We had the good fortune of connecting with Meghan Gonzales and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meghan, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
In my time as an entrepreneur and growing into motherhood, now with 3 under 3, I can truly say I do not believe in balance. There is no way to feel great about doing ALL of the things unless you are completely present where you stand. When I am at work, I am fully focused on work, I am where my feet are, both physically and mentally. As soon as I walk in my door, again, I am right where I stand, both physically and mentally. The practice of being present and allowing yourself to be where you are takes a lot of work. Each morning, I wake up and follow the same routine. Feed babies put them back to sleep, pour my already made coffee, eat breakfast, meditate, journal or read, check emails, create a to-do list & review my calendar. This daily practice ensures I can start my day on the right foot and in the right frame of mind. From there I do my very best to be present where ever I am in my day. Currently, I am a wife, mother of 3 beautiful babies, friend to many amazing women, the owner of Pure Barre Fort Collins, and the COO for a start-up Marketing Agency, Conversation Piece. It was my dream to leave my marketing career and own my own business and it was going swimmingly, until COVID. Pure Barre was on a trajectory to hit the studio’s best numbers since opening 6 + years prior. With a quick turn of events and COVID forcing us to close our doors for 3 months, that momentum has been slowed, but we will not be stopped. And in this pause, I was able to find my way back to something I truly love. Marketing has always been a passion of mine, but my previous position in a company where I worked too many hours and had unrealistic expectations made me lose sight of that. While I never imagined this is where I would be almost 2 years later, I can honestly say I couldn’t be happier. Trust the process, even when you can’t see the finish line. Lean into the hard work and find alignment along the way. There will never truly be a balance, we were not created to do all of the things, but the best thing you can do is align yourself in a way that you are present where you stand each day. Your perception is your reality and isn’t it funny how our perspective shifts. I remember thinking I was so busy, as a 25-year-old career-driven woman, living the social life with so many places to go and things to do. Now, I have more than I could have ever imagined juggling back then and somehow life seems to be in perfect harmony. I am still learning that we do the best we can with what we have.
What should our readers know about your business?
Pure Barre Fort Collins is an amazing Franchise owned by Xponential Brands. Many people asked me when I started my journey to buying this studio, “why don’t you just start your own barre studio?” The answer is simple, it’s because it IS Pure Barre that I love. The technique, the community, the music, the passion, there truly is no other barre workout life Pure Barre. But what makes PB Fort Collins special is our unique community. Fort Collins is a special place, no doubt but the community we’ve cultivated within these walls holds something special. And the best part is, amidst a global pandemic, we are still growing, changing lives, helping women & men to create a healthier lifestyle, both physically and mentally. This year, in particular, we’ve hit every road bump and challenge in the book. In February 2020, I found out I was expecting, TWINS! I had just promoted Rhaya, our studio manager, and Lizzy our lead teacher and I was immediately so thankful that I had these two women in place! In February, I remember thinking, I’ve got plenty of time to get them ready for my brief, temporary, maternity leave departure. But boy was I naive, I had NO idea what was coming in March, just like everyone else. When every gym across the nation started shutting down we decided to close, before our local government-mandated closure. This was hands down one of the hardest days of my life to date. I felt singled out, alone, and scared. I can tell you I allowed myself to sit in that fear for one day. I cried, screamed, I was mad, I felt robbed and I didn’t want to hear any sound reasoning whatsoever. And then I woke up the next day and decided to make the best of it that we could. I was not alone, this pandemic was not just out to get me, it was shutting down the entire nation, who was I to feel sorry for myself. So, I pulled up my big girl panties and made a plan with my team, we launched our entire studio business into online classes, we navigated a whole new world of technology and live streaming, we became an IT department of sorts. We made it happen. The biggest takeaway here is that you’re allowed to feel all of the feelings, go through the emotions of self-doubt or fear, but you cannot let it consume you. Feel those big emotions and work through them. Build a team to support you, delegate tasks where you can, and above all else, choose to operate in faith over fear. With uncertainty looming in March 2020, I decided to pay our entire team, even when they were not able to work. This is a decision I will never regret. Take calculated risks and follow your instincts, they’re seldom wrong and when they are, you’ll learn a valuable lesson.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is easy, I mean, I live in Fort Collins after all. First, I would ensure my friend flew in during the day, so she could witness the glory of the Rocky Mountains on her flight in, warning her though, that the landings can be a bit rough due to chinook winds, but it’s normal. Once she arrived, we would drive North to Fort Collins, where I would insist that we stay at the Armstrong Hotel, in charming downtown Fort Collins. Here we would have walking access to all of our favorite breweries, restaurants, and adorable shops. Must eat, Breakfast, Urban Egg, Snooze is great but overrated (sorry probably not the popular opinion) Lunch would definitely be Stuft Burger bar, to build your burger and enjoy a fresh brewski, order sammies or salad on the day from Snack Attack sandwiches, and of course late-night pizza, Slice or Otto pint. Dinner, 415 (where my husband and I had our first date) and Drink & hang, we’d need to go to O’Dell and New Belgium brewery during the day and the evening would bring us to Social, The Magic Rat, and the Sunset Lounge at the Elizabeth. If we weren’t enjoying a nice patio beer somewhere, we would be taking a day trip up to Estes to revel in the glorious Rocky Mtn’ National Park or up the Poudre Canyon to hike my favorite trail, Grey Rock. And if we were to take a day trip to Denver we’d head to Uncle and explore the Highlands & Rhino district.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow, how blessed am I to start by saying, where do I start? I have had so many wonderful mentors, friends, and family who have helped me along the way. My husband, Michael, it might sound cliche but to do what I do without an amazingly supportive partner would be impossible I am not a fan of self-limiting beliefs, but he is the foundation that helps hold it all together. Lululemon, this year, right before all of the COVID shutdowns, I became a Lululemon ambassador. I can honestly say the encouragement, support, and leadership exuded from the team has carried me through many hard times over the past year. My entrepreneur girlfriends, most of whom I met through the likes of a mastermind I was previously in, have been my core supporters in growing through this period. While it’s been an incredibly hard year, having these women in my life has helped me to stay above the noise and never get caught up in self-doubt. I would love to list them all here, but they know who they are, and dare I forget a name, I would never forgive myself. So, if you’re reading this, you know. My team & community at Pure Barre, from the women who have been on and joined our team to the amazing women who show up each day and support us, at Pure Barre Fort Collins. They have genuinely been there through it all, with me, for me, for each other and my family. While it was one of the toughest years as a business owner, I will always be grateful for this year, as I have truly gotten to see our community come together and rise. We have cried, sweat, and grow together over the past 10 months and I am forever grateful to be a part of this group of women.
Macy Frances Photographer