into your land to create and manage a more productive forest typically yields not only a more profitable forest but also a healthier and more sustainable forest which allows us to keep trees in trees. So yes, it’s expensive, but there’s an upside to having financial investment motivation to get you to do the work.

Lastly, You can’t compare your results to others.

In the gym… it is SO EASY for me to start comparing to others: to compare how much faster they are, how much more weight they can handle, how many more reps they're completing... But in that moment I forget that there are a lot of underlying variables I'm not looking at: how long and how consistent they have been working out to get to their particular fitness level; what is THEIR purpose of being there, their goals are very likely different than mine, because hey... I'm just trying to keep up with my five, four and two year old without running out of breath or throwing my back out. And of course, they may simply be built differently for different strengths than I am. The comparison game can be hard… but it’s then I work to remember that it's important to keep my sights on me... track my OWN improvements over TIME to meet MY goals.

It’s also very easy to compare our land, our land management, our timber quality to others. But just like in the gym, we often negate and ignore the variables such as their location to markets, their active management participation AND capabilities, their soil types and timber types, and THEIR goals for the land.

Even when we have similar whys and objectives, similar goals we’re striving for, I warn you: do not compare what the Jones’ have and are managing to what you are doing right now. Now, I’m not saying don’t take advantage of peer’s advice that you could implement on your land, but rather that mindset of discontentment we tend to get when we do start the comparison game... It starts as thoughts as " I wish we had as good as volume as _____" to "their land is so much prettier” or “they've got so much better habitat” and I could go on. When the reality we're ignoring is they may have been actively managing for years, taking steps to get those results for perhaps twice as long as you have been managing for! Or perhaps they have had an advantage to have had more financial ability to invest in certain practices to speed up their desired results, especially aesthetically.

Take advice from those whose management you admire, take notes on what they do well or even lessons they learned the hard way, but do not compare your capabilities to theirs or create negative perceptions that "they are better". Keep your eyes on you, your land and your goals… then track your results OVER time.

That’s it!  Four quick lessons CrossFit has taught me and consistently reminds me about life and landownership that I hope you have found insightful too. 


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