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The Sublime Power of Fresh Fruit and Whatnot

03/22/2012

Beautiful Readers,

I didn’t used to eat much fruit. The stuff was either too boring — of the apple banana pear variety, or absurdly expensive out of season. Berries that cost more than really good smoked salmon or hand painted marzipan I can’t buy without feeling tricked somehow. And berry season generally seems to last just long enough for me to realize I missed it.

And then I moved to Ditmas Park.

Ditmas park is the stuff of 1970s Mad Magazine. Ditmas avenue around the corner from my new home jangles wickedly of everyone doing something different than everyone else, each with different music in their heads, each in a different movie, all within arms distance, or a whole lot closer, to one another.

And as the romantic cliche goes: it works. In fact is works smashingly. A large hassidic population seems to play nicely with a smaller Southeast Asian population, who mixes well with the Mexican families, who do ok with the Orthodox Jews, who look a lot like the Uzbekis and Poles and Russians. As a real estate customer of mine once said of the area- the thing they all have in common? Long skirts. Well, and families. And maybe designer clothes from Century 21, and ultimately-really amazing cheap fruit and vegetables.

Like, really amazing. When I first saw the apartment we now own I was dazzled by the three enormous fruit and vegetable stands between our place and the subway just a few blocks away. I only discovered once we moved in that they are as large inside as they are outside, cheaper than any produce I have ever seen in my life, open every day of the year, 24 hours a day. We’ve been living there for two months now and not a day goes by I don’t marvel over it. It’s incredible.

The proximity of three heaven sent cheap cheap sources of fruit has literally changed our life. We buy loads of fruit of all kinds every single day on the way home from the train. Things i havent eaten fresh for years, like blackberries, no longer get doled out one at a time–i pour entire cartons of them into the blender for smoothies. Sure, we buy vegetables too, which are just as cheap and as varied as the fruit, but we always bought those, so it’s not quite as remarkable-but it as if we have entered the garden of Eden of fruit.

I am convinced we are healthier for it. I believe I cured a sinus infection a few weeks ago, primarily, with fresh cranberries in the blender. My daughter asks me to buy her fruit after school instead of candy now. When her friends come home, I pick up 2 extra boxes of strawberries which they often finish. We have gone, because of our move, from zero to a very pleasant and healthy 60.

Which maybe goes to show, if I can derive any lesson from this, as with nearly everything in life, proximity is key. I bet if you were to do a study — people who live or work close to a gym, go more often. And if you live near a reliable source of healthy food, you’ll eat better just naturally. For us, this windfall of fruit was not one of the reasons we chose to move ( it was the awesomely low price of our very nice, very large, apartment– a total all cash real estate coup as i see it) but now that we have enjoyed the equisite luxury of plentiful and affordable fruit as part of the bargain, I’m not sure I’d ever go back. if we were ever to move again, availability of good produce would factor heavily into the equation and I hear that when people move out of this neighborhood they often drive back here for groceries.

Thanks for reading,
Alexandra Florio

PS. Please contact me directly for Beautiful Fitness services or for real estate sales, rentals, and purchases with The Corcoran Group, in Manhattan and Brooklyn, on my cell at 646-269-1072. Shortly I’ll be changing the phone number on the web site over to my personal cell permanently. I never liked having a secondary office phone number. I answered calls myself the majority of the time anyway–because in this kind of business, we exist to closely support you in your very unique life goals, i believe that my personal and close connection with you and your practitioner can make your experience more enjoyable on every level, and really a company like this benefits from being high touch in every way.

My apologies to anyone who tried to reach us in the last 6 months — between the move to Ditmas and getting up to speed with The Corcoran Group I had to back away from Beautiful Fitness for a bit and only service existing customers-but our shingle is officially out again..we’re connecting with new staff, and lowering our rates to reflect the change in the economy (the top wellness practitioners in NYC are charging less for services now (it took awhile in an industry that had become a little inflated) which allows us to be more reasonable with you!). Feel free to negotiate the rates you see on our site now and look out for prices that are discounted as much as 10 percent coming very soon! And for those who have stayed with us and loyal through the shift-we can not describe our gratitude.

Who wants to be a Rock Star?

10/12/2011

Beautiful Readers,

I know a man, who, in middle age, is still waiting to be extraordinary. Or maybe he’s waiting for something extraordinary to happen to him. Or maybe he thinks his circumstances will change, and he will be discovered, and then shot like a rocket into extraordinariness.

I was always told that one can achieve greatness if one is willing to do what’s necessary, but as i get older, I realize that most people really don’t want to do the things they would need to do to get there. And at one time I thought that was too bad. But now I’m over it.

Furthermore, I have seen more folks saddened by their lack of rock star success than cheered, more than fleetingly, by their awesome achievements. Sure, I know some folks who are terribly successful by most objective standards, but, as much as they enjoy that knowledge from time to time, and I guess they wouldn’t trade that, whatever the rest of us may think they should feel, i just don’t think they’re permanently satisfied.

And conversely I know people who seem to wake up every morning thinking that they’re the shit because they have the caps on all the pens on their desk and have never lost a game of hangman. And some people seem to feel that all is right in the world because they don’t have cancer, or because their team almost got to the playoffs this year, or because they still find their cat funny after 13 years together.

So what gives? What about the whole ‘be all that you can be’ thing? Could it be that that is all just a giant bunch of bunk sold to you by the media and maybe your parents? the truth, as I see it, is that it is quite possible that the notion of counting success as a virtue, might be, at best, a giant scam propagated by schools, the government, and your boss, at worst, an outright curse.

Overall, I don’t really believe that ambition is damaging, but it sure did feel good to say it to add a kind of balance to all the fanfare. What I really do believe though, is that the desire to passionately attempt to improve your lot is 100 percent natural and necessary for a healthy human brain, like learning, and sex, but that the outcome doesn’t really matter all that much in the long run. I also believe that we, as a society, and maybe as a species, really give achievement way too much credit if the goal in life is long term happiness. What I think we should be applauding is effort-not outcome since that’s the part that actually seems to bring people joy.

And if you really think about it, isn’t passionate human effort and striving much more stirring and beautiful than winning is? Think about cheering at the marathon– all those folks trying so hard to do this really difficult thing is what has us shouting from the sidelines-not so much who wins the race. Or seeing your kid go to college-it’s not all those great grades they’re going to get that makes you want to cry, it’s that look of confusion plus determined ambition, on their sweetly familiar face, that has you reaching for your hanky.

Ambition is vulnerable–success is not. Most of the sane and successful people I know (there are plenty of insane and successful people but we don’t care about them) shrug off each success as a mere stepping stone to the next one. And then they’re off again.

So then ambition is good? Sure it is–good and healthy as long as it is never measured by achievements. Consider THAT ten times fast. No matter who you are, I’m pretty sure that if you sit back and take stock of your successes and failures you feel one of two unhealthy things- arrogance or shame, or even a heady mixture of both at the same time. I’d say skip it and move on to enjoy your next conquest with openness and without judgement.

I will always remember the day I realized my daughter was going to be ok in life. She was a monkey bar addict and used to spend (literally)hours climbing hand over hand back and forth on the monkey bars. We even bought her non-slip weight training gloves because she was getting really bad blisters.

One day when it was frigidly cold and it had just stopped sleeting or something-she ran to me very frustrated because she couldn’t hold on tight enough to climb for more than one or two hand over hands. My response was totally blasé saying that that made sense because it was freezing and the bar was ridiculously slippery obvious to me that climbing was almost impossible.

I returned to looking at my blackberry or to the conversation I was having with another playground mom when all of a sudden my daughter ran back to me wildly excited like she had discovered gravity. Out of breath she rasped “mom, guess what, I figured it out!” ” figured what out?” I asked, having forgotten all about her struggle with the monkey bars. ” I figured out how to do it!” she said. “how?” I asked her, expecting some technique I hadn’t thought of. Then she got this far-away look in her eyes of someone who is momentarily connected to the future “Just-keep-going.” she said. And then in a flash she was gone. Back to the monkey bars.

Thanks for reading,

Alexandra Florio

Own That Instinct, Killer!

06/26/2011

Beautiful Readers,

if you’ve ever read anything about Krav Maga, a sort of Israeli marshal art developed by the mosad, then you know it isn’t for sissies. On the other hand, maybe it is for sissies–the kind of sissies who so concerned about being attacked that they learn to kill someone with their bare hands (or maybe just a couple of fingers) incredibly incredibly fast.

My son and I took our first class the other day at The Krav Maga center on w25th street in Manhattan. Initially, the instructor’s banter about killing quickly and killing efficiently made me feel shy and uncomfortable, but we were committed for the hour and I believe in trying anything (almost anything) once. So I gave in. I freed my mind and let down my resistance to the idea that maybe under certain circumstances, left with no other option It would be ok to kill someone-and frankly, for an hour, it felt awesome.

Who knew, that after years of squeamishness and goody two shoesness about hurting anything much less doing them in completely, I would feel so liberated by this simple one hour shift in morality. See, I was raised as a vaguely Christian bleeding heart catch-and-release-fishing-is-hurting-fish, liberal, so the whole taking human life thing – like, ever, unless you’re God (and even God is a lot less smite-y in the more wishy-washy New Testament) is a very big stretch for me.

But like the hard nosed preacher who takes delight in accidentally discovering You Porn at 3am or the Mormon college roommate who finds themselves the only one at the, all-in-all, pretty boring multigenerational New Years party in Manhattan, drunk as a skunk, smoking, and locked into a bedroom with some particularly creepy boy (she, who then later, back at college, decides two things: One, that she should go on a mission and attend a Mormon University, and two, that you, who were sitting on the couch all night at that party, with your frock still on, soberly conversing with your mom’s friends, is a bad influence who she can’t be friends with anymore)..I found the idea of killing a very big rush.

And you know what is an equally big rush? My lingering moral discomfort with it, and the thing that makes me want to write this, essentially, confessional blog. At heart, Many of us are sweet as pie, though we are also raging passionate animals at the same time. I’m not the first, nor the smartest person, to notice that these two, often contradictory, things require constant management and balance. Too far one way you hurt people, too far the other, people hurt you-without even meaning to. And knowing where to draw that line within oneself is a permanent challenge for each of us…and half of what, for me, makes life exciting. I highly recommend playing with that line within yourself, considering it, making sure where you have it drawn is working for you so that you are neither predator nor prey.

Thanks for reading!

Alix Florio
Beautiful Fitness

The Third Broker

02/10/2011

Beautiful Readers,

In life, like in comedy, there is often a rule of threes. On first exposure to something, we are tentative–nothing wrong with that, us mammals are wired to be more risk adverse than novelty-seeking. The second time we encounter that thing, we enjoy a familiar feeling, we sniff around, we start to imagine what kind of reward we might get. If we get past the first two meetings and nothing bad happens–we may embrace whatever it is, call it our own, and start busily trying to figure out how to fit it advantageously into our life. That’s the fear-overcoming rule of threes.

But there is another way to look at the powerful rule of threes, you can also see it as a gradual process of stripping illusions or, more positively, the emergence of reality. And like my favorite part of therapy-it can sometimes leave you maybe a little disappointed, but more clear headed and better prepared to tackle a challenge.

This idea first came to me as I sat in The Corcoran Group’s training program for new salespeople (for those of you who don’t know, I will be selling coops and condos out of Corcoran’s Park Slope office under the name Alexandra Chackerian-but never fear, Beautiful Fitness is staying firmly put).

In real estate it is well known that it’s good to be the third salesperson someone works with, whether you’re working with a buyer or seller. As the story goes, the first broker has the occasional misfortune of telling the seller that the price in their head is too high-never a popular suggestion. The first broker is then unloaded in favor of the second broker- the one who needn’t be the messenger of lower pricing. Sometimes though even the second broker fails to delight the client- the apartment may sit on the market a bit, the price may prove to still be too high, and since the process of home sales can be complex (especially in New York City) the second broker gets to share a set of new surprises about the fees and choices associated with selling. And what seller likes fees and choices? Adieu to the second broker.

But now the apartment isn’t getting any younger and the seller still wants to see the money in their bank account and in steps, guess who? Broker number three. The heroine/hero. The closer. The ‘person who really makes stuff happen’. Though in fact, this person’s specialness is mostly their timing. They are, more like, the last person to try to get the cover off the mustard.

But this blog’s about wellness, not real estate. And this three thing can work wonders with any fitness program or wellness practice. The first, and the most obvious way it can help, is in convincing you stick to it long enough to let your body and mind have a chance to “get” it and like it. If you try something new, or want to get back to exercise, and you’re feeling tentative, or just straight up hating it, and your emotions are telling you to quit. Fuhgettaboudit as we say in Brooklyn- at least until you’ve done it all the way three times.

You know how I’m always telling you to trust your instincts and intuition? Well with things you know are good for you- even if you believe your intuition is telling you to give up- this is the one occasion where I suggest you tell your intuition to “shut it” and carry on until you’ve done whatever it is thrice. Then you can quit if you still want to. Has your intuition turned the corner on doing something that’s good for you? Was that really your intuition saying no, or some sneaky part of your brain just stirring up fearful emotions to protect you from a new thing? You’ll know the difference after you do it for the third time. Trust me.

And for those of you who have all but given up on working out but can still remember a time when you could walk up the subway stairs effortlessly- in my experience with this fitness stuff it is very common for people to quit exercising twice in their lives and go back to it three times- and have it stick the third time (though it does seem that the third time is often a response to a doctors demand or some other kind of physical scare).

Sure, there are some vigilant, life-long exercisers–but we are in the minority, and half of us are in the fitness industry, and the other half are in our twenties with no kids. So for everyone else, there’s a lot of starting and stopping due to changing life circumstances which is just fine.

But where there’s a will there’s a way-eventually. And sooner or later there’s usually even consistency and self care rises to where it belongs near the top of the priority list. After all, you can’t stop taking care of yourself for long before it catches up to you in ways you can’t ignore anymore. So never fear those of you on an exercise hiatus–you’re likely to go back to it someday- and if you’ve quit twice already-this time it’s likely to stick. We get a remarkable number of clients who disappear for a year at a time, quit exercise altogether, and come back to us, to stay with a regular exercise program from then on (with and without Beautiful Fitness’ ongoing involvement).

So if sluggishness is your MO right now and you are having trouble getting started on a self care plan you can be proud of thinking it might not “work” because you’ve been motivated before only to find yourself wondering how you ever did it… just push yourself solidly uphill three times and you may find that three is a lucky number for you too helping you get going for good!

Thanks for reading,

Alexandra Florio
President
Beautiful Fitness
Beautiful Fitness website

Yes, Beautiful Readers

12/13/2010

Beautiful Readers,

So it’s that time of year again. Corporate hands are in your pockets. Little children scream for toys they will use twice and lose or will only help them to numbly waste more time in their precious lives. Everyone’s family seems to love and appreciate them more than yours loves and appreciates you. People you know put on a pale show of holiday perfection. The whole snow thing makes no sense if you live in a part of the country where there isn’t any, or maybe whoever is in charge of snow doesn’t get it together in time for your holiday.

Santa’s mitten is out on every corner. Especially desperate shop owners want to convince you that hand-made 24 karat, holly shaped, key fobs are the only Xmas present for those who are truly special in your life. They’re made in the Ukraine, sustainably, by orphaned nuns. And the few special people who receive them will feel their value when they unwrap them. Do you love those people enough for 24 karats? Every shop and restaurant reeks of industrial strength charm. Extra charm. Charm with lip plumper and 5 inch heels on.

Cynical? Me? Sure, about cynical things. About tricks. About things that toy with some very deep and sweet emotions. But I am most certainly not cynical about the holidays. The real holidays are very dear to me and to my family. In fact, I believe in keeping Christmas, or Hannukah, or whatever holidays you celebrate, safe and true, by protecting them righteously against cynicism, so you can open your tender heart wide to the real and lasting gifts that the holiday season can bring.

During the real holidays, as opposed to the sham ones, even the most defended may for a time, bravely dream of a better world, for themselves, for the people they love, for everyone. Even the most shy or self doubting will, for moments, be Santa Claus in their mind. The most disempowered will feel glimmers of the magic inside them.

The most alienated and rejected may dare to dream they are beloved by all. The most bitter can sense that they could be a force of healing and love in the world and thereby heal themselves. The insecure may imagine they have all the safety they need within them and could use it to protect the people they care for.

The real holidays give you the right to be hopeful, foolish and gullible. A tender time to forgive yourself and others for past weaknesses and foibles and failings, and believe, for now, that, despite what cynics say, everyone can change. That you can change. That the world can be a better place because of you.

And the regret and discomfort that can accompany the holidays isn’t really about the holidays at all. Its a gift. And those feelings which can sometimes feel intolerable, are tolerable, so take them for what they are-a message, a warning, a dare to Ebenezer, to be better and stronger in this life. Challenge yourself to patiently claim responsibility for starting to heal in the ways you may know you need to. It’s the most important thing of all and the rest of us need you to be well.

So bravely allow the sappy songs and tender tales about real family, real love, genuine kindness, and sharing, to seep into your heart, even if it hurts a little, and believe, really believe, that all things are possible. You can change the world, even if that doesn’t make sense to you now, because the world is much greater than the sum of its parts. Love can prevail, and does all the time, even against the most incredible odds.

Happy Holidays and thanks for reading,

Alexandra Florio
President
Beautiful Fitness
www.beautifulfitness.comc

Back on the wagon

11/23/2010

Beautiful Readers,

For a lot of folks the sagging economy has meant a sagging bank account resulting in sagging morale and sagging everything else. Some experts think things are getting better. Some say its going to be awhile. The days are short. You may work more. You may vacation less.

But this isn’t news anymore folks. Things have been topsy turvy economically speaking for some time now. And they might be for a bit longer here- and therefore if you don’t want your waistline to follow the path of the national deficit, it may be time to give up your “temporary” freeze on exercise.

More fun to jog when you knew you’d be wearing a bikini a lot in the winter? Enjoyed your workouts more when you knew you’d be playing thousands of holes of golf or skiing the Alps? But maybe this year there’s more work and less play. So how can you get into it again when more than the economy is slumping?

Three famous and brilliant words for you. Just do it. (aw shucks, thanks, I just thought of it) No, really though. There’s a reason Nike’s ‘just do it’ slogan is so penetrating. Those three words work on you because even if you hate exercise, you know, and I know, and Nike knows, that your body doesn’t. In fact your body is really hoping you’ll get up and bop around a little right now- even as you lie there watching Cash Cab, or sitting at your desk reading this blog.

So go for it (another good three words) Or get back to it if you gave it up for awhile in honor of the flagging economic climate. And just so that you don’t have to think too hard, I’ll list some common excuses for you–and my deeply caring, yet tough love, responses to them:

Excuse #1: I work too much to have time to exercise.
Answer: Nonsense! First if you do exercise you’re likely to have more energy with which to work more effectively in the long run. Honest. Also, you are less likely to get sick. And sick equals less work. Also, studies show that people who get regular cardio get smarter. You want to be smarter now don’t you?

Seriously though– you must find a little time to get some efficient card and strength exercise, or one day soon you will wake up and discover that you have become your mom or dad.

Excuse #2: I’m out of shape and exercising makes me feel bad about myself.
Answer: Have you ever seen quite overweight or out of shape people exercise? Totally heroic right? An inspiration to us all, yes? I’m presuming that if you are older than 13 that you didn’t laugh at them huffing and puffing along. And if that was your attitude then you’ll have to change that attitude immediately to something more positive and supportive.

Exercise is like anything else in life. Sure, its more fun to do when it confirms your prowess. But prowess comes with practice and builds steadily. And exercise is not like riding a bike. You may remember how to run, and your muscles might remember too, but your accumulated fat and more lax muscle tone may say otherwise, but if you keep going, soon you’ll be running like you used to.

In other words, feel bad if you must, exercise anyway, and trust me, soon you won’t feel bad anymore.

Excuse #3: I have a great idea! I’m going to skip exercise until I have more free time and just not eat so much in the meanwhile– furthermore, who cares if I’m a little fatter than I used to be?
Answer: Don’t kid yourself. Even a few extra pounds really makes a difference to your back and your heart ( unless you were underweight to begin with). And getting started exercising again is not going to be any easier in the future than it is right now.

The secret to maintaining a healthy weight is doing your best to keep it in the zone all the time. If you find that you have veered beyond the appropriate BMI for your height- I advise you address it now before it turns into a bigger project or your back or blood pressure make catching up harder.

The sooner you get on it, the sooner you’ll be feeling better and the sooner you’ll get to enjoy the feeling that at least one part of your world is on the up and up! And who knows, sometimes when one part of your world starts to improve it lends a wanted boost to all the other parts as well!

Thanks for reading,

Alexandra Florio
President; Beautiful Fitness
www.beautifulfitness.com

Cozying up to the Great Unknown

10/29/2010

Beautiful Hamsters,

Did that greeting surprise you? You’re not a hamster now are you? And it’s not likely you’re greeted like one very often. But there you are. That wasn’t so bad though now was it? No worse than discovering that you’re having an egg for breakfast because there’s no milk left for cereal, or that the job you wanted doesn’t want you in a way that you’re forced to look elsewhere so that in ten years you end up living in Missouri instead of New York. Less noise. More Elk.

The truth is, despite our best laid plans-a lot of stuff, almost daily, is very much dancing to it’s own beat. A beat that we don’t choose and will just have to work with, or around.

Now I’m not proposing you should let life move you around without trying to organize it in a way that suits you. I’ve seen people so tired of having their plans thwarted or unsupported they virtually give up on trying to make things happen because they are too afraid that things just wont work out. This approach results in making your world very small so that you have as few decisions to make as possible, and even then, sometimes they’re out of the kind of corn chips and salsa you like at the store. Or your dealer leaves town.

I’m afraid the answer im suggesting to this is more difficult and requires a lot more fortitude and resilience than just getting your way all the time or giving up and getting your way none of the time by not trying to do anything. Please note that both of those plans still have you in total control. I believe that the terrible truth is that you’re “kind of” in control, and that you can get your way part of the time-you just don’t know which part that is going to be. And yes, that particular formula can be very very frustrating. Or exciting and surprising. Or both.

And since you don’t know which part of what you are going for is likely to get results, my advice is that you stack the deck heavily in favor of getting things you really really want.and try not to waste time on the rest. You know the expression “be careful what you wish for”? Well do be careful because if you’re wishing momentarily for something second tier, you might get it instead of something you might really want more.

I’ll give an example so I don’t just sound like a finger wagging school marm. Let’s say you’re stuck in traffic on the interstate and you are in your car thinking though all the different ways you could do damage to the drivers in front of you, and maybe the person who cut you off, or perhaps the one who is driving up your tailpipe. You think about the clever things you could say to them if only you had the chance to make them feel appropriately humble.

And then, as if heaven sent, the woman in the blue sedan with the smug smile and ‘I’ve got kids in soccer and no time to wait for traffic’ driving style cuts you off again, and this time she’s close enough, and her window is open! This is your day. You shout the things you were dreaming of. You show her every hand gesture you have ever learned since elementary school! She looks shocked that someone has broken her calm sea of entitlement. You feel great!

But how great? And for how long? Forget any kind of guilt you might experience later about giving soccer mom something to think about. Let’s say you don’t feel any. But really, what did we gain here? And what else could you have been trying to get for yourselves while you were figuring out if the names you called her would describe your feelings accurately?

Could you have learned something important about yourself in that time that would have had longer term effects? Could you have spent that time figuring out something about life you never understood before like whether or not shooting an arrow on horseback is more effective than just shooting one standing still? Could you have been composing a poem for your wife that would ultimately save your marriage? Or was your big proud mouth-off on the interstate the thing you most want in the world? For more than just the ten minutes before, and five minutes during, that is.

Now I’m not judging you at all. Nor have I got this thing down to an art in my own life. Believe me. But I am working on focusing on what I Want vs what I want, because the thing I know for sure is that I have no idea what I’m going to get, and I wont get everything I want, but that I’m somewhat more likely to get the things I try to have so I’d better have those straight.

I am coming to see life’s wins and gifts sort of like the things you receive from a Christmas list you write, or a wedding registry –the shorter and more realistic the list, the more likely you are to get any one thing on it. So if you find yourself focusing time and energy on things like “I wish I was taller” or “I wish the line was shorter” think about what wishes you could be focused on that might satisfy you more-and longer.

Thanks for reading,

Alexandra Florio
President
Beautiful Fitness
Www.beautifulfitness.com

The new networking

10/18/2010

Beautiful Readers,

I have always found the idea of social networking icky overall unless it is completely above board. Above board as in, “hi, my name’s Alix, nice party huh? Would you mind if I told you about something I’d like you to spend money on?”. Especially in it’s smoothest, most social form, networking seems totally disingenuous to me like the business equivilent of air kissing.

I mean business is business and social is social, right? So when did this crossover thing “networking” become normal? It makes people who might just want to get to know you as a person, wary, and forces people who want to buy what you’ve got listen to innocuous social chatter when they might prefer to just know what you have to sell.

And yet here we are. And it’s unlikely my eye rolling is going to change anything (and makes me seem rude at parties), but perhaps there is a solution, and last night I was introduced to one that seemed appropriate and charming.

The annual Wellesley College alumni association meeting is a dry affair involving someone at the podium talking about the usual roster of alums’ awe inspiring achievements and humbly acknowledged victories followed by an assorted cookie platter and a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

In the past I have always wondered what to talk about in the hang-out portion of this event. I think about wellness a lot and tend to believe it has applications to many different topics-plus it’s one of the few things I feel I can really contribute to any conversation-maybe im just getting to be a wonky wellness bore and should do more reading so i have other things to talk about–but an evening without fitness or alternative medicine would be rare for me in any social environment.

But yet, I feel self conscious when I end up as conspicuous wellness guru at these kinds of events– but whats a woman to do? Folks ask me stuff once they know what I think about all day. And people love to talk with me about their own experiences with fitness and wellness – which I thoroughly enjoy. And those conversations often lead to things that connect directly to my company no matter how hard I try to keep the conversation strictly academic.

And sometimes these conversations even lead to sales. As in, she says ” I don’t know, I’m having trouble sleeping, and I’m feeling really stiff, and slightly depressed, and somewhat stuck in my life right now.” at this moment I am blinded by the bright lights and loud buzzer on the sign flashing ‘YOGA’ above the speaker’s head.

But in my little world-Yoga equals Beth (the very best, most professional yoga instructor I have ever had the pleasure of learning from-with a suburb sense of humor to boot), and Beth works for us, and next thing I know I’m waxing poetic about how the answer to the woman’s concern is Beth, and since Beth costs money and I get some of that money, I may also be closing a sale. Drat! Or hooray? I’m not always sure.

I guess the bottom line is- I wish I could do this stuff for free. Healing arts, right? Sounds like something that should be free doesn’t it? But unfortunately my landlord doesn’t work in the healing arts and nor does Beth’s. And Time Warner Cable doesn’t work in the healing arts and there’s no special healing arts card to use at the supermarket.

But I think the Wellesley Alum meeting handled the networking issue beautifully this year. After electing officials to do things alumnae do-the President of the group asked if anyone had an event they wanted to promote or a business they wanted to talk about. And a handful of us did! And talked about them. And that was that. And it felt great.

An opportunity for such a frank disclosure of what pays the bills for you can really make all the difference. Several people approached me right afterwards to tell me about their favorite trainer or how tai chi had changed their lives, a couple people asked for cards and a couple people gave me theirs. And then the party started in earnest.

I was free to talk about anything I wanted without people wondering what I was up to. I waxed poetic about my love of allergy shots (they work and they are often covered by insurance) Talked about guys (de rigeur) asked about a volunteer thing coming up, and had a discussion with someone about hosting a wellness themed event for alums. Hooray for the freedom to swim between the wellness stuff I love and also happen to get paid for, and all other kinds of topics I care about, without all the awkward ‘I hope they don’t think this is just a sales pitch’ pauses in between!

And for those of you who might feel uncomfortable with ambiguous networking opportunities, like I do — my best advice is just go for it at your soonest opportunity. Announce to the largest group you can find as soon as you are comfortable- what you do to bring home the bacon, and then be free to mix and mingle, with no angle, and no raised eyebrows, about anything you please.

Thanks, again, for reading,

Alexandra (yes, that’s right, it’s long for Alix, and I’m starting to like it more) Florio
President; Beautiful Fitness
www.beautifulfitness.com


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