There is always a great story about how you meet someone, right? I met Melissa at Baldwin Beach in Pa’ia on Maui island. I was visiting with a mutual friend of ours (while snacking on crackers and coconut curry hummus on the beach, of course). Melissa just happened to be catching some sun before her flight to California. I had the opportunity to hear her story and learn about her business. And I shared my love of poetry, of all things! My favorite poet, W.S. Merwin, lives up the street from Pa’ia, and I told a story about how he spends his days repopulating the volcano with native Hawaiian plants. It was a joy-filled day. I was able to connect to an old friend and make a new one. Melissa is a delightful, open-hearted, impressively strong woman.
The lesson behind meeting Melissa in Maui is a reminder to leave your life open to the gift of serendipity. Stay grounded, stay accountable, and let the happy accidents of living unfold.
Melissa is the founder of YouFitNow.com, an online personal training business. For all that technology can do to separate us, it can also bring us together if we apply a deeply human touch. It’s really her behind the screen, putting time and thought and lots of love into your health and well-being. Melissa is very sensitive and thoughtful, which you will learn. She is a singer and songwriter and meditator and fighter of fears. She is already on your team, in your corner, and believes you have everything you need in your heart to #ClimbYourOwnLadder. Read on.
What inspired you to create You Fit Now?
My inspiration to create YouFitNow.com came from a deep wanting inside to create an accessible, affordable and simple way for clients to achieve their life and fitness goals. I have a passion for health and fitness that comes from experience. I was overweight and unhappy for most of my twenties before I finally chose to do something about [it]. I know just how hard it can be to get started and follow through... and how rewarding and freeing it is once you begin to accomplish the goals you set.
In my four years as a personal trainer/life coach I have come across two major obstacles that many people face when trying to achieve their goals with the help of a fitness professional. One is the price-tag of personal training and the other is finding time in their busy schedules (schedules that just seem to get busier and busier!).
With YouFitNow.com I am able to provide clients with online custom personal training and nutritional consulting at half the price of a traditional trainer. YouFitNow.com, being an online business, allows my clients to be in control of their training schedule. They don't have to work around a trainer’s schedule in a gym. They have the freedom and flexibility of working out anytime they like and anywhere they like: home, park, gym, etc.
Plus, the YouFitNow.com online account provides everything they need to make success as easy as possible: Email, Mobile App, Stat Tracking, Instructional Videos and more.
I strive to support every one of my clients in reaching their highest potential by helping to unlock the will and determination needed to successfully meet their fitness goals.
What rituals are a key part of your day/week and contribute your well-being as an entrepreneur?
My own personal workouts and my diet are a huge key to my well-being as an entrepreneur. Both reduce stress, help me look and feel confident, and increase my overall vitality. I am always researching new exercises or exercise techniques, foods and nutritional supplements that may helpful to my clients. So, I get to have fun and be playful with my routine, which is something I try to bring to my clients and their custom workouts.
Another key part of my day is my morning meditation. Meditation combined with physical activity give me the right balance of both internal and external exploration. Meditation helps center my energy so that I can be more productive and present with my clients throughout the day. It also gives me a handle into the places inside that can be holding me back from my external goals and wantings. This combination was extremely vital for me in the beginning stages of my training.
When have you felt the most vulnerable? What do you do to release fear?
Ah, vulnerability! I think the times where I have felt most vulnerable were when I felt that a very precious and sensitive part of my heart was going to be exposed and therefore potentially threatened. I have felt vulnerability during deep, intimate sexual affairs. I have felt vulnerable when sharing intimate things I have shame about such as parts of my childhood, the violence I have inside and parts of me that are very selfish. I have felt vulnerable when performing my music. I am also a singer/songwriter (melissalevimusic.com) and I still have moments of extreme vulnerability when performing for others.
I have learned that opening to the vulnerability instead of trying to hide it or fight it helps me to move through it. So, instead of feeling fear, I can feel love and warmth. When I am able see that the vulnerability is nothing to be afraid of because these parts cannot be hurt, then the real opportunity for opening begins. The kind of deep opening I am working on is an ongoing life process and one I have a lot of passion for.
How has community contributed to your success? How do you nurture a sense of community in your life and your business?
To begin with, community in the larger sense played a key role in helping me obtain an education at the National Personal Training Institute in Seattle, WA. It was through community education programs that I was able to apply for a state grant in order to afford the tuition.
The fitness community has been a key part of my success. When I was first starting out I reached out on numerous occasions to members of the fitness community asking for advice and tips. There is such a passion for helping others in the industry itself and this is really reflected in the way that trainers and instructors will often share ideas and concepts with one another.
I have been playing with ideas of bringing health and fitness education to the global community. I am researching ways in which to present health and fitness information and also provide a forum for people to discuss what works and what doesn’t, express the ups and downs of lifestyle changes and ask questions. It is my next project for You Fit Now.com.
What does #ClimbYourOwnLadder mean to you?
I really love the imagery that comes with this. To me, the ladder isn’t a just a ladder, it is me! Climbing my own ladder, or climbing me, means everything that I need to succeed is right here inside of me. Every step forward that I take as a small business owner is another rung of the ladder (created by me) to help me reach as high as I wish to go!
I don’t need a corporation or company to build anything for me. I am a pioneer and forge out ahead, making my own rules out of my own set of standards and values. I love being my own “boss”, as this allows me the freedom to provide the kind of help and care to my clients that can make a big difference in not only their lives, but mine as well.
The corporate ladder is a dying beast. As more and more people realize the power of the internet and a global marketplace, corporations are slowly losing their grip on our time, money and lives.
As a small business owner, I enjoy the freedom to be able to support every one of my clients in reaching their highest potential by helping to unlock the will and determination needed to successfully meet their fitness goals.