#SWAAYthenarrative

Navigating The Pandemic With Positivity As A CEO

4 Min Read
Business

The current pandemic has blurred and blended home and work-life in a way that's made me dizzy. Suddenly, my coworkers were my 11-year-old daughter and my 14-year-old son.


My workspace bounced from my home to the office like a ping pong ball. Being the CEO and co-founder of Eosera, a biotech company focused on ear care, doesn't make it easy to strictly work from home. Especially as an essential business with a manufacturing team still churning out products every day and employees depending on your guidance and direction in an unprecedented time. So, those who can work from home in my office do so and remain in the loop via Zoom and email. Those who can't stay six feet apart, use hand sanitizer and soap like it's going out of style, are masked, and keep a close eye on their temperature.

I feel an underlying sense of anxiety throughout the days. I'm worried about my employees' mental and physical health. I have this angst that I don't normally have. Angst that my children can't see their friends. Angst that I can't see my friends. And angst that my business is being threatened by the lack of available componentry from vendors due to shutdowns and delays. The virus has changed life as we know it, with restaurants and bars emptied along with grocery store shelves. I'm convinced there's a deeper meaning, a life lesson, amidst and in between the anxiousness and the angst of it all, that we're supposed to grasp.

Highlights Amongst the Havoc

Don't get me wrong, the virus is devastating and frightening. A silver lining doesn't take away from the pain so many families have felt through unemployment, financial woes, sickness, and loves ones lost. Not to mention the adults and children who are no essentially trapped in an unsafe home. But, in a weird way, the virus has also done something interesting for my family — perhaps yours is the same.

It forced us to slow down and spend time with only each other. It forced us to cook at home more. It forced us to grapple with what a necessity is as we cut our trips to the grocery store down. It forced us to turn to the arts in times of sadness and devastation to kill the boredom — television, movies, books, drawing, painting, writing, or even journaling.

For my family, a highlight amongst the havoc is family dinner. Every night, my family sits down and has a meal together. This wasn't always the case. Often, before the pandemic, things like sporting events, work, homework, and travel got in the way of us sitting together as a family and sharing a meal.

Unpacking Uncertainty

Uncertainty is indeed a common feeling amongst business owners at this time. Watching the cases rise and the available hospital beds decline can bring a sense of unease that we just have to sit with — there's no controlling a pandemic and the turmoil it reaps. There's no controlling what components are available or if employees are sick. And there's definitely no singlehandedly controlling the economic consequences we're seeing.

That's why maintaining and keeping a schedule is imperative to mental and physical health for my kids and myself. Waking up early, or at least at the time you woke up before the pandemic, can help jump-start your day and will allow for ample time to complete your daily tasks. Taking a lunch break is also essential to maintaining your sanity and breaking up the day

Additionally, after work and school, getting outside and soaking in some vitamin D can help boost your mood and give you a nice change of pace after looking at a screen all day. Getting some kind of exercise — whether it's a home workout, running, or biking outside is great for your mental and physical health and will save you in times like these.

Keeping a healthy routine when everything is so uncertain is how we can cope with being in a pandemic and the fear that accompanies such a global health crisis.

Being Together… Apart

The circumstances under which we as people are separated are unfortunate. But, in another way, I feel like we're closer than ever. This time is one where we are pulling together through the separation. The internet is a great way to connect with others through this tumultuous time. I'm seeing people FaceTime and Zoom like it's the new coffee date or happy hour. I'm seeing amazing, hard-working teachers get creative with their curriculums. I'm seeing people and companies support our brave healthcare workers. We're in this together, even if we're apart.

Unparalleled times like these will go down in our history books (and no doubt so will the memes) and owning a business during a pandemic is tricky, to say the least. But finding the positive in such a devastating situation is what makes a great leader — this I've learned firsthand. Globally coming together and spending more time focused on what's important is one way to look at the positive in a pandemic. It doesn't take away from the seriousness of the situation, but it could make getting through the days a little bit easier.

5 Min Read
Career

How Fitness Saved My Life and Became My Career

Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each da

If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today.

In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of three, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.

These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.

After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.

About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again.

When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.

Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.

Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.

Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.

This article was originally published September 12, 2019.