To my wonderful Pilates colleagues all over the world, can we please stop putting ourselves and our industry down?
I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve listened to podcasts, interviews, or had conversations with anyone (affiliated with the Pilates industry) where we collectively perpetuate a lot of self deprecating stereotypes.
Stereotypes and myths include (but are not limited to) those that fall under the “starving artist” archetype (the unfortunate belief that Pilates isn’t a legit business but rather a hobby), that quality is lower in rural areas vs. cities, that Pilates is for certain genders, sizes, and skin tones or that our work isn’t as important as say, a doctor, lawyer, or physiotherapist.
Let’s start with money.
How many times have you heard “there’s no money in Pilates”?
Or that someone left the industry to make “real money”?
We need to stop making these types of statements, not only are they not true but they alienate anyone that is making a great living from Pilates and they create a low standard.
“Real money,” much like success, is relative. A six-figure income for an uber comfortable life isn’t necessary in all places in the United States, much less the world.
I personally know many people in the Pilates industry that do in fact make six-figures or own the real estate they teach out of (and no it wasn’t inherited or bought by their partner) or single mothers that live comfortable lives from their careers in Pilates.
Maybe we don’t hear enough of these stories because many of our colleagues that are making a lot of money and taking care of themselves are labeled as “money mongers” or “capitalists”.
Making money or living what you consider a good life doesn’t mean that you only care about the bottom line or lack authenticity. That thinking is good old fashioned “starving artist” mentality and that is where and when burnout occurs.
Pilates instructors are some of the hardest working people I know. Just as we improve our teaching and our practice, we can always improve our business skills and work towards elevating our mindset. It is possible to earn “real money” or live comfortably, AND find ways to give back and make Pilates accessible.
An instructor that has dedicated their life to health and wellness, has remained humble and gives back to their community doesn’t have to justify traveling business class or purchasing whatever they want – they’ve earned it! In fact, let’s celebrate that.
We, Pilates instructors speak and exemplify the ideal of healthy living – healthy living includes being financially, emotionally and mentally stable as well.
There are tons of (free and paid) fitness related business and professional resources out there if you’re in need of new ideas, tips, or a refresh. Most importantly, finding and holding onto what YOUR definition of success, purpose and lifestyle is, is vital. There is no cookie cutter ideal to how an instructor should live, how they should work, how they choose to spend their money or a single measurement of happiness. There is however a necessity to stop perpetuating the idea that there is no money in Pilates.
In Part 2 we’ll tackle another stereotype about self worth and our important contribution to the world.