Upon my marriage to my love Jake, birth of my son JJ, and pending arrival of my second son - life has me feeling a certain kinda way (or maybe just the hormones?). I've watched my baby grow into a rambunctious, high energy, independent, and spirited 11-month old who is literally running around. It makes me realize how quickly life passes us by, and how much I need to appreciate what I have around me while I have it. This goes for my personal and business life. You see, what I do for a living is a lot different than your stereotypical college graduate career path. I don't get to unplug as soon as I walk out the door. My business is personal. I spend holidays, family vacations, events, and baby milestones at my phone or computer trying to answer emails, get promotions scheduled, ordering/designing poisewear, tending to social media, and then there's class planning and choreography. I walk out the door of Studio Poise and before I leave the parking lot am already checking my emails. Let's just say life can get a little out of control. It sounds like I am complaining. Let me assure, I'm not. The crazy is what makes it fun, what makes life worth living, and what keeps me motivated. However, there needs to be a balance, and this is where I struggle. When does family come before Studio Poise vs. Studio Poise before family?
I look around my ZUMBA class on Tuesday nights and 40% of the room is full of women who were with me before there was a Studio Poise, or even a thought of it. The women who would drive all the way to the Beverly Roller Palace to dance on the skate floor with me, and several other locations throughout Massachusetts. These women come from all over Greater Boston, not just the North Shore, to come to at least one of my classes per week - STILL, and every week for almost 10 years.
Sarah O'Keefe was one of the very first instructors I ever hired. Over 4 years, a Nursing Degree, and several job and location changes, she's still here, #poisestrong. Not one of my staff has been with me less than a year, and most have been around for about 3 of our 4.5 year existence. I've watched some of these women like Chrissy Clawson, Lindsey Quigley, Stephanie Smith, Courtney Falite, and Crystal Gubelman go from hardcore client, to kick-ass Instructress. I think of people like Krissy Rybicki, who is changing the lives of young people through dance in one of our country's most violent and struggling inner cities - and marvel at the fact that she always manages to fit in her return trip to SP every time she is home to visit family. I've met clients who came in upon receiving an engagement ring, and now they are sitting in my Poised & Preggo class expecting their first or second baby. I remember the day Colleen Myers walked into her first class with me back in March of 2013 (I looked that up, I didn't voluntarily remember the date, lol), and while her fixed presence isn't as constant, she has played such a major behind-the-scenes role in the upkeep of SP (and frankly, kept my sanity for the past 2 years) and belief in not only the studio, but in me. I look at clients like Sam Selig, whom I knew before SP and watched her pop in, pop out, buy classes, late cancel, and never quite commit - but almost 5 years later, has become the self-proclaimed mayor of SP and lives life now with 169lb weight lifted off her shoulders thanks to her time with Studio Poise. I've seen clients be completely vulnerable and helpless; ball their eyes out (and I've joined them) in the kick-off meetings of 6 Weeks to Chic years ago. Today I watch these same clients stand up front and center in classes, and never think twice about who they are and what they're capable of doing for the next hour.
People, memories, and daily occurrences like this do not just happen by chance, and it is because of stories like these that I struggle with separating family and business - because Studio Poise is my family. The dedication to this dream by people like Diana Davis, Janie Soehl, Erica Ferrell, Kelsey Menici, Ali White and Brittany Rogers - that is what separates Studio Poise from so many other places. I think all the time, despite the craziness, how lucky I am to return to a place every single day that I just cannot get enough of, even at 9 months pregnant! Special people, good energy, hard work, and love - that is what encompasses me every single day. It's not always easy, and it's not always gumdrops and roses - and life never will be. There will be struggle, there will be heartache, there will be anger and hard feelings. But, as the saying goes, love conquers all. In the case of me and Studio Poise, I will always have a love for what I do and for my little studio in a basement in Lynnfield that far outweighs any business model I've learned about in my undergrad or graduate education.
One hard, true, don't try to mess with lesson I've learned about life over the past 10 years or so is that love is a two-way street. Make no ifs, ands, or buts about it - love doesn't work without reciprocation. And with that, I thank you #poisenation, for returning the love I have day in and day out. From each and every one of the instructresses, to those who have attended only one class. At the end of the day, it's just a workout studio; a "gym" as outsiders often refer to it. Any maybe it is just that, but it has a pulse - and you never let it die.
This week, and every day of your life - I hope you take the time to reflect. Reflect on what you are doing each day that is simply flashing before your eyes without you even knowing it. What are you thankful for, and what makes you tick? What drives you absolutely insane, but you could not live without? There is a sweat, a sparkle, and a smile hidden within our daily routine. If there wasn't, we wouldn't do it. Appreciate these things.... and tell them you love them.
Happy Thanksgiving, Studio Poise & Families!
PS - You still have time to tell us what you're thankful for this year! Click here to share.