When my husband, Chris, and I created barre3 11 years ago, we built it on six core values. One of these is Everybody Matters—and it guides everything about our workplace culture. In everything from company “huddles” to the way we structure our training programs to workplace surveys. We work hard to create a company culture where everyone, in every position, is valued and heard because having a voice matters — especially in today’s world and especially for girls.
The message we strive to integrate into our business is also blended into our family. We regularly have family meetings and my husband, Chris and I make a conscious effort to make sure both of our kids know that we listen to and value their opinions. These days this feels especially crucial for my daughter, who is about to finish up her first year in high school. I want her to feel empowered to use her voice wherever she is, and while I know that starts at home, I also try to go beyond the family, creating a culture of empowerment for her and everyone I work with. If everyone who works at barre3 feels empowered and valued, they will go home and teach their own kids to feel the same way. It’s a chain reaction and teaching our daughters to have a voice can start right here. Right in my own business.
Here are three approaches that help me do that.
1. Remember that how you show up matters
I start with myself. Am I standing up for myself? Am I sharing my voice in a room full of men? Do I surround myself with people who expand my thinking and support me? Do I practice self-care and self-love? I make it a conscious practice to do all of these things because I know that how I show up in life is more powerful than any book or lecture I could offer my daughter. She has watched me lead, fail, and then pull myself up over and over again. In many ways, we are growing up together. She is right by my side as I grow each day as a leader, learning to honor my authentic voice and crowd out my inner critic with compassion and love.
2. Create a community of strong women of all ages to mentor and support our daughters
Expanding my community of empowered women to include all ages and experiences has enriched my daughter’s life. I had this experience growing up, and I am so thankful for it. It is one thing to hear the words “You are powerful, wise, and strong” from your mother. But think about how profound it is for a young woman to hear that from a woman or peer who isn’t related to her. Surrounding my kids with a community of empowered women was one of my main inspirations for starting barre3 11 years ago. One of the things I am most proud of at our company is our commitment to childcare in our studios. I think about all those kids, mine included, who get to grow up surrounded by hundreds of powerful, diverse, and supportive women.
3. Progress not perfection
I’ll never forget a lesson I learned from my mindfulness teacher Dandapani. He said whatever it is you practice, you get good at. My daughter can practice soccer and get really good at it, so why not spend just as much time practicing our values and things that are important to us? We have a practice in our household of replacing the idea of perfection with the idea of progress. One specific way we practice this is by sitting in a circle with a guided conversation about times when we didn’t make the grade, win the race, feel included, or manage conflict well. We lean into these experiences as an opportunity to be real and to grow. By inviting a conversation around times we show up as less than awesome, we remember that our true worth isn’t measured externally. Our worth is in being honest and in caring about growing and learning. In an age where images of “perfection” are everywhere we look—particularly on social media—I think all young women need this more than ever.
The power of women supporting women shows in our success and in our growing movement to redefine what success in fitness means. We are all rising together—and that feels like the most important example of empowerment I can give my daughter.