PSA on Codependency of the Affiliate Owner


Codependent. That’s how Matt Scanlon would describe nearly any gym owner, including himself.

He came to this realization when he was faced with hiring his first full-time Coach to take some class hours off his hands. There was fear there and he didn’t know why until he dove into it deeper. “For me, it was really tough to look in the mirror because I had to really come to the realization it’s not that I was afraid somebody would do as good of a job; I was actually fearful they would do a better job and my members would no longer need me,” said Scanlon, the owner of CrossFit Memorial Hill in Kansas City , Missouri.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is defined as an “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner.” Scanlon shared owners often take on their members’ problems. It comes from a desire to be needed.

While in truth it can be a powerful thing – that’s why customers and clients at a CrossFit gym are often so dedicated to the gym, because of the strong relationship – there is a negative. For example, Scanlon shared often an owner spirals into depression or takes it very personal when someone quits. He said people – like Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple – don’t care if someone switches from their product to another. Cook simply focuses on making the best Apple products he can make. “Focusing on what we can control will be huge for us,” said Scanlon.

One Big Codependency Problem

This can lead to tendencies that if left unchecked can spiral into larger problems. Scanlon shared one large problem by breaking down the numbers first:

Every time a member steps through your door, say they give $7.50 to the gym. They are often there for 90 minutes – 15 minutes on either side of class. So, they are essentially paying $5 an hour to be there. “In what world does somebody pay $5 an hour for a service and expect it’s OK to text the owner of that business to come let them in on a Sunday afternoon and interrupt time with their family?” asked Scanlon.

The line gets blurred, and often because of codependency traits found in the owner. But at the end of the day, despite being more friendly then buying a cup of coffee or tire, it’s still a retail transaction. “What is our expectation of $5 an hour?” said Scanlon. “Texting me on a Sunday will cost you $500 an hour. And we need to begin to think a little bit more like that, so we don’t fall the trap of when the community goes bad. I think that’s community in it’s worse form: taking advantage of somebody.”

ACTION: Is this you? Are you codependent? Take time today to truly assess yourself. Learn your weaknesses so you can play to your strengths and build up the walls where you’re weak. The next time a member quits, take note of how you react and feel. Focus on what you can control instead. And start realizing how much your time is actually worth.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at