I am honored that I was asked by Mariel of THINKALLWAYS to write about my experience with living my passion and how it gives me purpose. As I started writing, I realized my whole life has been driven by my passions and that living those every day was my only real choice. I had to find something every day that I felt was using the tools and talents I was given in life to enrich the lives of others… and that was the only way that I would feel fulfilled in my career and in my life. It motivated me to start our fitness brand, Shine Studio , and keeps me working every day to find a way to make those passions a full time career.
From a young age, I have been driven by my passion for dance. As a kid, nothing pleased me more than giving my 5th or 6th bow at the end of a show (yes, this actually happened. Haha!). As a teenager, I gave up any spare time I had to dance or cheerleading, to the school musicals, or choir practice. I gave anything else up to enjoy music, and dance, and my love of performance and movement. The truth of this is, I never felt like I wanted more “free” time because I enjoyed it that much! Even on the weekends I’d make up dance and cheer routines in my room, cutting the music on a double decker tape recorder.
Those days in dance class shaped me more than anyone would know. I fell in love each day with movement and became attached to the discipline of showing up to class and giving my best effort each time. When it came to deciding on a potential career, my mind was nowhere else but dance. Many people would say, “Don’t you want a back up plan?” or “Are you sure you shouldn’t double major?” But my heart didn’t tell me anything else but- “You need to pursue this dream.”
And so I did. I went to college for dance at Loyola Marymount University and trained hard for 4 years. Before I graduated, I had my first professional dance job for Disneyland. I was so proud of that accomplishment! Then I went on to dance for Holland America Cruise Line and after that, straight to New York to pursue more dreams.
The truth is, making a living out a passion can be incredibly hard. It requires intense personal diligence and sacrifice, and a never-give-up attitude that is hard to sustain. It took the toughest skin imaginable to go to auditions and get cut over and over, only to have a job here or there prove that you do have something great to offer the world! After 3 years in New York, it was the hardest decision I ever had to make, but I decided to move back to California. I missed the year-round sun and my car, but truthfully, I wanted to find a place where I could be more settled. Meet someone, have a family, and make a life.
When I got back to California, I was a bit lost, but I was still determined to find a career and life that fulfilled me. In the first few years back, I was working jobs to simply pay the rent. But many of my other dreams came true! I started a company called Spotlight Dance Parties that does dance parties for kids, wedding dances, flash mobs, etc… and… I met the man of my dreams, got engaged, bought a house, got married, and went on a honeymoon of a lifetime! All the while still searching for a way to pursue my passions full time.
In this crazy couple of years back in California, I realized that I still really wanted to share my love of movement and dance and thought a great way to do that would be through a fitness studio. During my dance training, I had also studied Pilates and Yoga (and gotten certified in Pilates as well), and really felt like there could be a way for a studio to come together that would be not only a place to get fit, but a place of community, support, and positivity. A place where each person could come and feel comfortable in their own skin and never feel like they were judged or expected to look a certain way or be anyone other than themselves. Meanwhile, I had met a new friend named Yaya and she and I had started having a dialogue about this studio concept. Over the next year, it started to take shape. Soon enough, we were looking at spaces and looking at each other like… “can we do this?!?!”
And here we are!! Only 4 months into owning our own studio, Shine Studio in Redondo Beach. It’s a small boutique studio, but our very own little space that we created by ourselves, from the ground up. It’s a space of love, community, positivity, growth, and friendship. Just like we wanted. We see our clients’ smiles every day and it renews our faith in the ultimate goal that healthy living and fitness can actually be fun. Sure, we have definitely had trials and days where we wondered what we got ourselves into! Haha. But we believe so much in the idea of living our passions every day. And if we stay dedicated to that and let it SHINE through us in every class and every day, we know that it will spread like wild fire.
Part of choosing to live your passion is simply jumping in, working hard, and knowing that if you are being true to yourself, it will be reflected back in your success.
What fuels you each day? What passions do you have that you can share with the world? Its time to get started!!