The word community is defined as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.” What does community mean to you? For Sadie Lincoln, the co-founder and CEO of barre3, the feeling of community has been a driving force behind all of her life endeavors, including laying the foundation of barre3.
Sadie opened the first flagship barre3 studio in Portland, OR back in 2008. Today, there are 140 franchise studios powered by female entrepreneurs, all thanks to Sadie’s efforts. On an average day, you can find Sadie speaking on mindful leadership, running her global business, or teaching barre3 classes in Portland, OR where she lives. VINAZINE recently chatted with Sadie about the community she created, the importance of having your tribe and more. Get ready to be inspired!
Q: At VINAZINE, we love how barre3 is all about women empowerment and community–two things we 💖! What has community meant to you in your own life?
A: I grew up witnessing the power of women supporting women. My mom banded together with her closest girlfriends who, at the time were all young single mothers, to collectively raise their children. They created their own definition of family and built a foundation that all of us “kids” continue to be grateful for.
The other thing that they taught me is how to look inside for answers, to be self-aware, and show up as my authentic self. These values are directly related to what we are building at barre3. There are many similarities. For one, we are a mostly female-run organization (including all my badass franchisees representing 140 studios) and all of us care deeply about protecting our culture of support for one another. We are also redefining what success in fitness means—much like how my mother and her friends redefined what family means. Our definition of success has nothing to do about exercising to get to an end goal or external measure of success. Quite the opposite. Our definition of success is to exercise as a means to look inside, honor our individual truth, and be happy and confident in our bodies—just as they are.
Q: Who is your community and your tribe today?
A: My family: My inner tribe still includes my mom, aunties and their children who I consider my siblings in addition to my husband and business partner and two children. My friends: We have cultivated our own extended family in our friends and their kids. My peers: I have an amazing group of entrepreneur friends who support me in business. We meet monthly through an organization called Entrepreneur Organization. My team: Last but not least, I have an incredible team who care as much—if not more—about barre3 and our movement. We take good care of each other and I am so grateful I have their respect and it’s absolutely reciprocated.
Q: Here at VINA, we believe in the immense power of community. Why is having a community so important to reach a fulfilled life?
A: It’s vital and foundational. Today, more than ever, we are suffering as a society because we feel isolated and less connected. When we invite community and true rich and meaningful relationships into our lives, we reach a fuller and more meaningful level of success. This has been my experience.
Q: Was there ever a time in your life you felt lonely?
A: Yes. And not just the nagging, I feel kind of alone feeling. I have felt deep in-your-bones-lonely. I moved to L.A. at the age of 18 to get to know my dad and live with him. He was mostly working, so I was alone in a big, new city that was very different than the nurturing small town of Eugene, OR I grew up in. I wasn’t college bound, but I did enroll in a city college. I was super awkward and suffered from low self-esteem during this year and had a hard time attracting my tribe. I am so glad I experienced this. Incredibly grateful really. I learned that being connected is just as healthy as exercise. [my husband and barre3 co-founder] Chris and I built barre3 around this idea and to fight loneliness.
Q: What challenges did you face early on when you wanted to open a barre studio? How did you overcome them?
A: In the beginning, Chris and I did just about everything. I was teaching 19 classes a week, checking people in, opening and closing the studio, cleaning and marketing the classes… Chris was doing everything else, including helping in childcare from time to time. It was challenging but deeply rewarding. I had a client come to one of my retreats and she told me that she walked into our studio before we opened. Chris and I were putting together an IKEA kitchen for the childcare area. She said that I introduced her and encouraged her to come and try a class when we opened because our “rent is really high!” I don’t remember this, but I am sure it is true. So, I guess I was worried about paying the bills as well! I would say I overcame all these challenges with humor and faith that it was temporary…which turned out to be true.
Q: How do you want women to be thinking about fitness moving forward?
A: I want them to see fitness as a way to be present. Instead of exercising to be there—and get to a result, I want all women to exercise to be here—right at this moment, alive, present and with courageous self-love.
Q: If you could go back and give yourself any piece of advice when you were first setting out with your barre3 dreams, what would you say?
A: Oh, honey it’s OK. Everyone feels like an imposter. And I mean everyone! Keep looking inside. Trust your feminine instincts and your heart. Keep your standards high. You deserve this and so do the thousands and thousands of amazing people who will walk through your doors.
Q: What are your goals for 2019?
A: Deepen my mindful practice. Continue to speak my truth about wanting to redefine what success in fitness means so every woman feels safe and at home in her body—just as it is. Love on my family.
Q: On the Hey! VINA app, users describe themselves in five emojis. What are yours?A: ✨💪🤓☺️🧡
Q: What motto do you live by?
A: You are your own best teacher.
Are you looking for your own community? Download Hey! VINA, join as many communities as you’d like and start swiping. Your vina tribe is waiting for you.✌️