That’s a hard one for me. When I have an idea or want to do something, I want it NOW. And I generally believe that I can get it done or make it happen. So, when I have to wait on someone else, or live by their timeline, it can be SO frustrating!
Today is October 10th, and in my calendar, I had October 5th as our target open date for the new studio. UGH!!!! And as it stands today… the studio is just sitting there waiting for a contractor to get working! The picture here is what it looks like. We taped the floor almost 6 weeks ago and nothing has happened since!

Of course, by “nothing” I don’t mean “nothing”… there have been countless other things that have been going on that have all been making progress towards opening. We had the most amazing architect do our plans, the people at the city have been THE BEST, and we had our first Sign-Up event to introduce ourselves to Ventura (we had several people show up and SIGN UP!) and our next event is this weekend. We’ve also been training 6 amazing women who will be barre{tenders} at both locations. Oh, and we’ve been running the existing studio… all very busy, and very rewarding.

But, when I sit here and actually think about the fact that the Ventura location is just an empty room and no work is being done, it makes me a little crazy! Why can’t contractors call back? Why can’t they keep their word? Why are they all so damn expensive???? I’ve got 3 new guys (one I met with this morning, 2 are coming tomorrow) and as always, I have high hopes! The guy I met today was great – really nice, smart, seemed eager to do the job (but then again, they all do!). I’m sending him the info I’ve sent 6 or 7 other guys and I hope and pray that he comes back with a reasonable price and timeline.


They say hindsight is 20/20… after having my current studio for 5 years, I’m definitely no expert, but at least I have perspective. When I opened in 2014, I was supposed to open the doors in April of that year. We ended up opening FOUR months later! At the time, I remember feeling completely out of control and miserable over those lost months. But in hindsight, 5 years later, none of it mattered. We opened, people came, and we’ve continued to grow. That knowledge is the only thing that is keeping me sane right now.

Shannon (my bestie) has a sign on her wall that her mom gave her. It says something to the effect of “Everything happens on time and exactly when it should.” I saw that in her house several years ago and it really struck me. It’s something I remind myself almost daily. Whether I’m struggling with something one of my kids is doing, or with something happening at the studio – I tell myself everything happens on time and exactly when it should. It calms me down. It reminds me that I am not in control. And it reminds me to have patience.

If you are like me… if you own a business, if you are working your ass off raising a family, if you’re doing all the things to make a better life… you’re a hustler. And hustlers don’t do well with patience because we MOVE. We need to be doing something. And what I’ve learned recently (and am trying daily to put into practice) is to take the time that is forced upon me (in my current case, the time that is seemingly being “wasted” by these contractors) and be productive in other ways. If you listen to Brendan Burchard, you know he talks about the idea of “who needs me to show up today?” I love this, because over the past several weeks, instead of focusing on ME, and on the time that is going by, I’ve been trying hard to think “who needs me?” and it has changed my perspective! As I said above, we are training 6 phenomenal humans to be barre{tenders} and it has been A LOT! So many hours coaching, observing, reviewing… but that’s about me and my time. What I love about shifting my perspective to them is knowing that they are giving it 100% and they need me to show up for THEM! Yes, I am an open book, so there are times when I show up and I vent my frustrations a bit, but for the most part the energy I’ve been able to re-direct into them has set me free in a sense from the worry of timelines and contracts and buildouts. At the end of the day, I fall asleep knowing that I showed up for someone who needed me, they are making HUGE progress, which in turn is making progress for me.

And as a business owner, that’s how it goes, right? So many things “behind the curtain” but when you show up for your team, HOW WILL YOU SHOW UP? Maybe you don’t own a business, but you run a team at work, or a FAMILY at home! How will you show up? Who needs you today? Who needs you to have patience?
And if you need to practice more patience, what can that look like for you? We all know great things never happen over night and we are told to “enjoy the journey.” THAT IS SO FREAKING HARD when you’re in the weeds! And when you don’t yet have that perspective, when you aren’t at the point in your journey to look back on anything, it can be disheartening. But here’s the thing – we’ve all been through shit that was hard and that we didn’t think we would have the patience to get through – and we did. I try to teach my kids about delayed gratification. It’s one of the hardest lessons to learn, but so rewarding! And all it takes is patience.

So, just before I started writing this, I opened my calendar and circled December 7th as our new projected date (November 16th was on there, but that’s not happening!). I think there is a fine balance between goal setting and patience to reach the goal… and having flexibility along the way. I know I WANT to open on December 7th and I will do everything in my power to make it happen. But when the things that are out of my control creep up, I will remind myself to have patience and re-direct my energy. Forward motion is progress no matter what!

In the meantime, I will continue to ask “who needs me to show up today?” and I will be present for them. I know that in 5 years from today, I will have a thriving studio in Ventura and the difference between October 5th and December 7th will have nothing to do with the success of the business. But the people I hire and the time I put into growing and nurturing my staff will be everything! And that’s my ultimate goal, so THAT is where my energy will lie… as I wait patiently for the contractors to get back to me!

Have a wonderfully productive day!
Much love,


{Last 90 days of the DECADE}

October 1st… Day one of the last 90 days of the year (shout out to all my Rachel Hollis fans!) and even more crazy – the last 90 days of the DECADE! I heard that yesterday from Rachel Hollis (yes, I’m a fan girl!) and it gave me chills. Then I announced it in classes at the studio and each time I said it, I got chills! WHY??? Why is this one little bit of info hitting me so hard? I think it’s because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what the next 10 years is going to look like for me and my family. And the fact that we are literally at the end of one decade, heading into the next, with a world of hope and possibility laid out before me – I get a little emotional!

So, what will the next 10 years look like for you? For me, you know I’ve got my studio in Newbury Park. I’m excited to continue to grow and nurture that. I’m also about to open my second studio in Ventura, so that’s going to be a big part of my next 10. But also, I’m a self-improvement junkie! I get so excited by a new book or podcast with someone giving me great advice on how I can live my best life. I know, that sounds so cheesy – but I really do love it! You know – I already talked about all the crazy Netflix specials I watch (speaking of which – go watch “Losing Sight of Shore.” WOW. That’s all – just WOW.)

I can get really lost in my big plans for the next 10 years, but what I am loving right now is the idea of just focusing on the next 90 days. Too many times I have gotten to the end of the year and just basically said “F” it! I eat too much, I drink too much and I don’t get enough sleep. I don’t focus on my big goals because there are too many THINGS and hey, that’s what new years resolutions are for, right? I tell myself each year that all this ‘fun” I’m having will all get straightened out come January 1st (or January 2nd if we’re being honest!) because “you gotta live!”

But while I’m eating, drinking and being merry, what I’m feeling is tired, sluggish, and headachy. How is anyone able to start strong in January feeling like this!? I can’t tell you how many New Years Eve’s I went to bed feeling gross (having ate and drank too much because “this was my last night! I start tomorrow!”) with the best intentions of changing everything the next day…and it just doesn’t work that way. How do I know? Because it happens to me every year – and this year I am determined to make a change. I am determined to live the next 90 days with intention to get myself to the end of the year feeling so damn good I will be unstoppable!

This idea resonates with me so much right now because of how much I have on my plate. I know that there is absolutely no way I will accomplish what I want to accomplish without getting my shit together now! I don’t have time to wait until January… and frankly, I want more for myself NOW!

I know this is not how all of you experience the holidays – or life in general! My husband, for example can pretty easily turn down sweets or at least have one or two without mowing through the whole plate! And he is pretty consistent with his workouts. But when I get busy and stressed, I’ll grab cookies (sugar is my drug!) or easily skip a workout. This might sound strange coming from someone who owns a fitness studio! But I GET IT! It’s freakin’ hard to keep up a workout routine when you are busy, and let’s face it WE ARE ALL BUSY! Life is not any easier for any of us, we just have different things to deal with – all of which fight for a big chunk of time every day!

That’s why I’m writing this here – I am committing to myself – in front of you – that I will be intentional over the next 90 days. I will arrive in 2020 feeing healthy, happy and strong! This is the promise I am making to myself: limit sugar and alcohol, go to bed earlier, move at least 30 minutes a day (no exception), meditate for 10 minutes every day, and be present where my feet are (one last RH shout out for that one!).

How about you? Will you commit with me? I’ve created a daily tracker that I’m using to help stay the course. Email me at cindi@fierceabundance.com if you want a copy!

So, 2020 is now only 89 days away… I cannot WAIT to do everything in my power to arrive on January 1st as the best version of myself!


{go all in}

I have to say, I’m so happy right now! I spent many frustrated hours this weekend trying to put the last two posts up on my actual blog (www.fierceabundance.com) and I figured it out! With Aris’ help, Google search – and some pointers that my sister gave me A FEW MONTHS AGO  – I did it! So here we are – my next post going straight to my website! Yay, me!

If you read my last post about finding your “why” and letting that help you push through your fear – you may be thinking – “ok, now what? I figured out my why, I’m sitting here crying about it – but I’m still freaking scared and don’t know what to do next!” Here’s what you do… GO. ALL. IN.

And… don’t have a back-up plan.

I know, I know – that’s not the responsible thing to say, that’s not what your mom would want to hear… but let me explain.

My friends and family know that I am an all or nothing person. I’m doing a cleanse? I go all in and have nothing but green juice for 3 days. I want to start running again? I sign up for a trail ½ marathon. And my biggest inspirations are watching crazy Netflix specials about people who juice for 30 days straight or unbelievable athletes that are doing things that are truly inconceivable! About a year ago I watched a documentary about the CrossFit Games – the next morning I went ALL OUT on my trail run. I started fantasizing about the possibility of running a triathlon that year (which I’ve never done, always wanted to, but now believed I would be the best damn triathlete ever after watching the bad ass women in that documentary). I was in my head planning my training schedule, running really fast downhill  – and I fell. I fell HARD. I flew – literally slow motion through the air – iPhone still attached to my headphone cord flying next to me – I went down full frontal, full dirt, pebbles in my mouth, blood down my arms! Luckily, I hit the ground evenly so the total overall force was absorbed across my body. I didn’t break anything (blessing #1), I didn’t hurt my face (blessing #2) but I was over a mile from my home in the middle of a trail that was at least ½ mile from the nearest house. And I was alone. I screamed F-bombs so loud I’m guessing I scared off a few coyotes! I got up, adrenaline rushing, and believe it or not ran home – fast! I ended up with a torn intercostal muscle between my ribs, and a completely scratched phone and iWatch, lots of “road rash” burns, and about 8 weeks of PT before I was back on the trail. But I went back. And I went all in. Again. I guess you can say I am addicted to the adrenaline and I have no patience! And that’s exactly how I approach my business. When I want something, I want it now and I will do what it takes to get it.

Here’s the thing – once you find what you love, you will have so much energy, you won’t have any other choice but to go all in! Right? When it comes to running – something I have loved for the past 30 years – I follow extreme humans like Dean Karnazes – he’s an ultra-marathoner and is my kind of crazy! I want to be him when I grow up! He runs so long and so far that he orders pizza delivery to meet him on some random street corner, orders the pizza uncut, rolls it up like a burrito and eats it while he keeps running! That is so ridiculous, but I am in love with his dedication! And recently, I watched a Netflix doc on a guy known as the Iron Cowboy – he did 50 Ironmans, in 50 states, in 50 days! WHAT???? Who does that? And WHY???? And I want to know ALL about it and I love that when I hear his story, it inspires me to believe that I could do that! Now, WILL I do that? Back to me being all or nothing – I can tell you with all my heart I WANT to do that, but with my age has come a small dose of reality – which isn’t always a bad thing. Now, instead of wanting to do the WHOLE thing, (like 50 triathlons) I got up the next morning and ran four miles along the same beautiful trail I took that horrible fall on last year and FELT like the bad ass I believe myself to be (even if I never complete a 50/50/50 Ironman challenge!).

And that’s the thing. That’s what I chase when I go all in on my dreams. The feeling that I CAN accomplish anything I put my mind to. I know there are people out there that can do it, so I ask “Why not me?” If that crazy human over there can do a thing – I can, too – and I’m going to kick that things ass!

And, I’m not going to have a back up plan. Now, reading that earlier might have made you mad. That’s ok. This part maybe pisses you off. The responsible part of you thinks “I HAVE to have a back up plan, what if it fails? I’ll need to have a Plan B”. Well, I ask you this… what would your back up plan be if you were stranded in a lifeboat? What would your Plan B be? I can tell you – YOU WOULDN’T HAVE ONE! Your Plan A would be to survive – the ONLY option! You would do everything in your power to figure it out and get back to your life on dry land! It’s the same thing with a big dream! You have to look at it as life or death – because it sort of is. As far as we know this is our one chance here on Earth. How bad would it suck to get to the end only to look back as say, “at least I always had a Plan B” instead of knowing that you went all in every time? That’s not to say that you won’t make mistakes and come up against huge roadblocks, but when there is no back-up plan, I guarantee you will figure out how to get it done – whatever your “it” is. So, when I have a dream that is big – that’s how I see it. There is no option for failure. When I opened my studio 5 years ago with absolutely no fitness background, there was no way I was entertaining any other option outside of complete success. I saw other people doing what I wanted to do and being successful at it – so there was no reason for me to fail. The only thing that would have allowed me to fail would have been a Plan B. Because as long as you have a Plan B, you will never be 100% ALL IN on your dream.

It’s scary. It will keep you up at night wanting to hurl. You will stand in the shower and cry (I hear that happens) wondering how you are going to keep at it. But, without another option, you will start to gain traction. You will have some really, REALLY good days. You will create relationships that are priceless. And you will wake up one day thinking “how did I ever live without this in my life?”

Now, how do you keep motivated through all those hard times when you aren’t giving yourself an “out?” You find people to motivate you, inspire you and keep you moving forward! You find people who have been where you are and can help shine a light in the direction you are going. That’s why I love watching those crazy documentaries I talked about earlier. I also read like a mad woman! And most recently, I’ve become addicted to podcasts by entrepreneurs who have been where I am – and who are where I want to go! If you want to know who I follow, DM me for a list of all the books I’ve read the past year and the podcasts I’m listening to! I get up early every single morning (even on Sundays!) and I have a very specific morning routine which includes a 2 mile walk. That’s when I plug in to a podcast and learn! Every morning I get home from my walk literally wanting to jump into whatever is on my agenda for the day! It fires me up to listen to successful people kicking ass! And I know that is how I want my life, my business, my relationships to be!

To have success in any area of your life, don’t have a back up plan. Make a deal with yourself that you will give this dream everything you have to make it work – and I’m telling you, it will work! It might take a lot of time, it will definitely take sacrifices and doing hard things you may not want to do in the moment, but if you keep your WHY in front of you and your passion stoked with inspiration around you, you will figure it out and you will succeed.

I hope that all made sense and I would love to continue the conversation! DM me with questions or comments and any thoughts you may have around this!

And please share this blog with your people if you think they’d be into it!

Have an amazing and productive day!

Much love,


{when fear is holding you back}

My WHY: Ari {18} and Max {15} in our happy place {Maui}

Hey, hey! I have been blown away by the response to this, you guys! Thank you for all your comments, encouragement and DM questions!

In thinking about what to talk about next, I figured the natural progression would be to talk about my decision to buy into a franchise, hire a staff and run a brick and mortar business – none of these things had I ever done before… so what gave me the courage or the right to believe I could? Sure, I had owned and operated my own businesses – both my first graphic design studio in Ventura where I mainly did custom wedding invitations, and my second graphic design studio which I ran out of my house were both relatively successful. And, even though I had hired and managed plenty of outside contractors in the form of photographers, illustrators and copy writers at my own studios as well as the larger companies I had worked for, I never had to worry about PAYROLL. I was either cutting a single check when the job was done, or someone else in the company I worked for worried about that (and paid ME!). I also never had to worry about hundreds of clients walking through my doors every day and making sure that the team that represented my vision was always… well, representing my vision! With the businesses I owned in the past, I really didn’t have anyone but myself to be accountable to. So, the leap from “solo-preneur” to full-fledged entrepreneur was seemingly a long leap – but I never saw it as one. I saw it as the next step.

Now – that said – don’t think for a minute that I walked into this “owning your own business” thing like a boss… and I don’t mean “being the boss”… I mean B.O.S.S.!!!! It took me years of trial and error before I became comfortable in the roll I have now. It took so many nights questioning my decisions, talking to my people, making HUGE mistakes, apologizing for stupid actions – but learning from all of it and trusting the journey. One of the biggest things I’ve learned over the past 5 years is to give myself more grace. Allowing for screw-ups and honestly thinking I’m doing the right thing and having to fix the mistake afterwards has made me realize that ALL of it is what makes a good leader. No human is perfect or can operate at the highest level 100% of the time. And when I hit a speed bump – I see it for what it is – time that I am forced to slow down and re-evaluate, make a course correction if necessary and move on. Believe me – there have been so many course corrections which I will share at some point.

But today, I want to address a common speed bump that a lot of people see as a road block… FEAR. After my last post, a client reached out privately. She is strongly considering opening a business of her own and of course has so many questions! But the underlying concern for every question she asked was her fear – fear of not having enough time, fear of losing money, fear of not having enough money – and at the core – a fear of not succeeding. I think most business owners have these fears at some level. But, the way I have been able to face them, deal with them and move forward is to get really connected to WHY I am doing this.
I mentioned in my first post my favorite quote by @getcoachmike: “If your why doesn’t make you cry, it’s not strong enough.” When I first heard him say this about 4 years ago, it hit me like a boulder! And of course, I immediately started crying sitting in a large conference surrounded by so many other people discretely wiping tears!

Here’s the deal – you need to dig so deep into your reason for what you are doing, that nothing can derail you. You need to have that reason at the very forefront of your mind so that every decision you make is guided by it. And by every decision – I mean EVERY decision – not JUST the hard ones. Even when I decide to serve mai tai’s at our staff meetings (yes – we actually call our big staff meetings “Mai Tai Meetings”) it’s because I am tapping into my WHY. And when I need to have a hard conversation with a team member or a client – that’s when I REALLY get serious about my WHY and sometimes even write it down and meditate on it before the conversation. So, before I give an example, maybe you want to know what my WHY is and how I got to it?

This is going to sound obvious and maybe to a lot of you it will sound like the easiest WHY ever, and something that could be written down and used by anyone with kids … but my WHY is my boys. But my WHY goes much deeper than just having kids to support. As I wrote my business plan, I did a lot of work on what my business was all about. Yes, I was opening a fitness studio – but WHY? Was it to make money? At the core of it, no. I knew this business wasn’t about getting rich, and on the contrary it took more than 3 years before I began paying myself regularly. And to this day there are pay cycles that I cut my paycheck amount in half, or wait a full two weeks before cashing it! So, no – it definitely was not about making a lot of money. I wrote in my business plan that I wanted to create a safe and nurturing space for women to work at and workout in that supported their goals and helped them to become a better version of themselves. That sounds super lofty for just a little barre studio. But that was my goal… and you should notice that before the goal of a place to “workout” came the goal of a “place to work”. More about that in a minute…

So how does that tie into my boys? My parents divorced when I was 13. After that it was just us three girls – my mom, my sister and I. I watched my mom work hard and raise us as a single mom. We moved from New York when I was 16, so we didn’t have my dad on the regular anymore and my mom really had to do it all for us. She set a solid example of a women who gets shit done. But, I’m not sure she ever lived a life of being passionate about her work when I was young. Today, as a 75 year old bad ass grandma who has taken over 100 classes at my studio – she lives a life of complete passion, and in fact just got remarried 2 weeks ago! But growing up, I remember a woman who did what she needed to do in a job she “liked.” I wanted to take that work ethic which I certainly got from her, and couple it with something that lights my heart on fire! And if I could create a place for other women, and specifically moms, to work at, to feel like they are supported in a way that a lot of workplaces don’t, then I would be happy. What I also came to realize in all of this was the example I was setting for my boys. Growing up in an all-female household, with a mom who always encouraged me to do and succeed at ANYTHING I set my mind to, I never really had a sense of gender in-equality. I never had brothers around to compete with, or get teased by, or told that I couldn’t throw a ball as well as them because I was a girl (I suck at throwing balls by the way, but that has nothing to do with the fact that I have boobs – my shoulder is just jacked up from a boxing class I took years ago!). So, when I gave birth to 2 of the most perfect human beings I had ever seen, and they both happened to have penises – I had to figure out what to do! One thing my best friend, Shannon told me (she had 3 boys to raise!) was this: As women, we know what a good man is made of, and we know what we want in a man – now we have the opportunity to raise good men.

That was heavy. And it has stuck with me for the past 18 years. And, I know that by running a successful, healthy, inspirational business – I’m setting an example for my boys that they can choose the life they want and build something they are proud of. Most importantly I want them to know without question that their future wives and daughters (LORD, please give me grand-daughters one day! Can I get an AMEN?!) can count on them to support their dreams and encourage them to be strong women in this world – because they’ve seen that example in their mom.

So, back to making hard decisions and connecting to your WHY to get you through. Almost 5 years ago, when I had only been open 3 months, I had to let go of an employee. I had “fired” a couple people in my life, but that was always for the companies I worked for, so even though it was hard, it didn’t seem as personal as it did this time. I lost SO mush sleep over this decision! But this was the first time I really dug deep into my WHY. The employee I was letting go was not doing the job I hired her for. She would sit at the front desk, shyly greeting clients with little more than a quiet “hello” and then she would let them walk out without paying! It happened time and time again – every time, I compassionately talked to her about feeling confident, knowing that our clients understand we are not a charity and they are expecting to pay for the service we are providing, and that it was OK to ask for their payment. And in the end, after several discussions, she just couldn’t do it. She was a very sweet young girl, and it broke my heart to have to fire her (her mom even came with her when I called her in to let her go… how heart wrenching is THAT?). But when I connected the decision to let her go with my WHY (my boys watching me build a strong business and making hard decisions with compassion, and in this case, actually collecting money that translated into feeding them!), it was a very easy discussion. With love and compassion, and keeping her mom in the other room – I explained my reasoning and thanked her – wishing her luck in the future. Immediately, I felt stronger and wiser as a business owner – and a mom. Now, when it comes to the jumping off point that my client is struggling with in regards to HOW to even find the courage – I say – FIND YOUR WHY. For anyone in the baby stages of deciding to open a business – you have to be honest and ask yourself the hard questions. It may end up that the WHY you have for the business you are considering isn’t strong enough right now. Perhaps the money you have really isn’t enough and you need to make a realistic decision about it in order to start saving for the business without hurting your family’s financial security. Maybe financial security isn’t an issue, but you simply don’t have the time or energy required RIGHT NOW. Maybe your WHY actually IS strong enough, but you aren’t in the right season of life at the moment because you are raising babies or getting an education. There are so many reasons to consider – but if this is a business that is in your heart, then it’s there for a reason. And once you REALLY connect to the reason you are wanting it, then I can almost guarantee the fears will simply turn into challenges. They won’t stop you from moving forward, they will make you stronger with the effort you put in to learn, overcome and fight on!

I hope this helped and please reach out if you want to know more!
Please share this with your friends if you think it would be interesting to them! Thanks!

Have the best day!Cindi

PS: pic = my WHY… Ari (18) and Max (15) 💛

{how’d i get here?}

Me and Shannon at the First Annual Studio Barre Owners Conference in San Diego

Post number 2! Look at me go! 😂 Thank you for accepting my invitation to follow my story! There are over 70 of you in just over 24 hours! WOW!

I thought it would be good to share with you how I even got into the fitness industry… some of you may know this story, but I think it’s worth sharing in order to illustrate how many changes you can have in life, and that life is NEVER a straight path from point A to point B!

My friend Dawn always used to say “I think you are like CIA, or something!” It’s funny to look back on the amount of career changes I’ve had! I never consciously set out to do so many things – I just always followed my heart and was fortunate enough to be married to a man who supported my crazy need for change which sent me to follow whatever path was most interesting at the time!

Back in the day, in order to get out of school early in my senior year, I decided to learn how to do nails. I got High School credit AND got out early… but had to then spend the afternoon at the Cosmetology school. It was actually super fun, and after I graduated, I was able to get a job at a very nice nail salon in town. I was making really good money (gone are the days of $45 pedicures and $65 acrylic nails!). I had grand plans of opening a salon of my own (always the entrepreneur) and calling it Blackberries (or was it Huckleberries?) Salon for Nail Art – yes, I’m serious. I’m sure I could have (and would have) been talked out of the name, but the concept was all mine – a nail salon dedicated to great airbrushed nail art! I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that this was 1988!

If you know me well, you know I really don’t do much without going ALL IN! As a manicurist, it was no different. When I went away to San Diego State, I did the nails of all the girls in my dorm! I would set up shop in my dorm room and actually did a pretty good business! Rainbows and palm trees on everyone’s nails (and I killed it with holly berries at Christmas!)
I also had several “regular” part time jobs at the mall of every town I ever lived it – from Baskin Robbins and See’s Candy, to Wet Seal and a random sock store at Fashion Island in Newport Beach! But, the path that I was pretty sure was the one for me was Graphic Design. My parents met at a prestigious art school called Art Center College of Design. Art and design had always been a passion for me and going to the same school as my parents made sense… it also always resonated with me that I too may meet my husband there! Sure enough… day 1… the desk in front of me… long hair in a pony tail and a Pearl Jam t-shirt – I was hooked! But not in a romantic way! Aris and I became best friends and were inseparable for a year before we realized what was right in front of us (but I digress – that’s a long story for another time).

I graduated at the top of my class from Art Center in 1995. I had one summer job with a design firm that mainly did work for Mattel – which meant my summer was filled with Barbie shoe patterns on end-cap displays. Not the glamorous design job I was hoping for – but every thing happened for a reason and the reason I had that job was my first real boss, Cheryl Besser. She was kind, and funny and had a great relationship with her husband. More importantly to me, she recognized early on that I was not happy. I started coming in later each day, taking longer lunches and not being my usual cheerful self. One day, about 2 months in, she pulled me aside and asked me about it. What struck me was her compassion. She wasn’t upset that I wasn’t “performing” or meeting the ridiculous deadlines (something called Toy Fair was at the end of the summer which meant countless late, late, LATE nights!). Her primary concern was for my happiness. And she gave me an out. It was the best thing that had happened to me all summer! I didn’t want to leave before Toy Fair, so I found a renewed sense of energy to finish out the summer and left feeling good about my experience. That was exactly 24 years ago and I’m still FB friends with Cheryl today! Cheryl – if you are reading this… thank you!

At the time I was going through that, Aris had gotten a job for the BMW design center in Newbury Park. Fortunately, they needed more people and they hired me (based on Aris’ recommendation, of course!) a month later. And then about a month after that, a sweet new girl named Shannon started in the marketing department just over the wall from where Aris and I sat. See the picture posted here – that’s me and Shannon at the first Studio Barre Owners Meeting 20 years after we met! We instantly became besties – people at work thought we had grown up together! That is the relationship that brought me to where I am today – you never know who you are going to meet on any given day that will one day change the course of everything!

Over the following 19 years, a lot happened! I opened my own design firm in Ventura and designed high-end custom wedding invitations, I closed that studio when I was hired as the lead designer for Vertu Mobile phones (the luxury division of Nokia), I left that job 2 ½ years later to stay home with my first born, 3 years later I went to Massage Therapy school and had a thriving massage business for 4.5 years. Then the market crashed in 2008 and no one wanted to spend money on massages. But I was also itching to get back to doing something creative! So, I started a new design company out of my house and did small business identities. During that time, I also worked at Paper Source at the Thousand Oaks mall – hey, no shame in needing a paycheck! I can’t say that it wasn’t hard “working at the mall” at 38 years old but ya gotta do what ya gotta do! At least I LOVED that store and I got to do super creative things like teach their craft workshops and do the window displays! I was being very creative, working at Paper Source and building my newest design business which led to me putting together a great portfolio. Then seemingly out of nowhere (I’ll go into my strange ability to manifest things in another post) I landed my dream job. I was hired as the Creative Director for Kate Somerville Skincare in Beverly Hills! I ran a small department (3 of us at the end) and did all the product packaging, marketing, photography, retail presentations, in-store displays for Nordstrom and Sephora, all new product launches and new product identities. It was crazy and stressful and rewarding and I day-dreamed about getting hit by a car – just injured enough to need some bed rest in order to spend at least a month away from that place! (I know I can’t be the only person out there that has thought that while in a job they hated!)

But, I learned SO much about running a team and being a boss from my boss. Her name is Michelle Taylor and she has a huge reputation in the skincare world. She was tough. She expected A LOT – to the point of being out of control. But she was also compassionate and had the biggest heart in the building. She would make us all crazy, but you couldn’t help but have a giant soft spot for her. She was raising 4 teenage boys and running this 25 million dollar company. And she would offer me (or anyone else in her vicinity) potato chips from the small bag she constantly ate from or a sip of her bottled iced tea from Bristol Farms. The biggest thing I learned from her about successfully running a team was this: everyone, including the leader is going to mess up. Instead of messing up and apologizing, all she needed was for the person to own the mistake and offer up a solution. Early on in my career I had a boss who screamed at me and fired (and then re-hired me the same day) over a $200 mistake. At Kate Somerville, I made a $10,000 mistake once – it was one of the hardest things I ever did, but I got up my courage, walked into Michelles office, owned up to it, offered the solution that could be put into effect immediately, assured her I would oversee every step of the project to make sure it didn’t happen EVER again, and of course apologized (scared as hell with tears in my eyes). She just looked at me, thanked me, told me she was not happy but appreciated that I had a solution – and then offered me some chips.

After just over 3 years of that, and driving to Beverly hills (about 3 hours round trip every day in my car!) I finally had enough. While all this was going on in my life, Shannon had left BMW to have babies. In a very abbreviated nut shell: She became a personal trainer, found a barre studio, franchised that barre studio, then left that franchise and re-branded as Studio Barre. The whole time, we were (as best friends do) constantly talking about all her amazing ideas and the growth of her business. I was so close to it from day one – with my career as a designer, I helped her with her branding, art directed a lot of the identity, and I felt like it was my baby as well! And from the beginning, Shannon kept telling me I needed to open my own studio – she had faith in me and wanted me to be a part of it! It was so polar opposite to what I was doing in the corporate design world, but I think that was what I loved about it! And knowing me, Shannon knew that the culture she had created with Studio Barre was a perfect fit for my personality. It was 7 years from the time she opened her first studio to the time she was able to franchise her re-branded studio and Aris and I were ready to take the leap – we were her first Franchise sale!

From the very beginning, before we even signed on the dotted line, we knew that the studio would be nothing without the right people. Aris and I would walk our dogs at night the year prior to opening and talk about the type of people we wanted to work on our team. Talk about manifesting!!! Have you met the extraordinary humans that “work” at my studio? I truly believe that my crazy career path has been the exact path needed to allow me to successfully run this team. They are passionate, they share the vision I have for the studio and they truly care about every individual who walks through our doors. I believe I am here to help them and to create a workplace that doesn’t feel like work.

I thank God on the daily for bringing each of these women into my life and Studio Barre into their lives. And I also strive every day to be a better leader for them.

Well, that’s pretty much how I got here. And as I sit here today, I can’t imagine my life without Studio Barre and all the blessings it has brought! The past 5 years haven’t been easy, but they have been more fulfilling than any other time in my life. I’ve also never worked so hard! But, I love what I do and I guess that’s the key, right? It never really feels like work – there are definitely crap days – but more good days, for sure! WAY MORE!

So what does the day-to-day operations of this life look like? Like working all day today and again tomorrow to train a new barre-tender even though it’s a holiday weekend… but loving it and not feeling for a second like I’m missing out on anything else! How do you get that in your life? How do you get to the place that your work is not “work” but instead one of the best and most fulfilling parts of your life? That’s what we’ll get into. I believe everyone can have this – and SHOULD have this! I would love to know what you are most interested in… are you thinking of opening a business? Do you have a business and are struggling with something? Do you need help with a team member, or help keeping on track in your business growth?

Let’s work together to figure it out! I have gained so much knowledge over the past 5 years in this business and the past 29 years of my “career” life and want to share it with you! It’s one of the biggest reasons we decided to open our second studio… I’ve learned so much and I want to do something with everything I’ve learned!

So let’s do it!!! Comment below or DM me with questions or suggestions!

Thanks for reading and Happy Labor Day!

Much love, Cindi

PS. Please share this with anyone you think might be interested in following along and growing with us or who you think may need some help in their business journey! 😘