B2B ID: Donna Brooks, owner, Original Body Wisdom, Hadley and Northampton
NAME: Donna Brooks
JOB TITLE, COMPANY: Owner, Original Body Wisdom, Hadley and Northampton
WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: Teaching yoga and movement since 1981
WHAT YOU DO: I provide yoga therapy and movement analysis and re-patterning through classes, individualized lessons and walking clinics. I also mentor yoga instructors and offer presentation coaching to help people who struggle with speaking to groups. People connect with what a speaker says more easily when the speaker is comfortable and connected in his or her own body. I also offer weekly classes for people with Parkinson’s disease.
EXPERIENCE: Designed yoga and movement-based programs for diverse populations since 1981. I have worked with young adults, the elderly, athletes, cancer survivors, people with sensory processing difficulties, trauma, high sensitivity, brain injury, Parkinson’s and people who face challenges related to aging. In the past, I also worked with AIDS patients and taught Yoga for Menopause classes for Kaiser Permanente.
THE MARKET: People with aches, pains, injuries, anxiety, high sensitivity and those who want to feel more comfortable in their own bodies, without hard and continuous work. I also draw people who want a body-based approach for consistent stress relief.
HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: I naturally like to meet and talk with people, but I am also aware that I am a kind of walking billboard for what I do. The feeling of ease, grace, comfort and confidence I find in my own body and presentation is contagious.
WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? I have had to finance what I do each step of the way. This can be a painful process as I don’t always get to do everything I want, but it requires all my choices to have a solid foundation.
KEY TO SUCCESS: Passion, passion, passion. I love what I do, and people definitely respond to that energy. I also have coaches, mentors and professional affiliations. Getting feedback, having sound-boards and encouragement makes all the difference.
CHALLENGES: When you are offering something new in the market place, you have to find ways to connect it to people who want something, but don’t even know exactly what they want.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: Not exploring clients’ ideas with them fully. I assume if someone is reluctant, they know why. That is not true. Gentle questioning helps a client be clear on what they need and also builds trust.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: That it takes courage to define yourself in the market when you are the product, but it is well worth the work.
WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY: Val Nelson, business coach, and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and the School for Body-Mind Centering, formerly of Amherst, including teachers Beth Goren and Lenore Grubinger. Iyengar Yoga teacher Karin Stephan, who ran an AIDS summer retreat on Cape Cod that was one of the most powerful experiences in my life. And the late Thomas Hanna, who strongly encouraged me to integrate the freedom and ease I was finding in movement into my yoga classes.
TOP GOALS FOR 2013: Beginning a 10-month mentoring program for yoga teachers who want to teach with more ease, authenticity and integrity. Also, building presentation coaching skills for the self-employed and creative.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Find someone who can help you focus on strategy while also focusing on the vision that keeps you charged and happy.
PARTING THOUGHT: Living with ease and integrity makes life rich
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