We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Duval Ledger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I’ve been a personal trainer and business owner for over 15 years, and my work/life balance is probably the thing that has most dramatically changed for me during that time. Especially as I get older, I realize that my old habits of burning the candle at both ends and working nonstop are actually counterproductive to my success. When I finally learned how to share the load, delegate more effectively, and truly work WITH my team instead of trying to do everything myself, I found that I am not only much happier as a person, but our company is that much stronger! And the irony is not lost on me that the balance I was working so hard to help my clients find in their own lives, I was not finding for myself. I absolutely love my work, and I can see myself training for many more years to come, so keeping a good work/life balance is the key to that longevity. I now start each day with my own workout, followed by a sit-down breakfast (with coffee that is actually HOT!) – no more eating in the car on the way to an appointment. It means I have to get up early, but starting my day with my own needs in mind sets me up for a productive day. I enjoy my clients more, I’m more present for my team, I’m a better planner and leader. Showing up for myself first makes showing up for everyone else that much easier, and now that I’ve felt those benefits I’ll never go back to my old habits! Plus it’s not lost on me that I am leading by example, so all the more reason to take better care of myself.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are an experienced team of certified personal trainers with a deep passion for helping others age well, and we bring our sense of humor and adventure to all our classes and training sessions. Though we help a wide variety of clients, we specialize in working with those living with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological/chronic conditions, helping them use targeted exercise to improve their quality of life and slow the progression of PD. Many of our clients are currently in, or newly released from, physical therapy, so we fill in the gaps in their exercise therapy to keep them mobile, strong, and able to do the things they love to do. I often remark that this is seriously the best job ever, and I just may be right! We’re also a bit of a unicorn in the fitness world, since we take a collaborative team approach to our work. Our clients typically have a primary trainer with whom they work the most, but the rest of the team is also available to them, so they have the combined expertise, creativity and availability of all our trainers to help them reach their goals. For us as trainers this works well – collaborating with each other keeps us on the top of our game, because we hold each other accountable, weigh in on tough challenges to find the best approach, and motivate and inspire each other.
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?
Long Beach is such a great city, and after living here for over 20 years, I’m still discovering more treasures! Here’s an ideal day: I’d start with an early morning SUP tour around Naples Island in Alamitos Bay, followed by delicious breakfast at Wide Eyes Open Palms and a stroll through the unique shops on 4th Street Retro Row. Lunch would be on the outdoor patio of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, then we’d bike or rollerskate along oceanfront bike path that runs the length of our beach. We’d grab dinner to go from AMMATOLI Mediterranean Bites in downtown, and take it up to Hilltop Park in Signal Hill for a sunset picnic above the city. 🙂
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My success is absolutely thanks to the people in my life who keep showing up to support me – it’s hard to put into words the gratitude I feel, honestly. My husband David is my head cheerleader and inspiration – he pushes me to think BIG and expect a lot from myself, and constantly reminds me that I can do whatever I put my mind to. Owning a business – especially during COVID – can be SO hard at times, and he has an amazing ability to know when to wrap me in a big hug, and when to nudge me to keep going. My team of trainers totally rocks – they are so dedicated to our clients’ needs and successes, and make me a better trainer, a better person, and a better leader. And perhaps the biggest shoutout off all must go to my business coach / friend / mentor Mary Brown, who joined our team four years ago and transformed my business (and quite possibly my life) from the inside out. She has taught me how to dive deep into the numbers and look honestly and what’s working and what isn’t, how to make strategic decisions that will set the team up to do our best work, and how to create an open, transparent, and supportive workplace that is truly FUN. Let’s face it, your clients know when the workplace is joyful and your team is happy, and that makes them want to work with you. So the better environment I can create for my team, the more successful we will be. I can’t imagine where I’d be today if I hadn’t met Mary, all I can say is I am so glad I did!