There have been literally thousands of adaptations of Charles Dicken’s timeless classic, A Christmas Carol.  From ensemble, Broadway caliber casts to the Muppets, Ebenezer Scrooge’s holiday ghost story has been covered by just about everyone.  For the purposes of this blog post, I go not to the immortal words of Dickens himself, but rather to those spoken by Bill Murray in the 1988 Christmas classic, Scrooged:

“I know what I'm talking about. You have to to do something. You have to take a chance.  You do have to get involved. There are people that are having trouble making their miracle happen. There are people that don't have enough to eat. There are people that are cold. You can go out and say hello to these people. You can take an old blanket out of the closet and say, "Here." You can make them a sandwich and say, "Oh by the way, here."  I get it now.   And if you give, then it can happen.  Then the miracle can happen to you. And it can happen tonight for all of you. If you believe in this spirit thing, the miracle will happen, and then you'll want it to happen again tomorrow.”

I’m of the humble opinion that just about anything Bill Murray says is gospel, but this particular passage gets me teary eyed when I watch it with my wife every December.  We talk all the time about the holidays being the time of giving, but I’ve wondered recently how often I actually act on it. It’s simple enough to toss a buck or two in the Salvation Army bucket outside of Shoprite, but how often am I following through with a meaningful gift that costs me something; time, effort, or money?  

At The Abs Company, we make it a top priority each and every month to give back to someone in the community who needs it.  Unless you’ve been cooped up at the North Pole, it should be no surprise to you that in 2020 most companies might’ve given this priority a second thought.  I think any of my colleagues would be proud to share with you that we only doubled down on this effort, as our leaders shared the steadfast opinion that people need help now more than ever.  I’m not telling you this to gloat or to suggest you change the way you do things.  But I can tell you that the experience of giving brings our team together more than just about anything. 

In November, we were fortunate enough to donate new fitness equipment to a home for disadvantaged young men.  It sounds simple; a few beautiful pieces of fitness equipment for the facility’s weight room. But in truth, it’s a whole lot more than that to us.  What kid who wasn’t afforded the same advantages I had growing up will find a new escape—a new avenue for stress relief and personal growth in the BattleRope ST we provided for him?  What young man at that facility might witness that spirit of giving and carry it with him this holiday season?  Might he share that light with someone else?

Do you need to break the bank to make the miracle happen? No! Sometimes its as simple as sharing your time or expertise with someone who dearly needs it.  Maybe there’s someone at your gym making a real effort to kickstart their fitness journey but who might be struggling.  Would five or ten minutes with a personal trainer help to boost their confidence or inspire them to continue? There is nothing sadder than someone quitting five minutes before their miracle comes. Be that miracle!  Give someone the gift of your knowledge in hopes that they might share one of their gifts with someone else.

Of course, the opportunity to give back might not present itself to you as boldly as Scrooge’s ghosts.  It’s important that we look for these chances to share the gift of health and fitness in places we might not usually find them.  At The Abs Company, our leadership keeps an open channel of communication for suggestions, requests, and ideas as to who we might be able to help. Ask your team to share any ideas for who you might take care of this holiday season and I guarantee you it’ll help to bring your team closer together in the spirit of giving back.  Miracles are out there.  Keep your eye out and your ear to the ground and you just might change someone’s life forever.

Perhaps what resonates with me most about Dickens’ story is the overwhelming and emotional conclusion that Scrooge gets his second chance, even at a ripe old age.  It’s my mission—and The Ab Company’s mission—to never need that second chance.  I’m as guilty as anyone of occasionally losing the ‘giving spirit’ after the Christmas tree comes down and the lights and decorations are stashed back in their dusty corner of the basement.  After such a momentous and at times difficult year, I’m committed to carrying that spirit with me forever.  Where can we give? What miracles can I help to make happen?  I can’t wait to find out.