Last Thursday Ronda and I were honored at a virtual luncheon for being two of the 2020 Women Of Achievement award recipients (Check it out here). It was an incredible honor and made us proud to be in the company of so many amazing women business owners, teachers, executives, activist and leaders who are enriching the lives of people in our local community and beyond.
The next day, one of the bravest, most determined and brilliant women of our time passed away – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As an extraordinary champion for justice and equal rights, RBG paved the way for women like me, Ronda and all the Women of Achievement honorees. She was a consistent, unwavering voice for freedom, opportunity and equality for all and her legacy will touch not only our generation but many generations to come.
As we bid her farewell, we promise to let her legacy live on through our actions, our decisions, our dissent and our leadership. As a small business that focuses on health-promotion, we promise to show up and work toward a stronger, healthier, happier community. We are brainstorming and working on ways in which we can reach more people, because we know that a healthy community only emerges when ALL people have equal access and opportunity. If you have ideas, you would like to share, please let us know by sending us an email.
Next we will be back to delivering you all some healthful content, but this week we give thanks and ground ourselves knowing that we have big footsteps to fill and little footsteps following our lead.
Wow! Our beautiful Empower studio has been officially closed for almost 6 months. If you had asked us back in March, when we thought this might be a 2 week to 2 month ordeal, if we could weather a 6 month shut down—I think we would have been skeptical. But here we are, weary but also wiser. We have all learned so much (and will continue to do so) about grit, determination, how to pivot, how to support one another, how to listen, how to be more flexible and open to change, how to pull together as a community, and maybe how to prepare for a new and uncertain future.
We are grateful beyond measure that so many of you trusted us enough and prioritized your health enough to stick with your training program by whatever means necessary during this time. We are impressed and proud of how our team that has stuck together and tackled each challenge with a whatever-it-takes attitude. Thank you Nestor, Blaine, Amanda, Chris (we miss you already), Patty, Kelly, Iman, Chuck, Telese, Judy, and Raham. You guys ROCK!
While we are still very much in the middle of this pandemic–how we are navigating life through it is always changing. Governor Cooper’s recent announcement about moving into Phase 2.5 brings yet another change, as gyms and fitness centers can open at 30% normal capacity (or at a limit of 7 people per 1000 square ft.).
So that brings us to a question we have been asked a lot since this order was announced:
What is Empower going to do?
Trust us, this is something we have been thinking about and preparing for since June, and we feel as though we have a thoughtful and thorough plan to ensure the safest environment possible for clients ready to come back into the studio. Let us explain a few of the details . . . and we will send a “take a virtual tour of our safe-space Studio” video with all the details soon.
We have divided our almost 6000 square foot studio into 5 private areas or “workout pods” – that can either be sectioned off by closing doors or will be divided by big moveable screens. We will invite 1 private or 2-3 semi-private clients in to train with their trainer in one of these 5 areas at a time. This will mean that you will have your own space and your own equipment for the whole appointment. In between appointments, all equipment and surfaces will be completely disinfected for the next client/s entering this area.
We will enforce the following protocol and procedures:
1. WE WILL EXCEED PRECAUTIONS Recommended by the Interim Guidance for Indoor Fitness Centers and Gyms Settings – For example under this order our studio could have 40 people inside and we will keep capacity numbers below ½ of that mark.
2. SYMPTOM CHECK FORM – We ask that you thoroughly read and agree to the following protocols that state if you have any of these symptoms or exposure risks that you will not come to the studio. Please see form here.
3. ARRIVAL – We ask that you do not enter the studio until it is time for your appointment. We will leave warm up instructions on a whiteboard and equipment, like bands and foam rollers, outside each door so you can do a dynamic warm up ahead of time if you wish. If you need to change or use the bathroom, you can come in (with a mask on) to change then please return to your car or outside to warm up until your trainer comes to get you for your appt. If there is inclement weather, please wait in your car and your trainer will help you warm up at the beginning of your appointment. Please wash your hands upon entering the studio.
4. MASKS – Masks are required to enter and leave the studio and anytime you are outside of your dedicated workout “pod.” We strongly recommend that you wear a mask or face covering the entire time, however we understand that wearing a mask while performing strenuous exercise is uncomfortable – therefore, you may remove your mask temporarily during this part of your workout. All trainers and staff will wear masks at all times.
5. BATHROOM/SHOWER AREA – Our bathrooms and shower will be open, but only for 1 person at a time. We ask that if you use the restroom for any purpose that you use the provided disinfecting wipes to wipe down any surface you touch before leaving.
6. DEPARTURE – We ask that you leave the studio pretty promptly after your appointment (with a face covering) so that your trainer can have time to prepare for the next client. We ask that you take care of appointment scheduling and payment transactions virtually – so that there is no congestion at our entrance. Please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer prior to leaving the studio.
Our team has had several meetings both virtual and in-person at the studio to review and train on all of our new policies and procedures. With all of this in place, Empower will be re-opening in this manner starting Wednesday, Sept. 9th!
We completely understand that we all have different comfort levels with returning to our “normal” activities, and we are ready and willing to meet you where you are. If you are ready to come back in to the studio under the guidelines we have described above – great! If you prefer to meet your trainer outside while the fall weather allows – great! If you are still most comfortable keeping your appointments virtual – great! We also offer concierge in-home training for the ultimate in convenience and personal attention.
With that said, please be aware that our team is going to be as flexible as possible, but with so many moving targets they may or may not be able to accommodate every schedule request. They will do the best they can and if you are having a hard time making things work with your current trainer, maybe another trainer on our team can help. Please communicate with me and Ronda about your scheduling needs – we are here to help!
As we all know, things are changing daily and we will continue to monitor local Covid numbers and adapt and adjust as necessary, but for now we are happy to see some of you in person and excited for fall fitness!
In any situation, good or bad, an opportunity-focused mindset will allow you to look for the lessons, the opportunities or the upside that lies within. While the Covid pandemic has been challenging for some and even devastating for others—we encourage you all to think about the positive ways in which this experience has affected your life or the opportunities it has presented.
One thing that comes to mind for us is TIME MANAGEMENT. Life before Covid was not just busy, but too busy, to where most of the time we were running at this frenetic pace that left us exhausted and stressed. We were over-scheduled and trying to keep up, measure up, and do it all well. And now we realize that came at the expense of good quality time with our families and a more healthy flow to our days.
We know some of you can relate – that feeling of lack that creeps into your thoughts when you just don’t have the time “to get it all done.”
. . . and the Stay-at-Home orders, a quarantine, school closures, work transitions and suddenly it seemed like the choke hold our busy schedules had on our time loosened its grip and presented us with a new opportunity to examine— “What will I do with my precious time?”
But wait, what is Time Management?
First, we can’t manage time. There are only 24 hours in a day (only 16 to work with if we are getting enough sleep each night)—that will not change. We only have control over what we do with the time we have.
The key is to choose wisely—and to do this you must be clear about your priorities. Here are some things to ask yourself:
- What are my goals – health goals, career goals, family goals, life goals?
- What is most important for me and my family right now?
- Am I spending my days working toward my goals or on the things that are most important?
- Would being better organized help me do things more efficiently and effectively?
- Can I put a system in place to review my goals, plan my objectives, and schedule my days so the most important things are getting the attention they deserve?
- Can I cut some things out (trade late night TV for sleep), delegate some things to others, and limit time spent on some things (scrolling social media maybe)?
As always, mindset is important
Your mindset around how you spend your time matters too. Consider this:
When you look at time, do you look at it as time spent or time invested?
That may seem like semantics, but it’s not.
When you spend (time/money/resources) ON something your mindset is more focused on lack, limitation or waste. When you invest (time/money/resources) IN something, your mindset is more focused on abundance, growth, or getting/making things better.
That’s an interesting way to look at it, isn’t it?
So, today while we may not be driving around like crazy working mom’s trying to fit it all in, our days are still busy … especially now that we are juggling homeschooling our daughters Emery and Kendall, working, and taking care of our homes and other beloved family and friends. But we can honestly say we feel more connected to those who matter most. We feel grateful for the comfort of our homes. We feel like our time invested in our family, our Empower community and our friends is meaningful, important and impactful—and for us this is enough.
Just some food for thought.
How will you invest your time this week?
As part of our commitment to inclusivity, our Team here at Empower took the opportunity to attend a workshop presented by the Racial Equity Institute. REI is an organization dedicated to creating equitable systems by challenging traditional, patterns, concepts and mores through education. As a Team we wanted to share our thoughts on what we learned.
“The Racial Equity Training is powerful. To say that it may provoke a seismic shift in perspective still understates both the scope and impact of the information presented to all who attend. This workshop is vital, poignant, and long overdue.”
“When we talked about going to a seminar on racial equality, I thought it was awesome to be working somewhere and this be a priority for the team. Thinking that I would enjoy just getting some knowledge, information and a reminder of what my community deals with regularly was an understatement. Little did I know that my eyes were opened more than I thought they would’ve been. During and by the end of the training, I felt several emotions ranging from sadness, anger, being proud and bewildered. The tears, sadness and anger is directed to the realization that there was, and still is, a system in place specifically to hurt, hold back, break down, disenfranchise, demoralize… and more, all black and brown people. Feeling proud is knowing that as a black woman, I am part of a people and community that won’t quit, is strong, fights through and is resilient!! And lastly, I felt bewildered because….now what?
Overall, I feel it is an awesome experience to learn to be uncomfortable in order to be better. Everyone plays a part. Unfortunately, those who need this the most will never go and as a result will continue to think racial inequality is ok. As a double minority, I love being a woman and more so, I LOVE being a melanated woman. And for clarity, loving my blackness and who I am does not mean not loving someone who is non-melanated. I often hear people say “they don’t see color”. Although I hear the point that is trying to be made, I don’t think that is helpful. I want you to see my color, I want you to know who I am, because it is one of the best parts of me. Therefore I wouldn’t want it not to be seen. What I do want, is for color to be seen and heard and understood.
I recommend everyone to go, get uncomfortable, learn your truth…. then do better!”
“The Racial Equity Institute (REI) training was the most educational, emotionally charged trainings that I have ever attended in my life. I learned more in the two days about the history of this country than I ever have in any classroom. Not only has it opened my eyes more to the injustices in this country but it has also changed my life. I am so thankful that there are people who are involved with this type of teachings and I was able to attend it. I highly recommend it to everyone so that maybe we can make the changes that are necessary for the growth of this nation.”
“The Racial Equity Institute workshop is basically the U.S. history class that every U.S. citizen should have been taught in school, but never was. Whether you’re Asian, black, Hispanic/latino, native American, or white, EVERYBODY needs to experience this in-depth, fact-based examination of the systems and policies that created racial inequity from the founding of our nation and that are still perpetuated today.”
“Going into REI I was skeptical, I wasn’t sure what to expect but thought it would be opinion based and open to interpretation. Instead the presenters methodically layed out the history of racism in America step by step. Going into a history that no one gets in grade school, this information is enlightening and undeniable. Regardless of your race or background REI will give you new insights into the sickening depths of racism in America and will show you just how woven it is into our society. If you have any interest in America’s history or becoming a better person then attend an REI Session.”
“REI was an amazing experience. It was hard work and uncomfortable at times but so worth it. I would recommend it to everyone.”
“The racial equity workshop opened my eyes to how the markedness theory applies to race. I learned a lot about history of this country and I highly recommend everyone go to this training so we can begin to change things for the future”
“Over the last few years I became aware of the Racial Equity Institute and their transformative trainings. And often, I would say to myself that I will attend a training…one day. I did have the opportunity to attend the Groundwater Presentation a while back, but I had not yet committed the 2 days to invest in the Phase 1 training. Until recently when we embarked on this journey together as a team.
To say the training was life changing is an understatement, and I highly recommend that anyone and everyone make time for this important work. You will grow and stretch in new ways as much of what you think you knew is challenged. Expect to be saddened, angry, confused, defeated, but ultimately transformed as you unpack the very potent and very ugly reality of what it means to live in a society that by design was created to support the interests of the few at the expense of the many.
The question is not “if” but “when” you will go. Please make it a priority!”
“For me, REI Phase 1 equity training was an eye-opening and heart-wrenching look into the intentional construct of race and racism, the brutal truth of our American history, and how structural and institutional racism are now so baked into our culture that it literally affects every aspect of our lives. It helped me see some of my own implicit bias and how, at times, my silence in the face of racism was an act of complicity. I have continued my equity training through reading and podcasts and I am learning more about how to speak out about injustice.
I am grateful that our team has all completed this training and now has a shared language and understanding of how a system of whiteness and racism is at play (whether we want it to be or not) in our workplace, in our town, and in this country.
There is a lot of work to be done in order to be agents of change and we invite our community to join us on this journey.”
Cont’d from our email . . .
Integrity – We always speak honestly and stay true to what we promise. Trust is an integral part of our team dynamic and we strive to earn and develop long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships. We will admit to making mistakes and continually learn from them.
Commitment – We give 100 percent of ourselves and stay committed to our commitments in our ascent towards success. We believe in and are committed to the Vision, Mission, Culture and success of Empower Personalized Fitness, the Empower team and all Empower clients.
Accountability – We are responsible for our actions and outcomes and will take ownership of the decisions we make.
Conflict – We understand that in order for a TEAM to function effectively, it must engage in healthy, productive conflict from time to time in order to resolve issues, achieve clarity, and obtain buy in from all members. As a TEAM we commit to engaging in conflict according to our TEAM’s conflict norms.
Excellence – We strive to deliver services of exceptional quality that exceed customer expectations. We will continually work to improve ourselves, our facility, our products and our services to best serve the entire Empower Team and Community.
Education – We constantly better our knowledge and understanding in an ever-changing industry and world so as to provide our clients with the most relevant and healthful knowledge at all times.
Respect and Tolerance – We respect all parts of the Empower Personalized Fitness business model but most importantly its PEOPLE. We will treat our clients, colleagues, vendors, and partners with compassion and kindness. In difficult circumstances we do our best to empathize with the other side and view the situation from their perspective.
Diversity and Inclusivity – We live and work in a thriving town that is enriched by the diversity of its PEOPLE. We are committed to creating an environment that honors and celebrates our differences and embraces the truth that our diversity is what makes us strong. At EMPOWER inclusiveness means that everyone feel valued and respected and everyone has access to the opportunities they need as individuals.
Positive attitude and FUN – We view life as a journey to be enjoyed and appreciated, and we create an atmosphere of fun and happiness so all around us can enjoy it as well.
Adaptability and Creativity – The only thing constant is change. Given this truth, we accept change and view it as opportunity for growth. Innovation is the key to forward progress. We encourage independent thinking and embrace new ideas.
TEAMwork – We work collaboratively as a TEAM with each other, our clients and the community. Each member of the team brings special talents and areas of expertise to Empower Personalized Fitness. We are flexible in our work and able to make changes to reach resolutions.
Balance – Self-care is NOT selfish. As a healthcare company we know we must take good care of ourselves in order to effectively help others. Therefore, we strive to lead balanced lives remembering that spiritual, social, physical and family aspects are as important as financial and professional goals.
Communication – We work diligently to make effective and open communication a high priority. We understand that every person we encounter has something to teach us and strive to be attentive listeners. We speak positively of our fellow team members, our clients and Empower Personalized Fitness at all times. We greet and say good-bye to people using their names.
Success & Profitability – We appreciate that profit is the lifeblood of every business and that a profitable business benefits everyone in our organization as well as in the communities we serve.
And the story continues with a look ahead . . .
As many of your know we have been brainstorming and re-imagining our physical studio space as we approach the end of lease term and have to make decisions about next steps. With all of the thought and consideration we have going in the direction of future visioning it is impossible to separate our dreams of what our studio could look like and our dreams about what we want Empower to BE. For us that posed one simple question . . . how can we lean in to our core values more fully? One of our intentions for this year was GROWTH – but we are not just interested in growing larger. How can we as a team, as a company, as fitness community grow deeper?
We were in the midst of examining this when something wonderful happened. Jim Garman, a long-standing Empower client, contacted us with an opportunity. He had just finished a 2-Day intensive Racial Equity Training program that for him was a life-changing experience. He was so moved in fact that he really felt that he had to share it with others and was calling to offer to pay for this training for a couple Empower team members.
We were overwhelmed with gratitude and moreover inspired to take action. As a company we not only want to write our list of core values in our employee handbook, but we want to have social impact and values interwoven into all aspects of our brand and business practices. So, with Jim’s gift as our inspirational spark we decided to invest in Racial Equity Training through the Racial Equity Institute (REI) for our whole team.
You see, we are a diverse team, living in a diverse community, during a very pivotal time. It would be easy for us to take comfort in our similarities and grow more fearful of our differences – but that is NOT who we are and that is NOT what makes us great. In order to embrace our uniqueness it is important to learn more about the histories and experiences of people of differing identities. We, as a team, are starting here – deepening our understanding of racial inequality and how it affects all of us. This will likely be the most meaningful continuing education we have ever had.
In the spirit of community, we would like to invite you to join us in completing an REI training over the next couple of months. You can learn more about REI here:
Also, if you would like to talk to Jess or Ronda more specifically about this training please email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org.