By Jane Bahneman, AFS Community Expert

Driving through my beloved Alexandria, Virginia neighborhood these days, I find myself with a heavy heart. This is a neighborhood built on small businesses, many that have yet to re-open, and some will never see the light of day again.

The quote “What happens to one of us, affects us all” seems fitting one for our current global circumstances.

In our Q3 Nectar Yoga Studios Zoom staff meeting last week, we opened with a centering breath of gratitude as a company - and then a breath of compassion for our local colleagues who have shuddered their businesses and are grieving the losses.

I have read recent stats claiming that up to 40% of fitness entities have permanently closed.

When businesses close, dreams are shattered, communities are broken up, and jobs are gone. This hits close to home for most small business owners, and we are forced to evaluate ourselves in response.

“What can I be doing differently?” “Where should I turn left, instead of right?” or “If I’ve been given a second chance, what will I change?”.

For me, the last six months have been both a challenge and an opportunity. I have dedicated many moments to self-reflection and study. The mandated closure period caused me to hold a magnifying glass up in every domain of my business. Upon re-entry, I have made multiple changes – both in thought processes and in practical application.

Mindset and good habits matter more than ever. Life has been quite a classroom these last few months! Below are some lessons that I’ve built into habits now as we re-build.


Be ever mindful of who you surround yourself with

Your business is your dream. The amount of blood, sweat, and tears you have poured into it should not be taken lightly. Your team members must understand this. As a leader, hold yourself responsible for communicating the company’s current station and vision, and for creating a culture centered around accountability and success.

But don’t stop there. Once you look inside your business, seek inspiration from the outside, too. Find a network, focus groups, critical thinkers, or mentors who do it better than you (whatever “it” is depends on the topic).

Positioning yourself in places with folks who have a can-do attitude, despite recent setbacks, is a must.

Pick your priorities and stay consistent.

With a little less of everything to go around right now, simplifying is hands-down the best habit I picked up during the shutdown. Hone-in on the actions that matter the most. Refine, or completely eliminate the rest. How can you determine the must-knows, must-haves, and must-dos in your business empire? Upon re-entry ask yourself if old processes move the needle or provide you the necessary information to move the needle, each and every day. Keep what you must, take consistent action, and then confidently leave the rest behind.

Fill your bucket

While I think the greatest way to lift the spirit is to serve others, we must unplug, regularly and in healthy doses, to restore our own creative energy as business leaders. Buck the glorification of busy-ness and a 24/7 non-stop rhythm.

Embrace simple practices that fill your heart back up each week after a tumultuous 2020. It was initially uncomfortable to take my finger off the pulse of my business. With practice, I’ve settled in and new definitions of what is urgent. Everything around you might feel better, look better, and be better after these little re-sets.

Best wishes for a stable and prosperous end to a wild year!

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Jane Bahneman, MS, is the owner of Nectar Yoga Studios outside of Washington DC.  Jane has been teaching fitness and yoga and speaking nationally for nearly two decades. She has held leadership roles in many fitness & wellness settings and owns Jane Bahneman Consulting for aspiring entrepreneurs. Jane is an Athleta Brand Ambassador and serves on the American Council on Exercise Industry Advisory Panel and the Advisory Council for the Association of Fitness Studios. Her certifications include: ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist; NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist; ACE Certified Group Exercise Instructor; Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 and Prenatal-RYT; Spinning Certified.

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