By Craig Hysell

“It’s the repetition of affirmation that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” – Muhammad Ali

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con-vic-tion: /kon-vik-shen/ “A firmly held belief or opinion.”

This will take you 5 minutes to read.
And may take a lifetime to fully understand…

In 1995 I became the co-Captain of my college lacrosse team. As I think back on it, I would say that this is when my coaching career began. I was beginning to learn about what people needed to be successful on and off the field.

In 2001 I began playing rugby for the HHIRFC. The same club which we today sponsor as a facility. We had a great coach in Bob Weir, but relatively uncommitted leadership on the pitch. I was too new at rugby to be of much use at all. I basically filled a gap and hit people for my first four years of rugby until I started to figure the game out. Bob is no longer alive. But I ask myself, why was Bob a great coach?

I ask myself why was my lacrosse experience so different from my rugby experience? Rugby is the best team sport I ever played, but we were more successful in terms of wins on my lacrosse club.

I began teaching people how to lift weights and workout (my way) in 2005. I began coaching for Team Palmetto Lacrosse in 2009. I opened CrossFit Hilton Head in 2010. I have coached thousands of people.

What makes some people standout more than others? What makes some go so much further than others in their sport and, much more importantly, their lives? What makes some people stay while others fade away and go gently into that good night? Some achieve and others quit? What do people need in order to achieve their goals and is this virtue a universal marker for success?



To be clear: success does not necessarily mean a “win” or a “PR”. It has to be larger than that. Wins and PR’s are measurable, observable and repeatable (hopefully). This is fantastic from a statistical standpoint, but it is flimsy. It does nothing in terms of acknowledging the path it took to achieve the win or the PR. How many times did you “fail”, get knocked down, meet adversity, get sidetracked, etc. before you won? How long did you train to meet your goal? What methods did you practice? What did you overcome?

These are, after all, the important things. The things that teach us who we are and show us what we can make possible for ourselves. The things that make our lives better!

Success, instead, to us here at this gym, means growth. How have you grown physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? This is much harder to organize statistically and scientifically, but this is the secret to a happy life. Any of these four categories that remains incomplete and the person will feel incomplete.

It is a busy, busy world these days. Getting busier all the time. There are many distractions, obligations, duties, etc. But as I reflect on my life and those that I have encountered as both a teacher and a student, one thing seems to separate the happy from the lost, the seekers from the sitters, the workers from the entitled: ownership of themselves and their direction.

There is no perfect path and each person’s path is different. However, Bob Weir was a great rugby coach because he had an unquenchable passion for the sport of rugby. He also wanted to see his athletes do well and he would let us know, unequivocally, if we were doing the job well or poorly. And if we did not meet Coach Weir’s high standard he would teach us how to do it. He had critiques and he had solutions to the problems.

The successful athletes that I have coached and played with did not rely on their genetic gifts. A great many of them had these gifts. They were swift, strong, had amazing body awareness in space. Some went far while others, with the same gifts, drifted off to other choices they felt best suited them, flat out quit, or, the worst of all, spiraled into self-pity choices like abusing drugs and alcohol to numb themselves from whatever.

The successful people in my life, both athletically and non-athletically, have all had belief in themselves, belief in what they were doing and a belief in what they wanted to become. And they held on to this belief when they met resistance. Read that again: they held on to this belief when they met resistance. They had a code, they lived for others and they were fierce in both the protection and realization of this.

They did not abandon their belief system when they met adversity, they refined it. Again and again and again. However long it takes. It does not come with a timetable. It is a life’s pursuit.

This was passion not absolutism. There is a significant difference. They were open to answers and searching, not closed to answers and resistant to learning. They were positive in their attitude and when they were tested, when they met adversity as we all do, they kept coming back day after day after day. They were like the Terminator.



What is this then that breeds such discipline, stability, resilience, persistence, achievement, power, growth, passion, positivity and joy? You guessed it: Conviction.

Who are you when adversity comes knocking at the door? Will you turn back from the path you are on? Will you resign yourself to the hum-drum? To mediocrity because things become hard? Or will you look for a way around or through? If you persist, than you are a person of conviction and you will be successful. You will live with joy. You will die with peace.



In this gym we are intent on becoming more than a CrossFit gym. More than just exercise. We are not abandoning CrossFit, our CrossFit name or our CrossFit community in the least. Nor are we changing our regular training program. We are making it all better and working with you to make you unbeatable at life. CrossFit is our roots and our roots are strong. Very strong.

CrossFit has helped us realize so many things, and has helped us tremendously in realizing who we want to be. But we don’t want to be just another CrossFit affiliate. We never did.

As you will see in the coming months, we want to offer our clients more, much more so that they may have as many opportunities as possible to explore themselves and develop into the person they wish to be.

Our goal is and always has been, how do we make everything outside the gym better? It is not about the hour you get in here a day, it is about how that hour best serves you the other 23. And this is different for each of us.

We will nourish and cultivate the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual side of all our clients who wish to work toward becoming their best self. We will offer much more of this well-rounded style of training in this new facility. What you choose to be a part of is up to you. I highly encourage you to audit nothing. You should go all in, all the way.

This is why we have added to our name. To encompass all that we will do, we need to become, to borrow a term from Coach Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit: a “broad(er) and (more) inclusive” idea and ideal. This is how CrossFit began, why I initially joined CrossFit and how I learned so much so quickly. I will not abandon this now. I will grow this further than anybody ever thought possible. And this is how we will carry onward, learning from all, being like water.



We will train you to achieve your dreams, to be your complete and happiest self. And in so doing we will have put into place what Viktor Frankl put forth is our essence as the human collective for being in Man’s Search for Meaning: we will have our meaning and fulfill our purpose. As Frankl quotes Nietzsche, “Those who have a why to live, can bear almost any how.”



As we help you, you will help us. There is no better way to live that I know of.

Welcome to Conviction Training Facility (CTF)-Home of CrossFit Hilton Head the community (the YOU!), not the collection of bars, bumper plates and an old address on Bow Circle. Look for the CrossFit Hilton Head sign on our new building and the CTF sign on our new door. We currently plan on being in our new space at 1 New Orleans Road on Monday, February 3.

Live with Conviction.

Stay tuned next week for Part II-The How. We will talk about how to take advantage of the programs we will begin to unroll in 2014.