Chasing Carrots

I had a conversation with a new friend the other day about love. Is love as we know it real or just an illusive place to visit? The invisible road with a map that’s yet to be discovered. Love is intangible, yet we still constantly fight 24/7 to hold it in our hands. As an Californian born single child, I didn’t have the best love role models. My parents divorced. My Grandparents fought viciously. As far as I was concerned, if this was love, you could have it. I wanted nothing to do with that drama, yet somehow I felt the pull and allure of butterflies and swoon. Love, or what I thought love was, just felt so good. The Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Serotonin cocktail of love was a high I could get behind, and drink it I did. The chemical haze fogged my better judgement and often left me well, addicted. When the relationship (or lack there of) ended my brain didn’t know the love fix was over, and my heart was already enraptured by the habit. Scientists say that, “love isn’t so much an emotion in its own right”—although aspects of it are obviously highly emotional—as it is a “goal-oriented motivational state.” I had my target. Got the bullseye, and now I wanted to play darts every damn day!

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So, if love is chemical and really about chasing the carrot to satisfy your brain’s craving for the Kool-aid, what other ways can we use this obsession for good?

  • Health and Fitness

I am super familiar with this struggle. As a professional Pilates instructor I find it just as hard as to get my clients motivated as I do my own ass. Come on, why would anyone want to move instead of just lie around or eschew birthday cake in lieu of rice cakes? Well turns out that it’s not just the generating the love hormone of Dopamine that matters, but also where we physically generate it. That girl who you always see at the gym sweating it out most likely has her dope (short only for dopamine:) production in the stratum and prefontal cortex- the two areas known for motivation and reward, while the “slackers” like me produce the stuff in the anterior insula, the area of the brain that is for emotion and risk perception. The sheer act of moving your body, especially with cardiovascular exercise, makes your brain release dopamine and will make you feel like a million bucks. That’s right. The more you do the stuff the more you want it, and eventually crave it as much as that chocolate bar.

  • Goal Setting

The same goes for the goal setting goodness. Why do you think it feels oh so good to cross that to-do off your list? Dopamine baby. Check. Rush. Repeat. So if you get a shot of the good stuff every time you complete a task, make sure you break each goal into easy completed segments to get the most dope (short for dopamine again, sorry) for your buck. The easier smaller segment of your goal, the easier it is to complete, the better you feel, the harder you work. Done and done.

So next time you’re lamenting your procrastinating or sloth-like ways, just get off your buns and starting the good vibes will follow, after all it’s all just in your head.

 

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Just Say Yes

I’m a believer. You know those kinds of people. The woo woo ones. The ones who just know that there are fairies, spirits, a higher power. Yup, that’s me now, but things weren’t always as spiritual up in this bitch. I grew up Catholic-light. I say that because my family embraced some of the teachings — both my parents went to a legit Catholic schools, and we attended church, well, on the holidays…sometimes. God was there, I suspected, but never actually felt any connection thereto. Then, in my early adolescence my Dad remarried, and with my new family came the Catechism, prayers before everything, and mandatory Sunday Mass. I liked the idea of religion, and really enjoyed the singing in church, but didn’t feel closer to anything divine. I gave up on the idea of someone in the sky guiding me for years until a short stint with a born-again cult helped me understand my true religion — me.

I know at first glance that seems like the total narcissistic ideal — the idea that I am God, but bear with me for a second. I had been questioning the existence of a higher deity-“God”-for pretty much my entire life, until one day in a dance class, it was made clear to me. While sweating, stretching and performing a particularly beautiful combination I finally felt Him (or in my case, Her :) ) The inspiration for my life (the spirit if you will), didn’t live outside of me on some cloud overhead, but inside my heart. The feeling of being filled with a gift from something bigger than me was radiating from inside. God, or the universe as I call it, resides right here, in me.

This discovery changed everything. Suddenly I started to pay attention to the consciousness my intuition gave me. Should I date that guy? My gut got twisted and queasy, probably not the right fit. Should I pursue my dream of being in a Broadway show? Butterflies and fireworks of excitement. Yup. I’m right where I need to be. Don’t get me wrong, intuitive connection was and is still a process. Some signals were ignored, some misread, but the gut didn’t lie. Like a weathervane, my sixth sense was right on-always and in all ways. My life has been extraordinary trip since I learned how to say yes to insight. From talking to others, it seems like I’m not alone in the search for some guide and guru. Let me share with you the beauty of your God within, and how to tap into yours:

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  • Pay attention
The first step to tapping into the Divine within is to simply stop, drop, and notice. Meditation is the most powerful tool to hear your inner voice. Starting with even just 5 minutes every morning will put you more in touch with your instincts. Letting the monkey of the mind chatter  will only distract you from the pure messages from your deep subconscious. Once you’ve started to quiet your mind, start noticing your body cues as well. Why do I feel tense whenever I speak to that friend? Every time I head into work I feel sick to my stomach, where conversely working with animals makes me feel like I’m on cloud nine? Your mind leaves your body clues, you just have to pay attention to the writing on the wall.
  • Be specific
Being a conduit for our higher selves is just the first step. I once heard that prayer is speaking to God, and meditation is listening. Once you have the listening part down, start to set your intentions on what you want in your life. I’m not trying to foray too much into The Secret here, but really, being specific about your ideal mate, job, or even vacation helps the universe deliver. Take time to dream, scheme, and then get specific. I LOVE doing vision boards to help my subconscious grasp the plan. Do your 50% and the divine can meet you halfway.
  • Get comfy with your vibes
So now you’re listening, getting clear and things seem good, but be aware. This is where things might freak you out. Opening yourself up to your inner wisdom will bring well, some serious learning. Suddenly the friend you thought was your bestie gives you a headache every time she calls. Maybe that relationship has outgrown its purpose, and it’s time to move on. As you open yourself up and ask the universe to intervene, it will, but not always in the ways you thought it would. Just breathe and know that your intuition never steers you wrong. While some old relationships, habits, or patterns may fall away, new, better serving ones will appear. Promise.
  • Just Say Yes
This is my favorite part of being an intuitive person. When you get clear and comfy, the universe will be eavesdropping on your shit. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself saying things like: “I never go and see live music. I need to do more of that” and then BOOM! You’ll get a free ticket to see the Ting Tings (true story). Though I digress, honestly it’s slightly spooky how your ability to manifest grows. As the old saying says, “be careful what you wish for.” Your inner guide is alert and ready to deliver, so when the things you have been wanting show up, JUST SAY YES. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth here-who knows where that concert could lead you, or who you could meet on the dance floor. If anything, you’ll start to feel whole and fulfilled since no one knows you better than you. Just enjoy!

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Guest Post: Raise Your Standards

As Fitness and Health Professionals our top priority is to enhance the lives of others by sharing our wisdom and guiding them to achieve their goals. However, we’re also Business Women (and Men) and we have to make a living. An abundant living, at that! Why? Because we’re worth it.

If we wanted to work for free we would be volunteering. This is our livelihood and in order to successfully transform the lives of our clients, we must first transform our own to embody and exemplify what we teach. As a former Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer (I am no longer in practice as I now focus solely on Health Coaching), I really struggled with sticking to the standards I set for myself. What do I mean? My rates were on a sliding scale and although I had clients sign an agreement form that if they cancelled within 24 hours of our session they would be charged, I never held them to it. I felt like I was doing them a favor by being understanding. That they would like me more because I cut them a break.

Unfortunately, this ended up hurting me more than doing me any good. Clients began to take advantage and would cancel at the last minute knowing I wasn’t going to charge them. I had set the precedent so I felt like I couldn’t go back and began to hold them accountable again. I created this monster! Now I was the one getting screwed out of money and my schedule was incredibly unpredictable.

I finally asked myself, “What am I doing?!” My passion was taking a nose dive and I felt walked all over. My realization was that “I AM WORTH MORE THAN THIS.” I knew I had to take massive action to raise the standards I had set for myself! And once I raised my own bar I could raise it for my clients too. You see, how we hold ourselves accountable and the level of self-love we show ourselves directly translates into our business. Our clients see and feel the vibration we give off. When we come from a place of loving and accepting ourselves fully, we inspire our clients to do the same.

For me, that meant that all of the new clientele I signed on received an overview of the Client Agreement highlighting the cancellation policy so they knew I meant business. I expressed that when we set appointments I expect them to show up, give me the courtesy of a 24 hour cancellation notice or they would be charged their full session price.

Once I set this new standard and held people to it, not only did they fall in line with the policy I set forth, but I started to feel a deeper sense of confidence! I realized that my wishy washy ways of the past reflected my insecurities about successfully running a business and charging premium prices for my services. I knew my skill set and my capabilities, but I had fear around others taking me seriously or believing that I was worth the rates I charged. I finally understood this was just self-doubt and bullshit stories I was telling myself!

The bottom line is this: You Are Worth It. You know what prices your services command and you deserve to be paid accordingly. You are completely justified in holding your clients to the standards you set forth at the beginning of your partnership. In order to grow successfully you must tap into your inner confidence and strength. Give yourself respect and love and you will receive respect and love back.
UntitledMarie Catelli, The Gut Guru, is a Holistic Health Coach guiding women to get to know their body and mind from a gut perspective. How you feel at any given time has everything to do with what’s going on in your gut. When you understand how this affects you in your every day life you are empowered and equipped to make informed decisions about what to eat, when to eat and how to eat. Learn how to trust your gut on a whole new level at www.mariecatelli.com.

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Guest Post: Setting Boundaries

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I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past 8 years, I’ve had 3 different businesses, and I’ve worked with hundreds of clients. When I first started out, I don’t even know if I used a client agreement {don’t tell my wife – she’s a lawyer}. As time went on, however, I learned more and more closely and clearly that setting boundaries in your business is ESSENTIAL to your sanity and success – and will actually improve your client’s experience working with you as well.

Let me explain. Think back to the last time someone got upset with you or you got upset with someone. In all likelihood, it’s because expectations were mismanaged. You expected something of someone and it didn’t happen or vice versa. You expected someone to be nice and they weren’t or someone expected you to be on time and you were 30 minutes late. And setting expectations go hand in hand with setting boundaries. When a client is disappointed, it’s often because she thought something was going to happen that didn’t — you were going to respond to her email more quickly, you were going to express more compassion when instead you went the tough love route — you get the picture.

The problem is is that when boundaries aren’t set, expectations aren’t clear and people start getting upset because they’ve set their own expectations without telling you what they are. Boundaries don’t limit you or your client; they actually allow for more space. Boundaries actually invite spaciousness into a relationship because they allow each person to be more of who they really are. Maybe you’re not an email person, but you’re all about offering text support. Let your clients know. Maybe you don’t check email on weekends. Let your clients know that too. What I actually do when I work with clients is that I send them the fancy schmancy client agreement with all the legal stuff, and then I send them an addendum with super clear, super straightforward – here is what I expect of you, here is what you should expect of me, and here is what you need to do to get the most out of this program. I kid you not – clients have actually THANKED me for giving this to them. People like to know what they should and shouldn’t expect from you. People like structure. People like boundaries. It’s just that the word “boundaries” has gotten a bit of a bad rap – because it sounds like we’re shutting people out and limiting access.

Imagine a fenced in yard. A dog in a fenced in yard is free to run wherever she wants to go. Boundaries create spaciousness for the dog. If there wasn’t a fence, she would be a leash because letting her run freely would in all likelihood be unsafe. Same goes for your relationship with your clients – boundaries create safety for both you and your client; you’ve clearly expressed what can and cannot be expected of you and your client will feel safer with you because you’ve set straightforward guidelines. It’s showing them that you respect yourself and that you care for them. You’ve put in the time and effort to get super clear and share how you want to help them. This may also empower them; a client who has no boundaries may come to rely on her coach to a detrimental degree, and lose faith in her ability to pick up her own pieces when necessary.

Now it’s best to set boundaries and expectations from the beginning; that said, if you’ve already started working with clients, and you know you’re long overdue for some serious boundary setting, it’s all good. First, get clear on what will and won’t work for you moving forward. Second, share how this new change will actually benefit your client and enhance her experience working with you. Then, get it in writing and send it to your client. Share that you’ve made these changes from a place of love and care. Most, if not all, of your clients will probably thank you for setting these new guidelines. And the ones who throw a tantrum? Perhaps it’s time to let them go. You’ve just shared with them what really and truly works for you and if that doesn’t work for them, then the relationship might not be meant to be.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Brene Brown:
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”

May you dance in the spaciousness of your new boundaries, and
celebrate the gift you’re giving to yourself and your clients.

 

JordanaJaffeJordana Jaffe is the co-founder of Magical Business Academy, a company she created with her wife, Gena. She works with women entrepreneurs and supports them in creating a business that fills both their hearts and their bank accounts. She believes that a successful business comes from allowing yourself to be exactly who you are and finding a way to make everything you do feel fun. Jordana’s superpowers include, but aren’t limited to, mapping out a super simple step-by-step plan of action for you (she loves spreadsheets), asking you the right questions so that you can uncover the answers that are already within you, and helping you design a business that highlights and celebrates your you-ness, which then magically attracts the people you’re meant to work with to you {since they’re finally clear on what you’re all about}. She is obsessed with creating communities, connecting people, chocolate chip ice cream and TGIT. You can connect with Jordana and over 1300 amazing women entrepreneurs in her free Facebook group, which she endearingly calls the magical playground, here: bit.ly/youaremagical

 

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Teacher Feature: Co-Op Life!

Greetings from all of us here at FORM Pilates USQ! Having just completed the implementation of our new cooperative structure, we wanted to take a moment and feature a little bit from a few of our teachers who shared a few words about their experience so far. We’ve been plugging away at the new quarter, and hope that you are all spurred into action and productivity by the cool winds of fall! So here it is, straight from the source–What is it like to be apart of a Pilates Co-Operative?

Carrie Campbell

DJG_1837“I enjoy being part of the cooperative because it enables me to have the freedom of running my own business without a lot of overhead. I also enjoy being part of a team of self-motivated, like-minded Pilates teachers.”

Jamie Graham

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“It’s sort of like the best of both worlds in that you have the independence and freedom of working for yourself, but the environment and inspiration of being in a studio and teaching next to other great teachers. You feel less alone!”

Audrey Carney

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“The co-op provides a home and supportive base but even better, tools and connections to propel my career forward. It’s a fun, helpful and passionate group to be a part of!”

Julia Starobin

photo“The FORM Co-Operative feels like home. It’s a great space filled with energy and positivity. It’s amazing to feel like you’re part of a studio while running your personal business. I feel like FORM offers me the best of both worlds.”

Alissa Alter

“I love the freedom and flexibility I get being a part of the alissaFORM Team. I am also thankful for the wonderful people I have met.”

Liza Ard

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“I love having the freedom to arrange my own schedule and the perk of working in a nice space that’s graciously maintained. It’s fun to work alongside teachers that are in charge of themselves, it creates a very positive work space.”

So are you interested in joining our family?! Check out more info about our membership options by clicking here. What are you waiting for? Fill out an application today!

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Blues Schmooze

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Happy New Year!!! What are your 2015 resolutions? To workout more? To eat better? To get a new job, a new boyfriend, a new life? Oh the pressure. Of a resolution. All this, New Year, New You bullshit stresses us to pull new habits out of our ass like a rabbit out of a hat. Look — don’t get me wrong: I’m all for improvement and betterment of self. Hell, it’s what I do all day between teaching people Pilates and motivating others to create the businesses and lives of their dreams. My issue lies not with the good intention but instead with the peer pressure from society. Such constant nagging to make giant grandiose plans of improvement only lead us down the path of good intentions with no result which only makes you bury your head in shame for giving up just weeks later.

There’s an actual phenomenon, coined by a British doctor for travel firm in hopes of selling vacation packages to Bora Bora and other sunny locales, called Blue Monday. Since its inception in 2005 the concept has been debunked, even by the good doctor himself, but Blue Monday, or the last Monday in January, is supposed to be THE most depressing day of the year. Despite being bogus, it still resonates. This time of year the weather is crap-tacular, the lack of sunshine and vitamin D starts to take it’s toll, you’ve been eating like a bear preparing to hibernate, and you just got your credit card bills from the holiday. Basically, January is one big Christmas hangover.

So, while all of those facts may be true, so many of us still try to make resolutions each year with renewed hope that somehow this year they’ll stick. Years ago I swore off resolutions myself in favor or creating words that set a tone for how I want to feel all year. I find it helpful to keep looking back at them when I feel lost or frustrated by the way my life is muddling along, and use them as redirection back to where I want to be. And while my strategy is good for not setting oneself up for failure with dreaded resolutions or empty goals, it’s not really a roadmap on how to get from New Year hope to real results.
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One of my favorite business strategists, Derek Halpern, just released a series of blogs titled, Be The Exception. Derek’s mother was on welfare, married to a drug addict, and had never been to college. Derek’s grandmother gave his mom a second chance by sending her back to school. Despite the odds his mom turned things around — going to school, working full time, and raising two kids, bringing them up to a comfy middle class existence without drugs and poverty, but she is the exception. How many times have you heard sad stories of people who have had terrible things happen to them, or maybe those terrible things have happened to you, but they just can’t pull themselves up to the challenge. What is it that separates those who rise above and those who just sink lower?

 

Well, desire for change is first and foremost. Hitting bottom with your situation or finally getting fed up enough to do something about it is key. Do you want change bad enough? Change is never the easy road so you have to want it. The first part originates within, second part is the external pressure. How many times have you had a great idea or even a deep dark dream that you choose excitedly to share only to be poo poo-ed by some well meaning friend or family member with a pat on the hand and a little, “When are you going to get a real job?” Same goes for big lifestyle changes like curbing your drinking or choosing kale over Kobe beef. Your peers who want change too but aren’t really willing to work for it. Your change threatens their lack of motivation. They will try to coerce you to stay back down at their level and “Just have just one,” or “come on! you only live once!” Misery loves company.

The thing is that the real hurdle to your dreams and realized resolutions is not the advertising industry, society, circumstances, or even your friends and family, but you. YOU are the biggest obstacle to your dreams. So stop the excuses and get your butt in gear. Want to workout more, just do it. Don’t lament about last week when you ate a whole box of Ho Ho’s with your butt glued to your couch. Today is a new day and a new chance to be the exception to the rule. Get up get moving and walk confidently in the direction of your dreams. The road to being a bad ass is not a straight one without any hills. Climb that shit and remember that anything worth having is worth working for.

 

JAY_SULLIVAN_PHOTOGRAPHER-3613Lindsay Lopez is a dynamic force of nature. Years in tutus and tights paid off with wild success as a dancer and actress. Years in the “biz” taught her that dreams can come true, with plenty of planning and TONS of action to back them up. With a vision of helping her fellow instructors make what they deserve and live a life they love, Lindsay created FORM Pilates Union Square to focus on trainers rather than the clientele. The result was a workspace for teachers who love to teach and clients love to learn. Although Lindsay teachers less and less, she is breathing new life into a stale industry. Her wish is to provide her peers with the business training they so desperately need. As a positive coach and gutsy mentor, Lindsay Lopez is changing the Pilates business for the better.

 

 

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Guest Post: I AM a Pilates Nerd. (The one who created the brand)

If you would have told me two years ago that I would create a ‘brand’ that would be distributed and wholesaled internationally, get picked up by a major Pilates retailer, and make people smile with knowing enthusiasm, I never would have believed you.

In fact, I would have been really scared to try.

 

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It all started with a logo, a blog idea, and one t-shirt. But even before that, it began with a declaration I read in a blog:

“Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound. No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself”.     – Seth Godin

Pick yourself.  What?

I’d have to say this idea of picking myself – of creating my own path, changed my thinking and how I see myself in the Pilates world.  Beyond teaching my own students, I hadn’t allowed myself to think I could offer more to the Pilates community.  But if you’ve ever sat down with a copy of Return to Life, you know that Joe Pilates’ discipline was all about pushing yourself.

I’ve been teaching Pilates for 16 years. Some of those years in the trenches were admittedly not my best work. I spent too much time comparing my teaching skills with others and defending my philosophies.

Now I think I wasted so much time not allowing other facets of my creativity come to light.

It turns out it was the shirt, especially the logo, that made an impact on people. What’s surprising is I wasn’t expecting to build a small apparel brand, but that’s what happened. Ultimately, connecting people who feel as passionate about Pilates I do, is the most satisfying part of Pilates Nerd.

While I write this I am knee deep in online orders, preparing another wholesale order, and getting ready for my first big Pilates conference as an exhibitor.  It’s overwhelming not just because of the crazy workload in addition to my teaching, but because there is so much about the apparel business I am still learning!

Believe it or not, I have yet to assert myself and make it widely known that I am, in fact the face behind the brand.

It’s daunting to admit that I created every shirt, every post, and every item.  Mainly because it’s scary to fail, scary to be judged, and scary not to have control. (Insert Contrology joke).

I think we were born to create, to move people and to connect with people. The challenge is finding our niche and following through. Part of the bigger picture is this: we get on the mat and apparatus week after week and you never know what you can do until you try…that’s half the fun of it. So, be patient and move through the fear.

“…Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”

Thanks Mr. Pilates, that’s a quote to live by – body, mind and spirit – for sure!

image1Raised in upstate NY and now a Southern California local, Karen Ellis is the owner and director of Prana Pilates in Costa Mesa. She began her journey of movement in ballet, earned a BS from Indiana University and received an MFA from the University of California Irvine. After a professional ballet career in Boston concluded with injuries, a passion for healing the body and new career in Pilates was born.

In 2013 Karen created Pilates Nerd®, a company designed to celebrate Pilates through apparel, accessories and shared sentiments.  The simple goal of her idea is to generate enthusiasm for the benefits of Pilates and help connect people.

 

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Surprise, I’m Not Perfect!

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In business like in life, shit happens to remind you that you are human, fallible, and destructible. The roads of failure and success intertwine. So there is bound to be a little collision here and there. Typically, there’s no celebration or party for our faux pas, but there should be. See, without falling there can be no getting up…and it’s the getting up that makes all the difference.

I have been running my own business now for just over 3 years, and have had more slip-ups than an entire summer on a slip-n-slide. I didn’t go to a college, earn a fancy MBA, or start my business with unlimited capital. No ma’am. My journey into entrepreneurial-ship was purely a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants predicament. In my insecurity I did the research, read the books, and joined the business clubs to boost my mastery of business ownership. Being surrounded by fabulous women (some with degrees and success, some without) I quickly learned that no matter how much you hit the books there’s no replacement for being kicked in the ass by your business itself. The first time it happens you feel like the wind has been knocked out of you and that you may just be down for the count, but you get back up and keep on punching.

So if failing is inevitable and mistakes are unpreventable, why don’t we just learn to embrace it? Can you ride the wave of fuck-ups and still bring home a success of a business? When the shit hits the fan and you’re the one that was responsible for throwing it, can you forgive, forget, and move on? Certainly. And the health of your business depends on it.

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  • Reflect, Review, and Redo

In my case, I wasn’t completely aware of my mess up until it was the size of the Sierra Mountain range. By the time I was busted on my goof, it was too late to fix it. While you can’t take back the missteps, you can choose to do better now that you know better. Take the time to reflect on the situation. Can you see what your part in the debacle was? If your mess up included other people take a second to feel what they feel, empathize with how being on the back-end of the blow out must feel. Then, make a plan to do a reboot next time. Learn from your mistakes but never regret. One day you will realize that sometimes the wrong choices bring us to just the right places.

  • Bury the hatchet

In my journey to forgive myself, I have realized the importance of letting myself off the hook. Look, if you’ve done the damage either to yourself and/or to others punching yourself in the gut over it will just well, causes more hurt. Take some time to let bygones be bygones and heal so you can learn and grow. Be careful not to make this one failure bleed into the entirety of your being. Sure, you had a fuck-up on this particular day, in this particular situation, with this particular person. Does it mean you are utterly inept and should just throw in the towel? No way! Step away from the edge and give yourself a big “I’m sorry” hug.

  • Throw a Screw-up Soiree

So once you’ve learned the lesson and then forgave the offender, aka you, it’s time to shake that shit off! Put on some rockin’ tunes and shake your bootie! Treat yourself to a healthy homemade meal. Celebrate that you are SO self-aware, SO sorry that you messed up, and SO sure that you will make mistakes again. The most important difference between successful and unsuccessful people is that successful people never interpret failure as the last word on the subject. Reward yourself for putting it out there and trying. Next time, and there will be a next time, remember a failure is just a try that didn’t work.

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Guest Post: Burning Out is Not an Option

The bright lights lured me here to make a name for myself. I wanted to make it big and what better place than New York City. I did what most people do when starting a new career; I went the safe route and joined a big health and fitness club.

Joe

 

While I enjoyed the comforts of working for a company, I have always had the desire to start my own business. With that dream I took the leap and I started my own personal training business. I left the comfort of the big brother and went out on my own. It was cool, it was exhilarating, and it was scary!

It was great at first, the money was piling in, I was my own boss, and I was making a name for myself.  The more money I made the more work I took on and before I knew it I was exhausted. Soon after I started I was completely burnt out. Trying to do so much was killing me, or to be less dramatic it was aging me. I started to look like a vampire with bags under my eyes. I had to fix this. How could I be helping people better their lives while neglecting my own? I was making people happy and healthy but I was looking and feeling like crap!

The solution was to take care of myself first so I can take care of others. What did I do? I didn’t have time to go to the Himalayas and hang with Buddhist monks, however, I made the time to sit quietly, plan, relax, breathe and have fun.

Here is my routine to success (or sanity) 

  • Start the day with YOU

Scarfing down breakfast while responding to emails and rushing out of the house is so unproductive. Instead, wake up a little earlier and give yourself time to jumpstart the day. During this time don’t allow emails, texts, social media, or any other distractions. This time is solely about you and your thoughts.

  • Write it out and give gratitude

While sipping my coffee I write down all my thoughts and worries. This might seem daunting but writing down your worries actually makes them seem more manageable. This process is a great form of release and most times it helps you come up with a solution. After I am done I write a short gratitude entry. This includes everything I am happy or grateful for. Seriously folks, this really changes your attitude. This is so therapeutic and has changed my life forever.  When you try this you will be forever grateful. (see what I did there?)

  • Plan, plan and plan again

Planning everything in a business is a must. After your morning notes take time to look at your schedule for the day. Fail to plan and plan to fail kind of thing. This will help resolve conflicts and organize your day. I do this with my personal life and business since they always overlap. I plan my free time. This might sound silly but if I have learned anything from being a workaholic it is that you have to PLAN TO HAVE FUN.

  • Take the day off

There will be days that your body or mind just needs a break. Listen to your body. You’re a business owner and you will always have work to do, its inevitable. Your task list isn’t going anywhere but there are times when you are running on empty and need to recharge. When I am feeling like I am getting run down I clear my day. I rather sleep and rest a day then be sick for an entire week. Take the time for yourself when you need it.

  • Practice what you preach

We like telling our clients to get their rest, stay hydrated, eat healthy, sleep 8 hours a night, and exercise regularly but it is astonishing how many health practitioners don’t take their own advice. My health and wellness is my priority and it should be yours. My energy and focus have been amazing since I make sure my meals are healthy, my sleep is adequate and I am moving and recovering daily. Practice what you preach.

  • Hard Stop—“Work Hours” 

This is something I have been culminating over the years. I have an end of the workday hard stop. Usually it’s at 7pm and sometimes 9pm if there is a particular time sensitive project I am working on. I stop, put my phone away and just unwind. I have employees, customers, friends, and colleagues that all know that I do not respond to emails or phone calls after 7 pm. Once you set those boundaries your quality of life will improve dramatically. Put your mobile device in the other room, turn off alerts, and unplug from the matrix. Spend time with a loved one, even if that loved one is you. If you respect your time so will everyone else.

These are some of the tools and practices that have given me sanity through the craziest of times. We are entrepreneurs, employers, leaders, and coaches. We need to take action in our own lives so we can lead by example. Learn to take care of your health and well-being so everything else can follow. Give yourself as much as you do to your business and clients.

 

 

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Joe Barbagallo is the owner of Joe Barbagallo Fitness training systems; a New York City based coaching service that focuses on fat loss, performance, and strength. His clients include professional athletes, actors, models, and mixed martial artists. Joe also is the co-owner of the film production company Planet Nerd Rage Productions. He is currently in production working with his comic book idol Larry Hama of GI Joe shooting their latest film “Ghost Source Zero!”

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What Is A Cooperative?

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Three years ago I took over a little Pilates studio in Union Square, called Union Square Pilates. I painted the walls, changed the name, and hung some art, and voila- FORM Pilates Union Square was born. I had absolutely no idea how things would evolve, butI wasn’t worried. I knew what I didn’t want- a factory like studio pumping out clients and controlling  what other teachers taught. I was clear on what I DID want- a studio to bring my clients to that was clean, happy, had a wonderful vibe, as well as a place where the Pilates community could come together instead of pushing each other apart.  So like one of my favorite quotes, “I dream because there is no other way I can see it happen” I dreamed big and boom- I saw it happen.

 

I first heard of the concept of a cooperative in the context of the grocery store, the Park Slope Coop. Members agree to work once every month in exchange for discounts on healthy fare. Very cool I thought and that planted a seed. Then through a woman’s networking group I heard about a shared workspace in the city called In Good Company. It was a place female entrepreneurs come to work, meet, and learn. Cut to two years into my owning FORM USQ and it kind of sounded like what I was inadvertently doing- renting out my space so other instructors could build and incubate their businesses under mine. I wanted a place we could be a community, so like they say, “your dream job does not exist you must create it”, and I did.

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The true definition of a cooperative is an autonomous group of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit. People have been cooperating since the beginning of time. Tribes were organized as cooperative structures, allocating jobs and resources among each other. Bottom line is that cooperatives are a good thing, but why weren’t there any for Pilates instructors? Why were we being left out?

 

The daunting costs of NYC commercial rent, equipment prices, and the shear need for space to house a proper studio keeps wannabe Pilates soloprenuers from branching out on their own. In a sprawling metropolis like New York my colleagues needed a place to bring their clients and work out of. Notoriously divided, Pilates people can be snotty and pretentious. They can be afraid of sharing and living in a world of lack instead of embracing abundance. I refused to believe that’s all there is. What if you could come as you are, with the type of clients that “get” your style, and build a thriving business without going into a mountain of debt. No reason why not so, after months of building our new structure with my team, the FORM Pilates Cooperative was born.

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At FORM you can join our cooperative at one of two levels. As a Drop-In member who sees less than 10 clients a week but is looking to build, or as a Subscriber who already has a full practice, 15+ clients a week, but wants to maximize their time, profit, and diversify their revenue streams. As their fearless leader, I offer office hours, group coaching, and one-on-one consultations to help supplement the practical training we received in our certifications with business savvy. As a fully functioning Pilates studio, we also receive inquiries from potential clients and match them with their ideal Pilates instructor. The client can continue to shop around and work with several cooperative members or if it’s a match made in heaven, the teacher can take on the client as their own. This approach makes for both happy clients AND teachers.

 

We are excited to be the first Pilates Cooperative in NYC!

Want more info on how our cooperative works or an application to join our team? Email us today!