"You don't get what you want in life, you get what you think you deserve. And if you think you deserve to be happy, doing what it is that you love, and get paid for it, then you will. If you don't think you deserve that and if you don't think that that is your right, then that's never going to happen."
Daphnie: I'm a certified personal trainer of 10 years and I am the creator of HIIT IT. HIIT IT is New York's ultimate high-intensity interval training workout. I am also an Athleta sponsored athlete. I was also the Head Race Coach for Team Challenge, a half marathon training fundraising program benefiting the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America for about five years.
WHAT'S YOUR MORNING ROUTINE?
Daphnie: Every single morning, I wake up, I go straight to my journal and I write down three things that I am grateful for. Then, I write down three things that I am going to attract into my life that day and then I write down three affirmations. These three things, the three things I'm grateful for, the three things I'm going to attract either that day or just in life and the three affirmations, they change all the time. Even if you are at a point in your life or if you're at a point in your day or if you are struggling to find something to be grateful for, you can come up with the smallest things. I'm grateful for this cup of coffee, I'm grateful that I have an apartment to live in. They don't have to be these huge grandiose things. It is truly incredible when you start your day off with a daily gratitude practice, how quickly that shifts your entire energy into a positive mindset versus a negative mindset.
Then, once you flip your energy into a positive mindset, you'd be amazed at all the incredible things you were able to attract into your life that day. It's completely the snowball effect. If you start your day off on a lousy note, everything's going to snowball and get lousier and lousier and lousier. You have the ability to start your day off on a positive note. You're the one who's in control of how you start your day. If you start your day off with a daily gratitude practice and kick-start your day on a really positive note, you can't help but continue to attract really good things into your life.
WHAT GAVE YOU THE COURAGE TO PURSUE HIIT IT?
Daphnie: There was never a plan B. Plan B was never an option. I didn't even think about it. I actually didn't even think about it until people started asking me if, "Is this what you do full time?" I was like, "Of course this is what I do full time." This is my identity, this is literally what I was put on this earth to do. Why wouldn't I do this full time?
For people who are scared about pursuing something that they are passionate about, my biggest piece of advice is you really have to act like there's no plan B. You have to act as if there's no security net, because if you believe 1,000 % that this is what you are put here on this earth to do, success is really your only option. You just have to completely believe in it.
I was just so obsessed and so in love with the idea of creating something that could affect as many people, hundreds of thousands- very soon, hundreds of thousands of people. Also, knowing my why. Why was I doing this? Who was I doing this for? What was I doing this for? People always ask me that, "What is your why? What's your purpose?”
With HIIT IT, knowing in my core that my why was, ultimately, to get as many people to feel happy and to get as many people to feel strong. To get as many people to feel empowered. To get as many people as I could possibly get to feel the benefits of endorphins. That was my why. That is what drove me. All the business stuff, all the marketing and logo design and all the legal aspects, branding and LegalZoom, that's cake. Those are things that when you are so obsessed with what you do, that just becomes a checklist.
The bigger picture is the why. My bigger picture was how can I change as many lives as possible and all the challenging aspects of, "Well, is this going to make enough money?" or, “Am I going to have enough students in this one class to cover the cost of either the overhead of the space or the overhead of all the t-shirts or my graphic designer or my marketing person or the LegalZoom?". You have to let that go. You can't even stress about it because if you stressed about it, you're just going to attract more stress about it.
You just have to trust wholly that it's going to be great. You have to-- Actually, not trust that it's going to be great, you have to trust that it's great right now. Regardless of how much money it's bringing in. For me, that's what really gave me the courage. It's the entire time knowing my why.
TAKING ACTION, MAKING CHANGES, AND GETTING STARTED
Daphnie: One of the things a lot of entrepreneur’s struggle with is people are already looking at the finish line. People are already raising questions of how is this going to make X amount of dollars. Or, for people who currently work in salaried roles, they think to themselves, "Well, I can't leave this salaried position at this company that I might dislike a lot until I am making X amount of dollars doing my side hustle. Then I'll feel safe. Then I'll feel secure.
Then I will leave that other job to pursue this other job, to pursue my actual passion when I'm making this much money doing that passion." You can't look at it that way. That's actually a really detrimental way to look at it because it's keeping you still locked into what you're currently doing.
People who are trying to create something - If you're trying to create a business, if you're trying to build a brand, if you're trying to create a company, if you're trying to write a book. So many times, people end up working on things for years and years and years and years and years. The piece of advice I have to give is you just have to start. You just have to start, you just have to take off like a rocket launching off in the outer space. If you are working on a project and if you have a piece of paper, and whether or not you're about to write a book or you're about to drop down ideas to launch your company or if you're about to decide to become an entrepreneur, my advice is kill the white. Kill the white.
SCALING THE BUSINESS
Daphnie: I knew about a year and a half into creating HIIT that it was time to scale my business. I knew because classes were getting full and I realize that I could only physically handle so much. Then something pretty major happened. Everything happens for a reason. I tore my ACL within my first year of teaching HIIT IT or within my first year of having HIIT IT. My entire identity at this point in time had been everything fitness related. It was what I just did for a living, it was my identity. It was who I was. I felt like I am bodied health and wellness and vitality and all of a sudden have a severed ACL because of a soccer game.
It was around this time that-- I remember I had just finished the HIIT IT logo and I had just finished printing up all the HIIT IT thank tops and I was so excited to teach all these other classes. All of a sudden, I was out of commission. I couldn't even walk. I was in a wheelchair after the surgery for pretty much four weeks. Everything happens for a reason. I knew I needed to scale my business because I wanted had HIIT IT to continue and I wanted to HIIT IT to thrive but I knew that HIIT IT could not be 100% dependent on myself and my body.
I was at a networking event, I met my business coach and she completely changed my life and my relationship with business. It was then that I really knew that yes, I am an entrepreneur. She made me really realize that, yes, I can do this, I am doing this and helping me start to identify as a business owner and an entrepreneur versus just a group fitness instructor and a personal trainer.
I told her everything about my ACL. She really helped take my business to that next level. This is about a year and a half after I had developed HIIT IT. So begin the next chapter of HIIT IT in which I am marketing and the marketing led to more students and more students led to me teaching classes that were overflowing. Classes overflowing led to me needing to add more classes. Then me adding more classes made me realize that I couldn't teach so many on my knee that was still recovering and that led me to put out an ad on all the-- it was like Craigslist, word of mouth, monster that I was hiring. I had this huge HIIT IT instructor audition and I met the most incredible phenomenal instructors that day and they are my team.
They are my rocks, they are my everything. My HIIT IT instructors embody this brand of positive energy and sweat and endorphins. This ACL injury which I thought at the time was going to ruin my career, I thought at the time it was going to ruin my body, ruin my identity and ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me because in this ACL injury was really the catalyst to turning me from a personal trainer and group fitness instructor into a business owner, entrepreneur.
Daphnie: Eliminate limiting beliefs. My entire life up until that point, I knew I was smart, but I always thought that who I was, it was just a creative type. I was just a dancer and a performer, and a personal trainer. I thought that in order for me to take HIIT IT to a crazy level, I needed to have gone to business school. Like this is the guy who owns the studio, she has a business degree from Harvard. The girl who owns this fitness brand, she has a business degree from Stanford. Then the girl who owns this fitness brand, she actually went to business school and this was her thesis, this was her incubator. She was already working on this when she was in school, so she had all the support. She already had her business set by the time she graduated. That's why I can't do that. I told my business coach this. She said to me ''Okay, Daphnie that is a limiting belief.'' My mind was just blown, and I already thought to myself ''Oh my god.'' That is literally nothing, but a limiting belief. The only person who limits me is me.
My entire mindset has shifted from when I initially started working with my business coach to now, that was a few years ago. Now, I know there's literally no such thing as a limiting belief in my system anymore. Anything is possible, everything is possible, limiting beliefs do not even exist. For her to have me let go of at that point in time 20 plus years of thinking that I wasn't smart enough to own a business or I wasn't smart enough to do XYZ and that I was only capable of being a dancer, a performer or a personal trainer to all of a sudden just let that go and to know that I have the ability and that I have the brain, and that I have the will, and that I could make that my identity was absolutely a game changer.
I think, being an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding, most gratifying and also, for me, I love how stimulating it is. One of the most stimulating things for me, me coming from also an athletic and performing arts background getting to challenge that kind of the cognitive cerebral problem-solving brain.
With HIIT IT, in terms of the business aspect of it, I find that so fun. I love talking on the phone with my lawyer. I know that sounds so weird. I loved forming my LLC. It just makes you feel so badass when you all of a sudden have a big binder arriving at your doorstep and it's just all these legal documents. Owning and operating a business, it's one of those things where there's a lot that happens behind the scenes. There's a lot that happens behind the scenes where the most part people just see me when I'm either personal training one on one or when I am teaching these packed classes.
They don't see me for four hours in my office just pounding away on my laptop with my assistant taking care of hundreds of things that happen behind the scenes. I still love that too. That's still really fun for me and I think the reason why a lot of-- one of the reasons why I really enjoy what I do is because I like the contrast. I really like the contrast of being able to create something and then I like the contrast of being able to then finish all this laptop work and then go and be in front of a big group of people and then get a ton of people super sweaty and worked out.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
Daphnie: Success for me is not having the “Sunday scaries”. When I wake up Monday morning and I am enthralled with what I have to do that week.
Success to me is getting to wake up each morning knowing I am working towards my vision. I'm working for my vision and something I want to create and accomplish for myself and not somebody else.
Success to me is, I would be doing what I'm doing right now even if I weren't getting paid to do it. I just happen to be getting paid to do it. Yes, I guess that's successful but that's not my why. I'm not in this with the intent of making money. I'm not personal training, and I'm not running a business with the intent of covering my bills and whatnot.
Funnily enough, when you let go of those things. The finances just kind of come flowing freely, and it's only when you let go of any negative aspects of any type of financial stress that it just becomes a non-issue anymore. For me, my definition of success is I would be doing this for free. This is just my identity.
if you are thinking to yourself ''Well, I can't afford to do that.'' First of all, just by you saying the words ''I can't afford.'' Well, then you can't afford. You have to start letting go of those negative thoughts. The first step is to kill negative thought patterns, then the second step, if it makes you feel better is to really go through some of the logistical aspects of how you can make it work, you have to flip your mindset.
You have to flip your mindset and you have to think ''I can make this work.'' Instead of, ''I can't afford to do this.'' Think in order for me to make this work, here are some steps to make it happen. Even if those steps seem challenging, you have to focus on the positives versus focusing on the negatives. Instead of thinking ''I can't make this work.'' Think about ''I can make this work. Because of XYZ. I can make this work if I make this happen, and that happen, and then that will lead to this happening."
From a logistical aspect, from a logistical point of view, really anything is possible, but there is a reality that sets in. With the reality, there's fear, but when you feel fear and when you feel stress, you're just going to attract more fear and you are going to attract more stress. My word of advice for anyone who says ''Well I can't afford to pursue my dream. I can't afford to leave my job. I can't afford to follow my passion.'' My piece of advice is to never utter the words ''I can't afford." Never again.
- Daphnie Yang, HIIT IT