Lisa Charles (Yes! Coach)- CEO of Embrace Your Fitness, LLC (“EYF”), a wellness consultancy
CEO, Embrace Your Fitness, LLC
Author, Yes! Commit. Do. Live
Lisa Charles Documentary – a Bayer Mack Production: https://vimeo.com/530120544
Introduction video: https://vimeo.com/695907710/efb79d7528
My Business Beginnings
My name is Lisa Charles, and I am the mother of three beautiful children, married to the love of my life for over 37 years. I am the CEO of Embrace Your Fitness, LLC (“EYF”), a wellness consultancy that brings innovative, creative, effective, and fun programs to individuals, corporations, and organizations. I am also an award-winning Keynote Speaker and Best-Selling Author of “Yes! Commit Do Live” – a book centered on training people to tap into the Brain-Body connection enabling them to embrace any passion and desire and turn it into tangible results.
I have been passionate about the spoken and written word and their ability to bring healing throughout my life. That passion led me on a journey from a spoken word artist at a young age to a courtroom attorney, a professional actress, an international speaker, and an author in my adult years. I always understood that life’s journey is not a straight line but a fortuitous maze of twists and turns, with each choice enriching the chapters of our life.
My chapter as a state and federal prosecutor putting away rapists, child abusers, organized crime members, and corrupt police officers was personally transformative. Each case represented shattered or broken lives, with individuals holding onto the hope of healing on the horizon. It allows me to hone my listening skills while advancing my ability to enrich the lives of individuals, often traveling within some of the darkest moments of their life.
As a life-enhancing twist, I returned briefly to the performance arena as a singer/actress. I experienced the joy of off-Broadway productions, television, and singing at Carnegie Hall before temporarily losing my performance voice due to a throat infection. From that loss, my zeal for health coaching and personal training was born with me as my first client. After successfully shedding 77 lbs. and discovering a new passion for wellness, I created Embrace Your Fitness, LLC, a wellness consultancy.
Now, as a Brain, Body, and Belief Alignment Expert, I specialize in Sleep management and Breathing techniques empowering individuals to let go of their limiting beliefs, embrace who they are, and break through any age-limiting barriers, by allowing them to experience wellness from my top/down, inside/out approach. I call it the Age Defying Life, where you master how to release stress, renew energy, restore sleep, and gain the mental clarity to live the life of your dreams.
My Business Challenges
The two most significant challenges my business has encountered involve determining when to pivot and how to thrive during market downturns – even a worldwide pandemic. Both challenges required a unique approach within my industry and a deep understanding of my business vision and mission.
EYF’s mission is to provide professional fitness and wellness consulting services that uplift the community globally and meet their needs, fostering shared and sustainable growth for a better world. EYF focuses on reconnecting individuals to their wellness journey, so they take charge of their minds and bodies while realizing their potential and embracing WHO YOU ARE!
Both challenges on how to pivot and how to thrive required me to dive deeply into why I do what I do and how I can best execute my mission and vision.
The Business Pivot Challenge
I focused on fitness classes and services during my first several years of EYF. I provided my services to individuals and small groups within towns, cities, and organizations that requested my unique approach to bringing “fun to fitness.” That initial business structure provided a full range of fitness services, including classes and high-end personal training.
While that structure was rewarding and produced outstanding client results, it was limited in its overall scope and reach. I could only train a finite number of people daily, limited to the number of working hours each day. Not surprisingly, at times, it was exhausting. My vision and mission required me to set forth my innovative, creative wellness programming designed to meet the demands of a global market. My business vision statement and mission were more expansive than a one-on-one or small-group training model. My initial business implementation was too confining, and a business pivot was necessary to allow me to break free.
Before making that pivot, I examined all the wellness programs I had created and linked them to the community’s identified needs. I conducted polls and tested the market with my programs to help determine the best way to fill any gaps within the wellness industry. I also looked closely at my skill bank, focusing on the loves, passions, and talents I had yet tapped to advance my business.
That pivot opened the door to authoring my first book, Yes! Commit. Do. Live – Embrace the Brain-Body Connection to Achieve Your True Desires and speaking opportunities at venues globally on Wellness Reimagined and the Brain-Body Connection. It also directed my focus to provide corporate programs to meet the needs of the entire staff – broadening the reach of my health message. With my business pivot, I focused on specialized designs, such as the “pop-up wellness villages,” employee destress, and breathing programs that I could personalize for each business. I branched into consulting, program design, and wellness workshops and training. With this pivot, EYF aligned better with my global vision to initiate and advance a wellness model that produces lasting results.
The Pandemic Challenge
The Pandemic and its resulting policies have profoundly impacted the world population’s mental and physical health, resulting in higher stress levels, depression, insomnia, PTSD, and anxiety. Stress can activate inflammation in the brain and the body, a common risk factor of 75%–90% of diseases linked to morbidity and mortality. Cardiovascular disease, hypertension, metabolic diseases, i.e., diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and neurodegenerative disorders, such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and cancer, are rising.
With this backdrop, many businesses were financially impacted due to mandatory pandemic closures and the loss of steady revenue streams, and my business was not immune. The Pandemic posed a significant challenge and risk to the long-term viability within specific industries.
For EYF, the first wave of pandemic restrictions closed much of my in-person business, including my speaking engagements, in-person corporate workshops, and business training. At that time, I didn’t have a significant online presence. However, with challenges, there are opportunities.
Enter the opportunity. The Pandemic required EYF to explore all the online platforms and assess the best one to present virtual content that engages business leaders and their employees with a creative and unique approach to delivering programs. The keyword was and still is “engagement.” Community and connection were significant advantages my programs bought at a time when loneliness and separation ran rampant. Since people were somewhat disconnected at that time, it was even more critical to advance creative programming with a strong emphasis on how to bring people together again.
I would not wish the Pandemic on anyone, but the lesson gained is to know your business well enough to make the necessary pivots to survive and thrive during any downturn.
The most incredible opportunities presented to EYF over the years often came when I was busy, had multiple projects to complete, and was not looking to add a new experience. When an opportunity arises, it can bring fear to the forefront. When asked to serve as the Fitness/Wellness Research Coordinator for the Aging & Brain Health Alliance at Rutgers University, I had multiple responsibilities and ongoing community and hospital projects within the consulting arm of my business. I used the steps listed below, took a leap of faith, and found a rich understanding of brain science, which has played a significant role in my current programs, articles, books, and speaking engagements.
Before making any decision, I always advise business leaders to do the following three things:
1. Take a Pause. This first step is vital because you don’t want to rush into an opportunity without a thorough analysis. A rash decision can lead to a business setback.
2. Reflect. Weigh the pros and cons of the opportunity with an eye toward whether the opportunity aligns with your business mission and vision.
· Does this opportunity best reflect your loves and passions that are the foundation of your mission and vision statements?
· When you think of all the things you love and truly enjoy doing, those things that lift your spirit from the inside out, will this opportunity be a part of that love and light?
3. Be Free. Just because an opportunity has come your way doesn’t mean you are obliged or should feel compelled to take it. If the prospect doesn’t fulfill the earlier criteria, then it’s one that you should say No. However, if it does meet those criteria, then step into that opportunity boldly, ready to grow professionally, thrive emotionally and physically, and flourish spiritually. Be an “all in” type of person.
1. Be Grateful
“When you are grateful, fear disappears, and abundance appears.”
– Tony Robbins
I am blessed to have been given tremendous opportunities over the years. Whether it was working as the Fitness /Wellness Research Coordinator for the Aging & Brain Health Alliance at Rutgers University, my grant work with the New Jersey Department of Health, or my current position as a consultant with Plant Based Science International (PBSI), an innovative and adaptive global healthcare solutions company, I have continuously operated with a spirit of gratitude. I begin each day and end each day with a heart of gratitude.
There is power in having a spirit of gratitude that impacts your emotional, mental, and physical health and well-being. Based on brain science, gratitude is rooted in our DNA and brains. It helps to improve our overall health and adopt healthier habits. It can help you sleep, improve inflammation, and separate you from toxic emotions.
Gratitude helps to attract opportunities to further your overall growth.
2. Be Kind
Aesop, the ancient Greek storyteller, once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
The Science of Kindness centers around oxytocin – “the love hormone.”
- Oxytocin makes us more trusting, generous, and friendlier while lowering our blood pressure.
- Random acts of kindness release dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that can give us a feeling of euphoria. This feel-good brain chemical causes what’s known as a “helper’s high.”
- Kindness lowers stress levels – Cortisol.
- Feel better about yourself and others.
- Harvard’s 75-year study on the key to happiness – relationships – the happier they are – the healthier you are.
When you build the kindness muscle – you become better in all human interactions. It will advance your communication skills while increasing your understanding of others. A corporate environment that encourages interrelations built on kindness is a corporate environment that fosters healthy living.
3. Be Healthy
Whether committing to daily activities, such as deep breathing to reduce stress and restore restorative sleep, or increasing physical activity to nurture the brain-body connection, adopting health-enhancing programs should be a business priority.
Corporate-sponsored breathing programs, sleep-enhancing programs, exercise or movement programs, fueling/eating challenges, and programs that help to enhance mindset can limit sick leave and employee burnout while enhancing overall creativity and productivity. Adopting well-designed health programs is an investment in the long-term health of any organization.
These programs are my passion. An integrative approach incorporating science-based tenants of gratefulness, kindness, and fitness brings an innovative approach to advancing health. I call it “Wellness-Reimagined,” which is the future of healthcare.
If you want to learn more, please book a call and embrace transformational growth.