If You Want to Achieve Greatness...

(This post was originally published in January 2014.) Happy New Year everyone!  Here's a post I did a few weeks back for the Lexington Power Yoga blog.  I thought I would share it with you here.  I hope you are feeling fulfilled and inspired in this new year.  If you're looking for a great book to help fan your creative flames, please read on for one of my all time favorites.

Last December I hit a rough patch.  In the wake of some very tragic events in the news, I became depressed.  In addition to that, an undercurrent of dissatisfaction had been lingering in me. This would often show up in the form of sour grapes when I saw what others were doing in their careers.

Last December I hit a rough patch.  In the wake of some very tragic events in the news, I became depressed.  In addition to that, an undercurrent of dissatisfaction had been lingering in me. This would often show up in the form of sour grapes when I saw what others were doing in their careers.

EVERY TIME I LOGGED ONTO SOCIAL MEDIA I CAME AWAY FEELING AWFUL.

It seemed like ‘everyone’ was doing BIG things.  I knew I should feel happy for my friends and colleagues, but mostly I just felt left out.

Luckily, I went in search of healing for a bothersome hamstring issue with a talented acupuncturist and body worker that winter.  When she looked at me, she saw that something deeper was wrong.  She noticed my low energy and sadness immediately.  She asked me what projects I was working on.

SHE ASKED ME WHY I WASN’T PERFORMING, WRITING, OR CREATING, POINTING OUT THAT MY FACE HAD LIT UP AT THE VERY MENTION OF THE SUBJECT.

In addition to some excellent acupuncture, body work, and vitamin D, she gave me a reading assignment: The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

Is there a more overused descriptor than ‘life-changing?’Never mind, I don’t care!  There is no better way to describe my experience with this book.If I am lucky, the legacy I hope to leave will be to have written a book that changes lives as this book has done for me.It may have just been the right message at the right time, but I was transformed by this very important piece of work.

I won’t spoil it by trying to recreate the book’s message.It wouldn’t do it justice, and anyway, you could easily read it cover-to-cover in one day.It is concise, riveting and to the point.The author seemed to be personally calling me out on the fact that there was something better, more authentic, more inspiring that I wanted to be doing, and that I wasn’t doing it.The book also showed me that the key to doing it was already inside me.

At an event earlier that December, I’d been prompted to come up with a mantra that would serve me well in the face of challenges.I couldn’t quite articulate it yet but I knew it had something to do with giving myself approval instead of seeking it from others.Soon after reading The War of Art, I happened upon an image created by street artist Eddie Colla.The image read:

IF YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE GREATNESS, STOP ASKING FOR PERMISSION.

Just like that, I had found my mantra.

One of the things I knew after finishing The War of Art was that being an entrepreneur was important to me, and it was time to stop avoiding it.  I saw that a huge boom in the fitness world was happening around barre workouts.  I had been teaching this method for 6 years, often trying to explain it to people who had never heard of it.  Now this cult favorite in which I had spent thousands of hours was becoming a mainstream trend.

I saw many businesses trying to offer barre, and honestly, they didn’t seem to be doing it very well.  Some instructors I spoke to mentioned one-weekend trainings.  I couldn’t imagine how anyone could learn in a weekend what it took me hundreds of hours to learn, and to teach to other trainees in my former role as a manager and teacher trainer for a large fitness corporation.  I knew there was no reason to stand on the sidelines.

I WOULD CREATE MY OWN BARRE AND YOGA BUSINESS, ONE THAT STOOD NOT ONLY FOR EXCELLENCE BUT ALSO FOR HUMANITY, INSPIRATION, AND CONNECTION.

By the end of January, the seed of Barre & Soul began to sprout.  In May, I taught the first Barre & Soul class at Lexington Power Yoga, always loving the Lexington Yoga community!  By August, I was the owner of my own studio (Barre & Soul Studio, formerly B Yoga Center of Melrose), and in October I brought Barre & Soul to Equinox in Boston.  I can’t wait to see what is next for this venture!

These days, when I have time to look at social media, I am no longer jealous of the accomplishments of others.  My life is not perfect, but I love it.  I feel empowered.  Being an entrepreneur leaves me feeling self-expressed and fulfilled, and I know this is only the beginning of a long and creative career.

I think for a long time, I had been waiting for some kind of green light to get started.  As though I would receive a tap on the shoulder when it was my turn.  Thankfully, I realized that this is rarely the way things work.  If we want to do something great, we only need to give ourselves permission to start.  I’m so happy I did.