By Susan Viers
In 2020, after fifteen years as a stay-at-home mom, I was ready to return to the work force. Covid had hit, I had some changes in my personal life, and my children were getting older. As I contemplated my future, I first submitted my resume for a government relations position, which was similar to jobs I held previously. That didn’t feel right or fulfilling, and I kept searching. Covid changed all of us and I was looking for a career that felt different: I wanted to make a significant difference in the lives of others.
In August of 2020, a Pilates studio ad appeared on my Facebook feed for a work-study position for a Pilates Instructor. I had always considered pursuing a Pilates certification; I had been active my entire life and had tried many different exercise modalities through the years. I practiced Pilates on and off for over twenty years and it was the workout method I always returned to. As I thought more deeply about the possibility, I wondered if I could make a career of this, or would it be simply teaching 2-3 classes per week?
I scheduled a meeting with the studio owner who shared with me more about the teacher training program and how I could indeed make a career of teaching Pilates. She spent a great deal of time describing the program and how it taught Joe Pilates’ original method through four weekend seminars, homework and case studies, personal practices, private and semi-private lessons, and observations of other teachers. The program sounded intense, but thorough and comprehensive.
Armed with this knowledge, I spent the next few weeks processing the information and determining if I would proceed with the program. A big part of this process was determining my “why”: why was I interested in the program? What did I intend to do with the certification once I finished? Was this the career I wished to have after rejoining the workforce?
After much contemplation and self-reflection, I determined this was in fact a dream career for me. I already had a base of knowledge of Pilates from my years of practice and I was also familiar with group exercise classes, having taken many throughout the years. The schedule, both throughout the apprenticeship as well as my job as a Pilates Instructor now, allows me to work hours that align with my daughters’ schedules and allows me to be available for them. Perhaps the most important reason for choosing this career path is that I can help people be better, stronger versions of themselves through the Pilates method. It’s exciting to see advancements people make each time they work out and see that they are improving, truly better off after our interactions together, which was one of my determining factors for finding my new career.
As I progressed through the program, I kept repeatedly coming back to my “why”. There were times the program became difficult and challenging that required me to dig deep and revisit my “why”—why was I ultimately in this program and what did I hope to gain from it? By reminding myself of the “why”, I was able to power through the more difficult times and remember my end goal—becoming a classically certified Pilates Instructor who delivers the classical method to my clients to improve their lives.
Having held numerous positions in corporate settings and state government, my current career as a Pilates instructor fulfills me the most. If you are also seeking a new path or career, find your “why”: what motivates you, inspires you, or allows you to truly make a difference? If you are lucky enough to find your true purpose, it will be so clear that you will feel compelled to pursue the path to your unique calling.
Susan is a classically trained Pilates Instructor with a certification from New York’s renowned Real Pilates Teacher Training Program. She also has a bachelor’s degree from Centre College and an MBA from the University of Louisville. She will join with two other women to open Pilates Fit Studio Louisville later this year. Interested in Pilates private lessons or how to become a Pilates Instructor? You can reach Susan at email@example.com.