THE BLOG

Sadie Lincoln: On Honoring Your Truth

03/12/2015 01:51 pm ET | Updated May 12, 2015

Paradigm Shifters is a series of interviews with a select group of women from eclectic walks of life. It will highlight real life insight on how women have been able to turn weakness into strength. Each interview is the naked truth about breakdowns that inspired breakthroughs. These women have experienced internal changes, which make them quintessential Paradigm Shifters.

Everything I have ever done has been focused on this underlying theme of shifting the paradigm because "what we think determines what we feel and what we feel determines what we do." Hence why Seven Bar Foundation and Empowered by You takes lingerie, which has traditionally been seen merely as a tool of seduction, and makes it a tool of empowerment.

I hope after reading these stories you will look at your own situations, struggles and accomplishments through a different lens and, at the very least, be better equipped to change your own paradigm. At the end of the day, we are our own Alchemists turning the silver we were born with into the gold we are destined to become.

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Credit: Courtesy of Barre3

Sadie Lincoln -- Founder, Barre3

You have experienced so much in your life. We're all about turning negatives into positives, weakness into strength, and breakdowns into breakthroughs. Has there been a breakdown in your life that has turned into a major breakthrough?

My body literally broke down. It was a horrific experience, but I attribute it to my success today. It shifted my whole perspective. The tagline of the fitness industry is, "No pain, no gain." It doesn't work unless you're burning, sweating and exhausting yourself. I had attached achievement to that feeling. When I broke down, I learned that exercise and being healthy was meditating and not necessarily moving. So we shifted to "Work smarter, not harder." I learned to embrace and celebrate modifications. That's a defining feature of our company and one reason why we're as successful as we are. Clients all over the world tell me how much they appreciate that we're so about honoring your truth.

You clearly filled a void that wasn't being acknowledged in fitness. What made you create Barre3?

I've been in the fitness industry since I was 18. I taught aerobics at UCLA and worked for 24 Hour Fitness for 10 years. I realized that kind of fitness wasn't working. That prescriptive, formulaic model of exercise doesn't serve the people I reach. It focuses on the outer body and not the inner body or honoring body wisdom. I felt there was a need. I love the grace of using a ballet bar and how kind it allows you to be. I love the excitement of group exercise and music, and challenging people in a mindful, individualized way.

And that's what inspired Barre3!

It's been a fast ride. I was so clear on my intention. It was 20 years in the making and I was finally able to press go and pull it all together. My husband and I were thriving in our business. It wasn't until we let go of the idea of achievement and focused on our values and family that it all clicked.

Was that the paradigm shift you experienced?

Definitely. We had two kids and executive level positions. We had made it. One day, Chris came to me with a spreadsheet outlining how we could sell our house and put all our money to use for a year. I was so enamored. Then we thought we might as well create our dream job.

When things aren't going your way is there one thing you can do to turn it around and say, "I'm not going to go there. I'm not going to let this dictate my day"? How do you shift your mood or mind to realign your day?

I go there! It doesn't work to ignore it. It's happening, your day sucks! Also, it's not uncommon to find me under my desk curled up around my dog. If I can find time to retreat for a little bit I can get out if it. Also, when I go into class I leave everything at the door. It's my time to give generously and my clients give right back. Nothing fills my cup more; it's like an instant shot of positive energy. I'm surrounded by the most incredible women and support at work everyday. Talking to them is always helpful.

Working with a team almost completely consisting of women sounds amazing. You worked for 24 Hour Fitness and in male dominated environments. What are the differences you see when working with men versus with women?

It's way more fun. We have this shared experience. In terms of how we run our company, the most glaring difference is how amazing women are at multitasking and time management. These women are on it. They are working smarter and they get the job done. I didn't see that as much in the culture of 24 Hour Fitness. The men were behind the desk at the office for crazy hours. We are more collaborative. We're mother tigers--nurturing, but fierce.

Your classes are all about balance. How do you balance your own life?

That's the million-dollar question! Balance is a practice, not something you finally get to. For me, it's just being really clear on what I care the most about every day. When I'm with my kids, I want to be present with. My biggest struggle is turning off the work world and being present with them. I'm constantly seeking new ways and tools to balance my life. I look up to my team so much. I learn from them.

You lived a life of purpose and instilled wellbeing into so many women. What kind of legacy do you wish all this hard work, tenacity, and fierceness will leave behind?

Legacy is so important to me. Legacy is the relationships I build along the way. If my daughter was witness to the way I'm relating to this person right now, would I be proud of it? When you're surrounding yourself with people who literally and figuratively feed you versus people that deplete you that's when greatness happens. I've happened to attract incredible people and they happen to be women. That's been the most exciting part of this process for me.

Sadie first caught my interest because of her keen sense of innovation in a very competitive athletic market. However, with a peak into her soul, you can see she is the epitome of a paradigm shifter. She not only turned a breakdown into a breakthrough, but because of this she is committed to being a catalyst for others. I have been shifted.