I should be in Maui right now. Every February about 14 of my friends and family members meet up in Maui for a week of fun and relaxation. This year my girlfriend Courtney’s parents and sister flew out from New England to join us. But just four days before we were to fly out, we learned that we wouldn’t be going.
Courtney is now 19 weeks pregnant with our first child. On Thursday she saw her perinatalogist for what seemed to be a routine check-in after a very good report 4 weeks ago. Unfortunately, she learned two things at that appointment: (1) our baby is a “chunker” – a little bigger than expected at this stage, a good sign that baby is getting the better set of our genes; and (2) her cervix is shortening more rapidly than it should – a common cause of premature labor and miscarriage. The doctor was concerned enough that she scheduled Courtney to undergo a cerclage – an operation to stitch the cervix closed and keep our baby put to grow strong and healthy until July. So Maui was off, surgery was on.
Why am I sharing this?
Because I woke up today in San Diego rather than Maui feeling as blessed as ever, and with the clarity to understand that sometimes it’s the unintended consequences of our actions that are the most important. Let me explain.
Courtney is not only my girlfriend, but she is also an employee of Invictus.
I am not in Maui because Courtney has excellent health insurance and a great doctor who recognized early on the need to involve a specialist. That small detail, that Courtney is insured, is exponentially increasing the chance that she will deliver us a beautiful, healthy baby this summer.
The fact that Courtney is insured was an unintended consequence of simply doing the right thing.
Since I left the law to open a gym I have been fighting to reshape how fitness professionals are viewed and treated. I knew from personal experience that I worked just as hard (harder actually), researched just as much, and had a far greater positive impact on others’ lives as a coach than I ever did as a lawyer. Yet most fitness professionals aren’t accorded similar respect, and don’t even have basic professional benefits – like health insurance.
I wanted to change that. I committed to creating a culture of treating our employees like professionals. We started small – livable wage, reasonable hours (no early AM/PM split shifts). But to me, health insurance is a basic need. That was a big goal for me as an employer, and by the end of 2011 we were able to accomplish our goal of providing our employees with group health insurance.
At the time that we secured group health insurance, Courtney wasn’t an employee and we weren’t considering babies. I wanted to secure health insurance because it was the right thing to do for my employees, and for our profession. The fact that it has come full circle and helps to protect my life’s greatest joy from tragedy is a consequence that we never could have foreseen.
I don’t typically share this much about my personal life in a public forum, but this is my call to action to all of my friends who own gyms. Providing group health insurance to your employees is not nearly as expensive as you might imagine. You don’t need 20 employees or millions of dollars in revenue. If you have a few dedicated employees that you care about, PLEASE LOOK INTO GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE! The unintended consequences alone will make this investment a no-brainer, and you’ll be doing your part to engender respect for an industry that receives only a fraction of what is deserved.
If you have any questions about how to set this up, email me. I can refer you to one of the most amazing professionals I have ever worked with, Karen Winters of Benefit Pro Insurance ([email protected]). She has been a Godsend to us and was able to set us up with everything we could have asked for in a benefits plan – and all within our budget.
Please don’t gloss over this and assume your gym isn’t ready for that step until you have done a bit of research or contacted Karen. Trust me, you won’t regret the investment.