A Helping Hughes

It is very easy to cruise through life as a quiet passenger. I look back on missed opportunities to share my thoughts and have decided to avoid letting that become a habit. I can very easily get lost in my own thoughts and convince myself not to share, but not this time.


I am grateful. Four years ago, I decided to forgo the corporate world and take my talents to the entrepreneurial slash start-up arena. It has been the most complex challenge of my life (so far). Shortly after resigning from my corporate job, I moved to Austin, Texas. My intent was to work at CrossFit Central and impact that community. The vocalization of that intent eventually led me to Jeremy Thiel and Nicole Hughes. Nicole would eventually become my supervisor/team leader/mastermind partner in crime. Over the course of three years she would shape and spur my maturation as an individual creative. The validity of that statement is more potent that I could ever articulate. Nicole Hughes severely impacted my growth as a professional.


Who is that? Nicole Hughes is a bit unsung in the public eye. Until recently (she has since moved on to a new opportunity) Nicole was a driving creative force behind the online presence of CrossFit Central. Shortly after I moved to Austin, Nicole and I were paired and tasked with the responsibility of branding and storytelling for various wellness projects and events. However, our initial interactions as a team weren’t alway synergistic.


Youth doesn’t always provide wisdom … let’s be real, it rarely does. I was a passionate individual. I believed (still do) I had a responsibility to utilize my abilities to tell the the best story and deliver a delightful experience to listeners. I believed in this so strongly that I often became set on a certain method or tactic and closed to the idea of any alternative way. This made me difficult to interact with—despite my pure intention.


Our interactions started off as rocky, due to my lack of wisdom. Then I remember a meeting at JuiceLand after disagreement. It was one of those moments when you realize you’ve been a bit of a jackass and it’s time to immediately grow up. After that meeting everything changed, a noisy friction was transformed into a harmony.  For the next two-ish or more years we would collaborate on various projects and accomplish some really cool things. We collaborated on the media for projects such as Garage Gym Blueprint,  Godai Elements competition, The Fittest Games, RedBlack Gym, The Triune and CrossFit Central. I am so grateful for Nicole Hughes involvement in my professional career.


She took the time (a considerable amount) to understand and learn about me. She broke down my former way of thinking and showed me a new way to operate by her being a living example of a true leader.  She played a major role in shaping the skill sets that I have now. I look back on the last four years and feel privileged to say I got to work with such dynamic individual. I know that she would prefer to go unsung and fly under the radar but unfortunately she was unsuccessful in completely neutralizing my defiant side.  So I would like to defiantly and publicly celebrate Mrs. Nicole Hughes . Because. I am grateful.  For the arguments, long conversations, jokes, laughs and adventures. I am so very grateful.


On site at Godai Elements at the Texas Ski Ranch

Nicole Hughes and Johnathan Haynes Godai Elements


Working at the Fittest Games in Austin, Texas

Nicole Hughes and Johnathan Haynes at the Fittest Games


Thank You Nicole Hughes

Think about the people in your life that have helped shape who you are. Don’t be afraid to let them know.