We had the good fortune of connecting with Brigitta Dau and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brigitta, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
In terms of taking risks, I believe the more willing you are to step out of your comfort zone, the juicier your life is. And if you’re smart about the risks you’re taking, it can actually become a fun thing to do…And my story that lead me to now be a Certified Life Coach and Certified Pilates Instructor is not your typical one. I was a professional actress starting at the age of 18. I started in my home town, Vancouver, Canada, and starred on a series up there for 4 years.
I also guest starred on many of the American shows filmed up there at the time. Every audition for EVERY ROLE is a risk in and of itself. So taking risks was just a part of my day to day life. Eventually, I had to move on and chose LA to be my next home. A HUGE RISK! MOVING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY TO START OVER!!! After getting my green card (which was an epic ordeal!), I worked here in LA for another 10 years or so co-starring in many TV Movies, Indie films, and episodic TV. I absolutely loved acting and the people I met through doing the work. One of the things I loved most about acting was the connection you make when you are “in the moment” and filming a scene. (also…being vulnerable in front of a camera is another big risk! It’s also exhilarating!) One day, I realized that I didn’t have to wait for auditions or book jobs to feel that way.
So, after some soul searching, I started teaching Pilates. I was never an exercise enthusiast but Pilates felt different to me and again, I could connect and be in the moment with people. So, I got certified and opened my own studio about 15 years ago. The cost of the equipment is very high! Not to mention the price of the certification itself. So, here we go again, taking another risk: spending my savings to start my own business. And a few years after that, I added life coaching to my offerings…Which I absolutely LOVE. Working for yourself is incredibly rewarding but not for the faint heart. You have to be resilient, be willing to work hard, and yes…take those risks! To me, it’s totally worth it. And I truly feel that stepping up and taking risks is a part of the process for any successful business… and meaningful life.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As I said, I am a Certified Life Coach and Certified Pilates Instructor. Also, author of “Crafting a Better Life” which is available at Amazon.com and Kindle. Since the pandemic, all my life coaching is now done exclusively over zoom, Which is AS effective as working in person. I work with people one on one and offer group coaching as well. I also offer various workshops on topics such as self sabotage, limiting beliefs, mindfulness, etc. I’m also offering Mat Pilates classes over zoom (since California was shut dow in March) which I’m really enjoying.
Let’s talk about challenges, shall we? When Covid hit us, I lost my entire Pilates business. Prior to the virus I worked in boutique studios, physical therapists offices, and my home studio. It was a devastating experience. Mostly because I had worked hard to create loving, supportive, consistent communities and all of them dissolved when we could no longer work in person with each other. Now, I’ve built my business back up with my Zoom classes…and I’m grateful for people’s willingness to overcome our ‘issues’ with technology. But if I didn’t have a resilient streak in my genes, I think I’d still be in shock and unable to take any steps forward. In terms of the challenges, I always say, “success leaves clues”. A great exercise I give my clients is for them to write out a success from their past…something they thought they couldn’t pull off, but somehow did.
Those past successes are a goldmine of positive mindsets, strategies for overcoming setbacks, creating empowering beliefs, finding courage, etc. I’ll use getting my green card as a personal example. When I went through the process, there was no internet,…so I had to ask for PR people to send me press clipping by snail mail. And because the show I was starring on was international, that meant long distance phone calls! I also had to ask for letters or recommendations, etc. And let’s not forget about the $$$ it costs to hire an immigration attorney.
So, when I look back at this story I can see all sorts of fears I had to drop, positive beliefs I had to create, and the risks I had to take on a daily basis. Also, persistence, resilience, and resourcefulness were qualities I had to cultivate if I wanted to succeed. And I think my entire journey is what sets me apart when working with people. Having been a professional actress in two countries, I worked with a LOT of different people. And through Pilates, I’ve worked with people from all walks of life…from the severely injured, to professional athletes (and all of us in between!). I also absolutely love the coaching process and work consistently with my own life coaches to help me offer the best support for my clients. And I’m very grateful and blessed to love what I do for a living!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, I think everyone has to have dinner outside on the Sunset Strip! The people watching alone is worth it! Of course, the theme parks have to be on the list. I think Poquito Mas is a must…that was my first meal upon arriving in LA…YUMMMMM! Gotta go to Malibu and eat at Paradise Cove (despite their overpriced food!). And, Dreamscape! I LOVE this! It’s virtual reality experiences…I mean, flying a dragon???? Who doesn’t want to do that! The one I went to was at Century City Mall. I’ve done all of the experiences at least 3 times. And while you’re there…Eatily! A foodie heaven! All the restaurants are fantastic and where else in LA can you have a glass of wine while shopping? (that could be dangerous!)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
At the risks of sounding cheesy, I have to shout out all of my clients from over the years. I wrote a book last year (“Crafting a Better Life”) and could not have done that without having so many people touch me with their lives…the ups, the downs, and everything in between. Marc Vahanian is the person who first introduced me to Pilates. He’s an incredibly talented personal trainer and even more talented Corporate Coach and Life Coach.
He is a true inspiration and wonderful man. Also, Dawn Wynne, (Author of Children’s books and Speaker) has had a huge impact on my life. Together we co-produced, co-wrote, and co-starred in our award winning short film, “Stalkers”. She’s always had such a positive attitude. And, like me, she’s one of those people who when she says she’s going to do something, she DOES IT.
You always want a friend like this on your team. Also, Jessica Cheney, really helped me tap into my creativity and express it more fully when at the time, I was feeling rather blocked. Now, we both proudly call ourselves “serial crafters” and you can see her talent on the pages of “Purl Soho” as she is one of the sample knitters for this world wide company.
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