One of the reasons that MiddleMe is such an awesome platform is due to the interaction we get from the diverse audience all over the world. I love that I have readers from Singapore to India all the way to the United Kingdom and United States. From retirees dishing out precious wisdom to essential staff sharing their stories with us.
Today, we have the Founder of Uniquely Fit, Cindy Georgakas with more than 35 years of health and wellness experiences, serving others with a passionate goal in mind – to help other people to find inner peace and healthy living, come and share her thoughts and experiences with us.
Hi Cindy, over in MiddleMe, we are all about having passion in what we do and helping others. We are honoured to have you today to talk about your work and passion. Please introduce yourself and Uniquely Fit.
Thank you so much, Kally, for inviting me to interview with you. I follow your site regularly and find it very informative with such heartfelt passionate messages for humanity.
I was born in San Francisco, California and grew up in Daly City and I kept migrating south for better weather after college. I live in an incredible rural community in Woodside, Ca. about 40 minutes south of S.F. with just over 6,000 people with beautiful mountains to hike and beaches to visit which I love and keep me fit. I’m happily married with 4 children, 4 furry family members, 2 horses on our property and 5 ageing parents who are local.
Uniquely Fit was born out of my passion for fitness with the premise that every person is unique and different and each individual’s needs must be honoured.. The business has expanded and grown over the years offering more services and now with Covid reinventing itself yet again, with Zoom One on One sessions, group classes, outdoor sessions and I’m more active on blogging.
I modelled my studio after Jane Fonda’s aerobic studio she opened in 1982 in S.F. and I opened mine in San Mateo California within weeks of her opening hers when I was 26 years old. It was such an exciting time in my life building from the ground up and training staff.
At the time we had low and high impact, aerobic classes, with small free weights.
I also taught pre and postnatal exercise, birth coaching and baby massage with one massage therapist on staff. We had 15 instructors and 20 classes a week.
We have now expanded into having 4 massage therapists, yoga classes, No Guts No Glory (boot camp), personal training, Life Coaching, Craniosacral Therapy and we have a Nutritional Consultant on staff.
What made me want to set up Uniquely Fit? What is your mission behind Uniquely Fit?
With a major in Recreational Therapy, I started in convalescent hospitals where I felt I had very little actual control in helping people. I would go to work and come back in the morning to someone I worked with the day before, in my office (dead… yes you heard it right). Somehow they got put in my office as a holding spot.
After a few times of that, it was too heartbreaking for me because I grew to love each person I worked with. I decided to move into the wellness side of health and worked and managed different health facilities and taught workshops. After a few years, I decided to go off on my own and “do it my way”.
My mission is for each person to find their passion in their lives through movement, finding exactly what feeds them physically, emotionally and spiritually. I also struggled with my weight and one time went from 115 to 160 lbs in 6 months so I had a lot to teach with that experience.
How do you feel when you have successfully helped others?
I feel awesome! There is so much fulfilment when someone I work with reaches their objective because I know how much they have put into it to get there. It also motivates me to keep walking my talk because you can only help people if you truly live the process. My clients become my biggest inspiration!
What does inner peace mean to you?
It means accepting myself for who I am and relaxing into the present moment and connecting to the Spirit, God, Buddha within or whatever it is for you, where all is well.
Can everyone find inner peace in the end?
Peace is a state of mind and it is much easier when our basic needs of security are met but it is achievable and attainable in every moment if we can stop and quiet our mind, and allow it to fill our souls. It is NOT always easy but nothing worth having is. It takes patience, practice and practice, you must.
I try to help people achieve one goal a week with very small increments and when they master that add another. Meditation, breathing, music, journaling, walking, Yoga, Qigong are all modalities that help foster inner peace.
I have noticed that you have many skills like Occupational and Recreational Therapy among many others. What pushes you to pick up new skills and improve yourself?
I found out early on that O.T. was very tedious and the repetitiveness of the work wasn’t full filling so I moved forward into what was more satisfying to me.
As long as we are alive we are growing. There are times that my clients call me into new things out of the blue. I never would have taught a spin class or started massage if one of my clients didn’t “twist my arm”. Of course, they always make it an offer I can’t refuse. If there is a client that is struggling, I continue to access what is needed and will take other classes or certifications to find the best modalities to help them.
That is how I started doing Craniosacral Therapy and Music as Medicine. Other times, it is just a calling and I trust it and go with it. It has never steered me wrong. Other times I refer out.
What kind of challenges excite you?
There is usually an instinct or aha when I know it is something I want to pursue and usually there is a bit of fear when I think of it. My mind says, “oh forget about it” and I so wish it would go away but when it doesn’t, I have learned to trust it. This reminds me recently of taking the mules down the Grand Canyon.
First of all, I’m scared of heights so what part of me was crazy enough to want to do that I asked. I DON’T, I answered and I remind myself it’s ok to change my mind. But it kept persisting so I researched it a lot and I was so hoping I would change my mind but it wouldn’t go away and one thing I’ve learned is I have to follow that voice. I took me and my fear and gave it over to the donkey. It turned out to be exhilarating and so beautiful and I would have missed a lot by foot. I have a sign in my office that says If your Dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
I’ve just started writing a book and it’s the same calling here and I keep thinking just forget about it while I continue typing.
What does being passionate mean to you?
It means having a purpose that I am excited to work on that brings me joy, exhilaration and meaning and sharing that with the world.
Do you think it is important to have passion for your job? Why?
I do because it doesn’t feel like work then. It feels like an extension of your mission and purpose in life. I love what I do but with that said after 6 -8 clients in a day, it is still something I need a break from.
The gift of a little more time right now is that I can explore other things I love as well. I see clients from as young as teenagers to 100. My soon to be 90-year-old client does a 5-minute plank, and is working on Zoom on an architectural project at the Historical Museum of Art in San Mateo. He still drives to come to see me and if this isn’t passion, I don’t know what is.
What advice would you give to someone who says they can’t find passion in their work?
I would say perhaps it’s time to look at what really would feed them in their job. Reinventing yourself is really important in life and it’s NEVER too late to start over. Sometimes it’s not the job that is the problem but the way they hold it. That is when I would do a one on one session with them to discover their passions.
You do offer Life Coaching as a part of your services. Can you please elaborate on what is life coaching?
I do and it is one of the highlights of my career. I was trained by the best in 1979 by Cherie Carter Scott, Mother of Life Coaching from Motivational Management Services. She recently produced a movie called “The Workshop” which can be seen on Netflix.
Have you ever had a question that keeps rattling around in your head and you never can get resolution on it? That is the perfect time to get a session. It can be as little or big as you can imagine. It could be deciding on how to let go of anger, moving, finding a new career path etc.
I was trained to use a Socratic approach and ask questions so people can access their own answers. The answers are always inside and it is my job to ask the right questions so someone can access them.
What is the difference between a life coach, a counsellor and a psychiatrist?
The difference is we have a very specific set of guideline in a life coaching session which can be broken down like this:
- Objective: What do you want from this session?
- Desire and willingness to get clear on it.
- Exploring Feelings and fears.
- Releasing what is in the way of getting what you want.
- Making a plan of action.
- Checking in to keep you on track.
Counsellors have a good listening ear and usually offer much more evaluation and input.
A psychiatrist can dispense medicine and is usually much less available for exploration and implementation. They are great with finding imbalances in the system and prescribing medication when needed and often work with a psychopharmacist, who is a specialist in choosing medications.
All modalities can work independently or in conjunction with each other.
How is your business surviving during this pandemic? What changes did you make to accommodate the safety regulations?
It’s doing well with some gaps and it is slowly returning to more in-person visits with 6 ft distance and masks etc.
We take everyone’s temperature before starting with a handheld device to the forehead, sanitize everyone, have long wait times in between clients and different outdoor spaces to work in. We have sanitizing products, gloves and wipes available and hand washing is a must. Everything is left outside 2 days and then brought in and is wiped down. I am doing one on one sessions on Zoom as well.
People are adapting to the new normal and finding ways to soothe their bodies without actual touch but with substitutes such as foam rollers, balls etc as I direct them. Life Coaching as you can imagine is really needed right now with the constant changes and fear rightfully and that is being instilled. This gives them their power back.
Any tips for small businesses to survive during this time?
Be consistent and keep the ball going. Never before have I been so grateful to have so many platforms available to do my work and to shift into. I continue to put out my monthly newsletter and I suggest you keep as many systems in place as possible so you don’t fall behind and are ready to go as things shift; BECAUSE THEY WILL!
After my 2nd child, I brought my business home and ran pre and postnatal classes and baby massage out of my house and decided to semi-retire. Not long after that my husband’s business came to a crashing halt with the stock market crash and close. In one month I picked up the pieces and built my business back up to being booked with a waiting list and built a staff and made lemonade out of lemons. That was 25 years ago, and if I can do it, so can you. This is the silver lining when change hits you in the face. It’s the getting up that matters, not the falling down. That is life.
So, try things on for size, when doors close, remember windows will open. There are 9 NO’s to every Yes, so be resilient, don’t give up and don’t take it personally. Remember what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Once again, thank you for taking time in sharing your experiences and tips with us.
You are so welcome Kally. It was lots of fun and my pleasure and I do hope it has been useful for your readers.
Please feel free to reach out if I missed anything and Stay Strong and keep the faith everyone.
If anyone wants to reach me for questions or a session etc feel free to email me at email@example.com, visit me on my website at uniquelyfit.net or blog uniquelyfitblog.com or other social media sites here:
If you enjoyed the above interview, check out some other interviews I did with really passionate and talented folks:
Into the Heart & Mind of a Comedian
Interview with a Recruiter
Journey with SAHMs
What It Is Like Being An Editor
Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.