Declare Your Independence

This Fourth of July I encourage you to take some time to think about what makes you independent and how you, individually, contribute to the success of your family, friend group, community and country.
06/27/2014 02:02 pm ET Updated Aug 27, 2014

The Fourth of July is a highly anticipated event for many of us. We get together with family and friends; we barbecue, see fireworks, go to the beach or watch a parade. We spend ages planning the perfect outfit that evenly distributes equal amounts of red white and blue, and yes, we get the day off! But we rarely take time to reflect on what the day really means. Fourth of July isn't just about gathering together as a community. It's about independence. What does independence mean to you? How do you work towards "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"? So let's rethink Independence Day, and amongst the grilling and outdoor fun, let's celebrate what makes YOU independent.

Remember that moment when you left home for college? When you left for summer camp for the first time? OR when you put down that deposit for your first apartment? The prospect of doing something on your own may have been daunting or exciting. It may have filled you with pride to step on your own two feet and face the world, or you may have been terrified. But whatever it was and however you felt, YOU did it. You took the plunge and made something happen. This Fourth of July I invite you to celebrate an accomplishment for yourself. Did you leave your job to start a business? Did you fight all of the "no" in your life and pursue your dreams? Did you attend college? Commit to your family? Create something artistic? Tell someone you love them? It doesn't have to be the greatest thing you've ever accomplished; it just has to be something you did independently that catalyzed change in your life. A single thing you did for yourself that ultimately helped you lead a happier life and change the lives of those around you. It could be as simple as a kind gesture or a phone call. There is no wrong answer.

It was a simple change that gave me the tools I needed to open my own business. After working in marketing at a corporate magazine I wanted a change. I wanted to build a business based on wellness and personalized results. I wanted to create a close-knit community in New York City -- a neighborhood feel in the fitness world. I wanted to really know my clients and establish a supportive and nurturing environment. I saw Nalini Method's potential, and I knew I had to pave my own way. I owned up to the fact that I owed myself that chance. So I made the choice to move forward alone and begin my journey as an entrepreneur. It wasn't always easy. I spent the first few months as a business owner handing out flyers on the street, getting to know as many people as I could and asking questions to as many people that would listen. But step by step, things began to work out. It took resilience and a lot of newfound faith in myself. Today, I look back at that time fondly, knowing that it was a need for independence that laid the foundation for my business. I always encourage my students to say thank you to someone in their lives that has helped them along the way. Now it's time to thank yourself.

The Declaration of Independence cites that as independent states, Americans have the right to wage peace, provide commerce and develop laws. Yet within this independence, "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." Yes, Independence Day is about that collective pledge of honor, but it goes deeper. It is about a group of individuals making the choice to pledge their commitment to a sovereign nation. This Fourth of July I encourage you to take some time to think about what makes you independent and how you, individually, contribute to the success of your family, friend group, community and country. "Mutually" we make pledges to each other to combine our skills and pursuits to create harmony. No man is an island, but it is the combination of our individual journeys that make this nation great. Happy Independence Day!