Two years ago, I launched my business and brand as the Chief Dreaming Officer of Sanders Board Preparatory and the face of The Dental WINEgenist.
I have no business degree, I didn’t grow up in a family of entrepreneurs and, needless to say, I had a lot to learn about the daunting world of entrepreneurship.
Despite my seemingly unprepared beginnings, lack of formal training and calculated, Type-A personality, I have proudly built a growing, multi-faceted business and brand from the ground up. As my business continues to grow, I am oftentimes asked how I did it. Through a Facebook message or Instagram DM, I’m asked to deliver the “secret sauce”, if you will, in how I studied, understood and executed the steps necessary to scale my own professional goals within my business.
I wish it were that simple…
I’m here to share that, to my knowledge, there isn’t really a “secret sauce” that guarantees success. To that, I say THANK GOODNESS, because I am HORRIBLE at following directions and would have likely added too much paprika or cilantro to that sauce, leaving much to be desired and a bad taste in my mouth.
In a random twist of fate, however, I was working out at the gym the other day and realized that while there perhaps isn’t a “secret sauce”, I recognize that I have developed a plethora of positive habits that have served my business well, and these habits are ones that I learned from my journey to personal wellness.
I’ve been an AVID Jazzercise addict for almost five years now, and I am eternally grateful for the ways in which Jazzercise has given me strength, endurance and sheer empowerment to step into my own skin with confidence. Throughout my sweat sessions, I quickly began to recognize the gorgeous nuggets of wisdom, drive and determination that I have gathered from my time dancing with these incredible women (and one male instructor named John). While there is no “secret sauce”, per say, perhaps there are unique and transferrable lessons that life has delivered to me through my experience of personal wellness that have, in turn, helped me grow my business and brand to great success…
So here it is: perhaps not the “secret sauce” you were looking for, but rather, the “protein shake” so to speak of how I powdered my business with strength, hydrated my business with inspiration and shook up my brand as inspired by my personal wellness journey with Jazzercise:
How Jazzercise Inspired My Business
Half the battle is showing up
How many of us admittedly pay for a monthly gym membership that we simply do not use? I cannot tell you how many times a glass of wine and ‘Friends’ reruns sounded better than putting on workout pants and sweating. But the truth remains: there is something to be said for the dedication involved in simply showing up. To show up means you are prioritizing, and thereby dedicating your precious time to bettering yourself.
In the same way, my dedication to my business is constantly being tested. Would I rather be out for Thirsty Thursday with friends? Yes of course! Heck yea, Taco Tuesday sounds awesome! But this proposal isn’t going to write itself, and I can sure as hell guarantee you that my email inbox isn’t getting any younger, so its “I wish I could, but can’t” for now because, as Dave Ramsey says, “live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later”…or something like that…
The other half of the battle is being committed
Let’s be honest – you can half-ass anything… your work, your relationship, your workout. The reality is: I didn’t get where I am, physically, by pretending to do the moves, reducing the intensity of my workout or by choosing the lighter weights. I dedicate my hour (because that is what it is – MY hour) to committing to myself, to getting stronger and to challenging myself. This means I bring my knees up higher, I stand taller, I flex harder and I select the higher weights because at the end of the day, this ginger wants a fully flexed ass.
Within my business, this means I go the extra mile. I don’t release an article just because “done is better than good”. I don’t launch a course that is “good enough” and I certainly would never sign my name to something that didn’t feel authentic. I spend the extra time to write a thoughtful email, I put additional effort into ensuring my slides look fabulous and I spend countless hours researching the heck out of my content so that I know it forward and backward. What is that saying: “always go the extra mile, it’s never crowded”…
You schedule the things that are important to you
I get it. We are all busy. Between work, sitting in traffic and our families, it can be difficult to squeeze in a workout. Here’s the thing: we make time for the things that are important. I work full time as a clinical dental hygienist, run my own business, write articles, respond to emails, and travel for business so yes, there are days when I simply cannot make it to Jazzercise. However, I will also be the first to schedule my business calls AROUND my workout because you see, if I don’t value taking care of myself, who knows how much longer I’ll have to do everything I want to do.
I have found that, within my business, this means I am diligent, mindful and respectful of my own time. I cannot tell you how many times people email me with an opening line of: “I know you’re busy but…”.
Yes, Karen, I am busy, but I make time for the things that are important.
Not only do I schedule my workouts, but I am intentional about the tasks I need to complete. Between my to-do list, “get shit done” playlist and ability to send quick emails while stopped at a stoplight (no, I’m not proud of that but it is what it is) I am driven to stay highly productive.
Admittedly, I am not perfect with this and recognize that there are times when I simply need to be in a creative mindset to address tasks within my business. For example, I’ve been chipping away at this blog post for the past six months because, well, I write it when I get an ounce of inspiration. It isn’t a perfect system, but it works for me.
There are times in Jazzercise when we are expected to balance ourselves during strength training. The ability to hold your beautiful body upright while standing on one leg, performing a layout or arabesque, tests your core strength to no end. While a strong core helps, deep focus is also required. As a trained dancer, I understand the importance of focusing on one spot within the room, and using that as my target to focus on while my core remains strong.
In the development of a business, having a strong core is imperative. No matter how the winds push your sails, a strong core will keep you grounded and, in turn, connected to your “why”. However, the other side of the coin involves remaining focused. All too easily (particularly with the easy access to social media), distractions present themselves and can quickly derail this focus. As the leader of my business, I have learned to trust the strength of my core and remain focused on my “WHY’ because, as Simon Sinek says: “Great leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand the art before the science. They win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY”.
Plateauing means you need to seek a greater challenge
About 40 minutes into our workout, we switch from high-intensity cardio to strength training. After all: strength training not only improves posture and balance but also prevents chronic degenerative diseases such as Osteoporosis. Through grit teeth, we move through working our arms, abs, legs and glutes with the use of weights, an exercise ball, floorwork and/or resistance bands. At one point, the instructor always advises us: “if this feels too easy, go up a weight size or increase your resistance”.
What a beautiful metaphor that is – to constantly keep yourself challenged by reaching for higher goals to continue growing and pushing against greater resistance to build strength.
There often are times during our strength training that our instructor will require us to lift our weights over our heads. It is in those moments that our heart rate intentionally increases, and while we all feel the additional challenge in working against gravity, I recognize how much this has paralleled my business endeavors. It is in the moments when I am pushing myself harder, pushing beyond what I can see and intentionally creating a greater challenge that the nerves of an increased heart rate are quickly followed by increased strength and stamina in my work. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” ~Arnold Schwarzenegger
Let them stare
When I first started attending Jazzercise, I must admit, I felt a bit uncomfortable. From the moment I walked in and throughout the class sessions, I felt like everyone was staring at me. At first, I thought it was because I was the “new girl” in a well-established gym. However, as I continued to attend classes, the staring continued. Finally, one day I came home from the gym with my head hung low.
“What’s wrong babe?” Jimmy asked.
“I feel like everyone stares at me at Jazzercise and I don’t know why”
Jimmy looked at me, smiled and said: “do you think it might be because you hold countless ariZONI and musical theatre awards for choreography?”
I was confused, after all, what did that have to do with anything?
Jimmy reminded me that I needed to shake that awkward freckle-faced Midwest ginger I grew up as and recognize that I carry myself as a passionate, energetic and poised businesswoman. People were staring, not because they were poking fun at my boney elbows or frizzy hair but maybe it’s because they admired the way I executed the dance moves with a unique jive.
Shortly after this revelation, I began to understand that Jimmy was right. People would come up to me and share that they love standing behind me in class to watch my moves, and even asked why I’m not an instructor.
You see, it’s not a competition and most people simply aren’t trying to take you down or make you feel uncomfortable but rather admire you. So, in my business, I let people stare. I openly share what I can with others about what I’m doing. I will disclose what I’ve done that works, and what hasn’t worked for me. I will empower and support others who are stepping into this same space and, maybe, just want to stand behind me and watch my moves for a little bit because, at the end of the day, we all have our own groove.
Find inspiration in others
Last week was a LONG week. I was drained when I arrived to my Interval Fusion class, and quite frankly, I just wasn’t feeling it. “Maybe I should have just gone home and poured a glass of wine” I thought to myself as I began half-assing the warm-up routine. Just as I was really beginning to feel sorry for myself, the music kicked in. Because I snuck in late, I didn’t get to my usual “spot” and as such, I happened to be positioned behind a new face to Jazzercise. Her name is Emily.
Emily is like a high-energy fitness goddess from Venus. She is beautiful, and strong and talented, and clearly she was enjoying the heck out of her workout.
With each passing song, I marveled at how majestic she is, how intensely she was focusing on the music and how much she was getting out of her workout. In turn, I noticed a greater bounce in my step, my knees coming up higher and slowly, a huge grin crawled across my face. By the end of my hour with Jazzercise (and Emily), I felt amazing! I felt strong, I felt in control and I felt gratitude. The stresses of the week were far behind me, and I couldn’t even remember what was bothering me before I arrived.
As a business owner, I find entrepreneurship to be incredibly lonely from time to time. We are so isolated from the rest of the world and while sometimes that is a good thing, it can often lead to us being stuck in our own heads. I am eternally grateful for the brilliant minds I get to work with; the incredible souls I call, text or email when I’ve got something on my mind and cannot shake it without getting their gorgeous brains on board with my ideas – you know who you are – without you, I wouldn’t be anywhere near half the person I am today, and it is because of your inspiration and support that I am continually driven to grow, work harder and do so with a huge grin across my face.
Detoxing is important
One of my favorite parts of Jazzercise is the toxin-draining sweat I lose during a workout. Between the release of icky toxic particles such as heavy metal toxins, urea, and pollutants, to name a few, and the gorgeous cascade of euphoric endorphins, I look to Jazzercise as a detoxifying and cleansing experience. After a sweat session, I feel more focused, awake, alive and inspired. It is after a sweat session that my thoughts are elevated, my brain is working in overdrive and I am truly the best version of myself.
I hate to say it, but while I love so many aspects of my business, there absolutely are aspects of any business that are toxic and draining. This could come in the form of demanding or needy clients, unkind or unappreciative colleagues or social media trolls whose insecurities pair perfectly with jealousy and vanity, creating an aura of negativity. We aren’t all cut from the same cloth, and while I pride myself in genuinely wanting to give to others and support my colleagues as much as I possibly can, I recognize that there are others out there who are incapable of being happy and supportive of others. While many say “don’t sweat it”, I disagree… SWEAT THEM OUT in a major detox way!
I’ve found that the more I carefully detoxify by removing the aspects and tasks of my business and the people around me that do not inspire and empower me, I am far more aligned with my “WHY”. It is in those moments that I see my business with true clarity and am able to create the space necessary for the tasks, projects and special humans who I hold close to me.
Fuel yourself with nourishment
I grew up in the eighties as a Flintstones kid: Dino was the best one – someone prove me wrong. Somewhere between Mom putting my vitamins out for me every morning and the hungover mornings of undergrad, I forgot about the importance of fueling my body with the nourishment it needs.
Let’s face it: our bodies are amazing, and they deserve to be nourished with nutrient-dense foods, vitamins, minerals, hydration and self-care. I can confidently say that the mornings I wake up hydrated, take my vitamins, plan a healthy meal, indulge in a deep-tissue massage and enjoy an Epsom salt bath, I am more centered. In turn, I recognize that I am stronger during Jazzercise and far more effective in my dedication to strength training and high-intensity cardio work.
The same is absolutely true in business.
I wish I could say that being a female entrepreneur new to the business world is filled with marshmallows and gum drops and rainbows, but unfortunately it is not… atleast not always. You won’t find many openly discussing it, but while owning a business looks like Calvin Klein dresses, designer handbags, champagne, and American Express Platinum benefits, I’ve got news: owning a business is NOT sexy. Behind all of the glitz and glamor of social media are spreadsheets, Quickbooks invoicing, early mornings, late nights and everything in between, it is easy to burn out.
It is in those moments that I recognize I need to nourish myself.
So I book a happy hour with colleagues, call a friend, book a pedicure, catch up on some Netflix documentaries on the couch with the dogs, or simply read a book. I listen to my intuition and ensure I am energizing myself with the right things to protect my energy and fuel my vitality.
If you’re gonna fall on your ass, make sure that ass is glorious
Here’s the truth – Jazzercise attracts women (and an occasional dude) from all walks of life. These women have all different body types, genetics and physiological conditions. They are of different ages, races and personal and professional backgrounds. They all come to Jazzercise for different reasons and they all have different fitness goals. Despite these differences, they all have two things in common: they are simply amazing souls and they all have luscious rear ends. Yep, I said it!
Jazzercise focuses on ensuring our heart muscles and lungs can withstand the cardiovascular work outs, that our muscles and bones are resilient enough to withstand strength training, and that we have magnificent behinds that fill out our Lululemon pants. If you think I’m joking, take a class and dance in the back row – the cheeky display is first-rate in my humble opinion.
Let’s face it: a woman with a fabulous fanny has a better posture, her marvelous rump gives her greater confidence, and her delicious derriere turns heads. Keeping her strength behind her and her eyes forward, she is unwavering in anything the world may throw at her, because she knows she has what it takes to withstand the storm. I can think of no better way to approach business and life than that!
In June of 2019, Jazzercise celebrated 50 years of empowering and revitalizing men and women through a combination of cardiovascular and strength training. For half a century, Jazzercise has combined dancing with Pilates, hip hop, yoga and kickboxing to deliver calorie-burning choreographed classes that strengthen, tone and tighten.
The mission of Jazzercise embodies a philosophy around creating stronger, happier and healthier lives while drawing on inspiration to motivate and evolving through innovation. It is no wonder that for over 5 decades, the Jazzercise brand has continued to evolve and grow: its WHY is tethered to something greater than leotards and legwarmers.
I encourage you to find inspiration in all that surrounds you, and use that inspiration to drive you to professional and personal greatness fueled with intention. I am eternally grateful for the inspiration Jazzercise has provided and will continue to provide in empowering me, making me feel strong and preparing me for my future both as a business owner and woman.
If you have an interest in boosting your mood, strengthening your body and toning your tight-end, please check out www.jazzercise.com to find a gym near you. Tell them the Dental WINEgenist sent you! Cheers.