strengthening your community: a weekend at the rhone pursuit house
The Pursuit House mission is simple: create a powerful community of men, and set a space for them to access vulnerability, openness and deeper connection.
The weekend in Red Hook offered a beautiful balance between activities and downtime. For fitness professionals and hustlers in the New York scene, downtime and relaxation are hard to come by. We spent time sitting by the beautiful pool overlooking the incredible landscape, playing pool in the house, and passing around a football. We also did some action-packed activities, including paintball, a tasting experience at a local distillery, workouts, hiking, mindfulness practices, and fireside chats.
We were able to experience some of the taste and culture of Red Hook with two phenomenal dinners. The first was with a private chef at the house who curated a magnificent meal with all local products. The second night was hosted at a beautiful local restaurant in a private dining space. The final evening together was a special one. The dinner was a celebration of each other, our accomplishments, and the men that we are. Each guy took the opportunity to acknowledge the others in the room, and as a result, a great bond and respect were created between each member of the Pursuit House that night.
Before arriving at the house I was already friendly with a few of the guys, but I could have never imagined the depth of connection that would be created in such a short time. By the end, we were hugging each other, dropping “I love you”, and referring to each other as brothers. It really is hard to believe that could happen over one weekend. Since departing, I have watched this group stay tightly connected. There is so much love and support for each guy, and the connections continue to grow deeper.
As I reminisce, I question how Rhone offered us this amazing gift and requested nothing in return. It was simply an experience offered as just that, a gift. They didn't ask for social media posts. They didn't ask for us to do any work for them. They didn't ask us to go tell everybody about it. They simply just invited us to have an amazing experience and left it at that. I believe the only way to truly give is to offer without expectation of return. Unfortunately, I find it rare that people (or businesses) authentically give with no expectation. This was a wonderful example of authentic giving.
In the 10 years I have been a fitness professional, I have experienced a strong stigma around male fit pros. We search for comfort and strength in ego-driven facades. Who's the best trainer? Who has the most clients? Who has the most followers? Who's the strongest? The focus around these topics made it difficult for men to show any sign of vulnerability or openness. It would put them at risk of being seen as weak by colleagues and friends. I have always believed that a fitness community built on support, kindness, acceptance, and openness would be significantly more powerful than one built on fear, bullying, intimidation, shaming, and competition. I wanted to get people to focus on lifting others up rather than trying to beat them down, because when we work together, we go farther. That's what the Pursuit House stood for: connecting men in on a deeper level than the surface interactions of, "Hey, what's up, bro? How are you? How’s work?"
I have been blessed with remarkable male influences throughout my life; men who celebrated openness, vulnerability, and connection with other men. Pursuit House was the first time that some of these guys experienced a safe space to connect with other men at a deeper level. Amazingly, this experience has translated into real life here in New York City. Since returning back to the Concrete Jungle, our Pursuit family has been so connected, loving, and supportive of each other. We attend each other's events. We connect outside of the workplace. We check in with each other multiple times a week. We support each other from afar and in person. Nate and his team have enrolled this group of men into Rhone’s vision of what the fitness community can be, and we have all become advocates.
As we hiked together on our last day in Red Hook, I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. We had one last activity to finish out the weekend. I had been given the opportunity to curate a mindfulness practice and experience for the guys during the hike. I challenged them all to be open to trying something new and uncomfortable, and they all jumped headfirst. Watching this group of men fully immerse themselves in this experience was humbling, to say the least. It was a powerful and beautiful experience to be a part of. It was an opportunity for each of us to lean on each other, no longer hiding behind a wall of toughness and suppressed emotions.
I look forward to continuing the mission of enrollment going forward. I commit to creating a lasting community with Rhone. A community where men learn to grow with, and for each other rather than thriving on competition. The Pursuit weekend reminded me that we always go further together. This industry is becoming one of the most powerful industries in the world. The fitness space is built upon connection, community, and support, yet most guys in the space are scared to be vulnerable. Deep connection cannot be created without vulnerability. The more supportive the professionals are of each other, the better the client-experience will be when working with instructors and trainers.
I can't express how grateful I am for Rhone, the 11 guys that I experienced this with, and the shift that is happening in the fitness industry. I look forward to being in service to this community. To Rhone, I say thank you and I love you. Cheers to many more Pursuit Houses.
To follow along on Nick's pursuits, follow him on Instagram: @nickpagsfit