Erik Knowles, the new fitness director at Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Burr Ridge, spots personal trainer Mike Sullivan last week at the club.

What does military service have to do with being a fitness director at a sports club?

When it comes to forging relationships with your audience, it’s essential to take the time to thoughtfully think through a question along these lines—and then offer relevant answers in any writing that stems from that reflection.

In September, Erik Knowles became fitness director at Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Burr Ridge, Ill. His background includes a five-year hitch in the U.S. Navy. He was not only a helicopter rescue swimmer, but he trained some 100 of his fellow servicemen in the same discipline.

That background, along with Knowles’ work with at-risk teenagers, helps paint a more complete and compelling picture (see the news release here at than if his story was confined to the realm of physical fitness.

No, he won’t be swooping in on a helicopter plucking club members out of its outdoor pool. But it’s not a big leap to see that the qualities that he exhibited and developed in his military career are significant assets in his current post.

There are times when you’ll want to run away from your background. It’s an understandable reaction, especially when you fear that it could be a turn-off, or think it’ll just seem too extraneous, to those in your current line of work.

But before you do so, see if there’s a positive connection between that seemingly disconnected past and your hopes for future success.

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