Great risk comes with great reward. And while most would simply acknowledge this as a bold statement, Sadie Lincoln embodies it as a posture and wholeheartedly. What started off as a difficult decision in starting a business between her and husband, turned into a transformative investment that quickly shaped the way a culture of healthy exercisers viewed the lifestyle around fitness. What Lincoln thrives in surpasses simply the success behind a business and goes beyond into a philosophy of living life well. Best known as the face and founder of Barre3, we had the chance got to delve in deeper to learn Sadie’s story a bit more, the relationship she has with both sacrifice and success and what beauty and health really mean to her.
January Olds: What did sacrifice look like to you before success? What does it look like now?
Sadie Lincoln: I took the liberty of defining success as starting my company, barre3. Sacrifice before B3: Giving up time with my family and friends in place of long work hours and too much time commuting in the Bay Area. Sacrifice now: Letting go of some of my privacy and becoming more vulnerable as a public facing leader of my company.
JO: Being rooted in such a thriving company circled around health and wellness, what is your philosophy of living well?
SL: My philosophy of living well is living with purpose and a constant love of learning.
JO: What was your first memory of when you realized health was something important to you--or even enjoyable for you?
SL: When I was pregnant with my first child I realized how important living an intuitive life to be healthy. When I was pregnant I gave up all exercise programs and diets and just focused in on what my body and baby needed. I think the real way to be healthy is to honor what I need in each moment and remind myself that I am my own best teacher. My relationship to healthy behavior is way more important than copying what other people do to be healthy. I've learned to move in an intuitive way that feels good in my body, to eat in an intuitive way that is deeply satisfying and nourishing, and to honor exactly what kind of energy I need at any given moment. Sometimes I want to blow off steam and run hard up a mountain. Other times I need to sit silently, take a barre3 class, or even just drink a massive glass of wine with good friends.
JO: “Wholeness” is important in general, but in your field of work do you find a pressure in maintaining a someone “put-together” persona?
SL: The short answer is YES. The long answer is that I think we all feel this pressure. How could we not? We are bombarded with ridiculous ideas around what being successful looks like every single day. The real work is looking inside to observe this shame without judgment and then turn my awareness towards what really matters like being a kind person who cares way more about progress than perfection.
JO: Do you find owning a business as a woman has been opportunistic or more difficult as you’ve built your company over the years?
SL: It hasn't been difficult for me at all. I have always been really empowered and clear that I have no boundaries based on my sex. Even in times when I was in a less than ideal culture for women, I had a determination to break through and make my own career around my power as a woman.
JO: Do you believe in balance? Or is that a myth?
SL: I don't believe balance is a goal or something to achieve. I see it as a guide or north star to living a rich and purpose-driven life. The art of balancing life is the art of managing energy based on what each of us decides is important. The practice is to consciously direct energy and awareness to things and people in our life that matter to us.
JO: What was your educational background? And was the learning curve difficult or natural when it came to being a successful entrepreneur?
SL: In terms of education, I was a late bloomer when it came to school. I wasn't a strong student as a kid. I went to community college and this is when I discovered I loved being a student. I ended up transferring to UCLA. I went on to get my Masters in Education at the College of William & Mary. My whole company is centered around our love of learning. We believe that a good teacher is not someone who professes to have the answers. A good teacher is someone who inspires the student to realize that they are their own best teacher. As an entrepreneur, I am a student first, and the teacher second.
JO: What is one thing people assume about you that you would like to communicate, is not true at all?
SL: That I exercise every day and only eat healthily. Definitely not my truth.
JO: What do you consider the most important lesson in your life in the last year?
SL: The power of taking a break from social media was a big lesson for me. It gave me time to reflect on my relationship to social media and how I was allowing it to distract me from what I care most about including being present with my family. It also gave me the time to really think about why social media is important and to not undervalue the power it holds for each of us to express ourselves and have a voice.
JO: You’ve created a space for people that have transformed both the physical and even emotional/mental state. How does it make you feel? Like three words.
SL: Proud. Motivated. Protective.
JO: What makes you feel comfortable in your own skin?
SL: Sitting quietly, eyes closed, breathing mindfully with my awareness turned inward. Works like a charm!
JO: Describe what beauty means to you.
SL: The first thing that popped into my mind is diversity. Without diversity, nothing would be beautiful in my eyes.
JO: Barre 3 has a tagline “where ballet meets yoga and pilates”, what would your tagline be?
SL: My tagline would be "I-need-a-new-tagline-for-barre3-because-it-doesn't-fully-express-who-we-are."
JO: What are your three favorite items in your purse right now, why?
SL: Los Poblanos Lavender Lip Salve. -- A little piece of Tao's where I was born. Great also for my hair and nails.
My lucky owl. -- I'm superstitious and always travel with an owl.
Vapour lip and cheek stick -- An instant glow and shimmer never hurt.
I also love your restorative tonic mist. Especially in the winter when the dry weather kicks in.
JO: What is the number one character trait you think is necessary for building your own business, why?
SL: Resilience. Because you need it every single day.
JO: What do you think are the factors that keep people from living their best, most possible healthy lives?
SL: For most people, it's not having the very basics like healthy food, shelter, clean water, and safety.
JO: What are you most proud of? Why?
SL: My children. I never thought I would be a CEO but always knew I would be a mom. I am so happy to have them in my life.
JO: You have two children, what is something you want to teach them you were taught growing up?
SL: That being kind and confident is the most important over all other achievements.
JO: What is the best part about owning your own business that has surprised you most?
SL: No red tape rocks. Being my own boss allows me to get shit done in a timely manner.
JO: What has changed the most about the philosophy of exercise in the 90s vs. today?
SL: I could write a book on this subject so I will keep it to fashion. Two words: Exercise Thong.
Photo cred: Leandro Justen