This week I sold my yoga studio baby after owning and operating it for 5+ years! I am super excited to announce that effective immediately my good friends and colleagues, Stephanie Jennings and Andres Moran, are taking over as the owners of Smiling Dog Yoga!
I couldn’t be more excited to have Stephanie and Andres on board. Stephanie’s extensive experience with Sales at MINDBODY & as a long time fitness instructor of over 13 years will bring new energy to our studio home to help it continue to evolve and serve each of us. Andres has an extensive background in technology in the yoga and fitness space and the two of them have always dreamed of owning a studio in San Luis Obispo and are extremely excited about SDY! I can’t wait to see how they help evolve our studio oasis.
It’s a very strange feeling. Coming to the realization that one of your great loves, isn’t really that good for you at the current moment. Over the course of the last year I decided I was in need of a break from the owner role. I’m hoping this isn’t a forever breakup, just a small “lets take a break” moment. I’m wavering between excitement and sadness. And plotting my next steps, of course.
I wanted to document some of my learning lessons, thoughts, next steps, things to remember. Some moments I’m not sure what I really have to say other than “sighhhh”. It’s been a big year of change.
I have always believed in the importance of timing. It’s either on your side or it isn’t. It can’t be forced. I believe this even more today.
I thought at the beginning of this year, “Is it time for change?”. In many ways I was feeling stagnant & not engaged in the right ways with my work – both at the studio and as a consultant – and I was starting to research and explore what my next step might be. I talked to people, looked at school programs, pondered what I thought the universe was saying, considered so many fun and great options. (Side note: Be careful what you think my friends, those thoughts make things happen sometimes.) Long story short: I got re-hired at MINDBODY and am working on some great things there and although I REALLY wanted to keep involved with the studio in an owner capacity, I finally came to the conclusion that wasn’t really possible for me at this moment. I care so much! Don’t you need me, studio?! But my baby is growing so fast! After operating it with a great team* for the last 5 years, I really didn’t believe that I could step back as much as l needed to. So, here I am.
The most predominant thought I have right now is gratitude. So many stars aligned to give me this experience. This life. So many people have supported me in ways small and big and are continuing to do so. The universe gave me what I needed in this studio project. I am a better person for having owned the studio – how many can say that about a job? I grew in ways that I wouldn’t have. I was challenged in ways I wouldn’t have asked for. I’m better at working with a team. Letting things go. Prioritizing what really matters. I’m scrappier and more creative. I see the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law in every decision. I learned that I tend to give too much, to my own detriment. Sometimes fearlessness can go too far and be a bit reckless. Finances were stressful, whew what a learning curve! I have context and understanding of the wellness world that I love, didn’t have before, and couldn’t have had without stepping into the owner role. I feel stronger for the experience.
Our banker making magic happen while on a conference call!
It has really been such a special journey and project for me.
If and when 🙂 I own and or take on a studio leadership role again, I will remember that my partners and team are so important. I will make better financial decisions that will help me stay less stressed. I will give myself and those around me more clearly defined roles and responsibilities. I will delegate more than I’m comfortable with. I will focus more on cultivating and evolving my team and creating new programming. I will not work too hard!
What were my biggest learning lessons? You don’t really know something until you’ve done it yourself. For a while. Being organized is critical for me to thrive. It’s so hard to focus on the important and not urgent each day! The market you are in and your competition both matter, but how much, I’m not exactly sure. We have to force ourselves to do the work that isn’t easy. We have to make big decisions sometimes, operate in a state of discomfort and cognitive dissonance, and relax into the faith that sometimes we must take leaps into the unknown.
What could I have done better? I struggled with keeping work-life balance while ensuring the studio was doing new, exciting things. It was hard for me to find the balance between encouraging my team to be independent, yet also creating consistency on our schedule. I’m not that great at delegating to people. It was hard for me to continually carve out enough time to create new programming and keep the studio evolving; to stay on top with fresh and new marketing.
What about some wins? Smiling Dog is such a great space, it always has been, and will continue to be! We have great classes, teachers, so many unique and juicy offerings, and a team of collaborators and friends that make magic happen each day. I’m grateful for each of you and proud of the space we’ve created together. Our government won’t save us. Nor will our healthcare system. It’s what we do each day of the week that matters.
As I sign off as your yoga mamma, I want to thank you for being part of my yogic journey. I hope those of you who love Smiling Dog can be excited about the future of it with our evolving tribe (Welcome Steph & Andres!). Each day that passes since the papers were signed I get more excited about what the future holds. I’m grateful for the space to enjoy more time with my family.
I am going to stay involved as an instructor and creative consultant, so don’t worry, I’m not going away. Laura & Chandra will continue to evolve into their roles as leaders of the studio.
I’m not exactly sure what to do with all this time though! Seriously, I really feel like an empty nester!