We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Festa de Lagarde and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind my success is about showing up and getting out of my own way. I look at success as things going the way I want them to and my business growing in line with my vision. If success happens when I show up day after day, sometimes year after year, for my business, my work, and my goals, then the set-backs and the failures, or the non-successes, are really just the moments I didn’t show up in the same way. They’re times I either lost something I’d achieved, or I didn’t get something I was after. And really, these moments happen all of the time. It’s when I show up anyway, and when I don’t let the setbacks define me – when I can grow from the lesson, and when I keep my eye on the bigger vision – that’s when things keep growing and successes come. My successes have derived from a sense of being about something bigger than myself. That’s what keeps me showing up. I have to be in touch with a bigger vision than the next step, even if I don’t know how I will get there. Whether it’s something that sounds exciting and almost too big for me, or when it’s something deeply tethered to what I see in the world and how I want to impact it – when I key into that big energy, there’s a drive that persists. So, my success depends on being about more than the present moment and more than myself. It comes from a passion to have an impact on people, communities, on my field, and on the world; this aligns me with the conviction that my work has a higher purpose. When I’m working on this level, anything is possible. This is when my drive kicks in, when I’m deeply motivated to show up, and when I’m connected to my sense of purpose. There are times when my connection to my purpose, or my drive, feel lost or I feel tired. This is when success always comes back to consistency and seeing things through. The process of getting my black belt in martial arts really taught me about the importance of showing up consistently. in business, this requires perseverance, and faith. I work to have compassion for my process, but still show up, when I’m tired, when I’m uncertain, even in the moments I feel lost. I look at my successes and realize that they are deeply connected to the times I simply kept going – following the thread, the path, the vision, in the face of everything else – challenges, doubts, fatigue, even uncertainty. Doubling down my investment in a project – rather than turning back when the next step is unclear – and being willing to face both the unknown and the uncertainty with a sense of joy, courage and adventure – this is what has led to resilience and over time, success. What helps me in these times is community, asking for help & getting other perspectives. Showing up can be hard in a vacuum; sometimes a simple conversation brings the perspective, the spark, or the encouragement I need to keep showing up for a project. Finally, success is strongly tied to how much I’m willing to take risks. I believe risk is a very personal experience – what scares me and demands my courage may be quite different than what scares you and requires yours. Risks are personal, and what they share in common is this call to courage – to do what others haven’t done, or to do what I haven’t done, or maybe to see an idea through when the outcome is unknown. Risk means acting towards something that doesn’t exist or hasn’t happened yet, because I am building or creating it. It takes courage to hear feedback and to put ideas out that my not all work out. I personally go through periods where everything seems a risk – relationships, business choices, financial investments – I know these moments I’m attuned to the idea that there is something I desire, and something I’m afraid to lose. I think risks show a tension between what I want and feeling an urge to hold on to what I have. But without risk, there can be no real growth. And all of my successes have depended as much on my desire to have a positive impact as they have on my willingness and desire to grow.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I finished graduate school and started my private Acupuncture practice in 2005. I have now been in private practice for 15 years. At the time, I had never run a business, and I didn’t really know where to start. Once I put my focus into learning as much as possible about the medicine and about the people I was working with, through practical, hands-on experience, that’s when things fell into place and my business really started taking off. I have always grappled with being a creative in a medical field. What they have in common is that both require consistency. The past 15 years have really been an exploration in how to express my creativity and to maintain the highest integrity of the medicine. In 2013, I created a second business – a brand called Real Fit Mama; I also wrote a book called Real Fit at Every Age. In 2017, I started studying more specifics about breath, blown away by the power of conscious breathing exercises, the accessibility of breath work, and the huge potential for social impact. I recently created a Patreon account for my guided breath work recordings and for breath education. I hope to reach more and more people with the incredible tool of conscious breathing. I think what sets me apart is my drive to keep learning and evolving my work; as well as to keep asking myself in what ways I can make a more positive impact on the world? My new Patreon, and my new brand called The Same Air Project, are what most excite me. They are making essential health tools more accessible to more people, and they are committed to creating a platform on which I plan to grow a diverse, inclusive community space for mind-body health.
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?
Los Angeles has such a great variety of experiences! Ok, for fun, let’s pretend this is happening AFTER Covid. I would definitely do a north Malibu day: visit El Matador beach; go for a hike at Sycamore Canyon, and watch the sunset at Point Dume. Food-wise, I love Nobu Malibu. I would want to spend a day in DTLA, walking around and exploring – checking out the Broad museum and Grand Central Station; there’s so much good food I’m still discovering in DTLA, so we’d grab whatever looks good. I’d do a Santa Monica and Venice day – walking around Abbot Kinney, grabbing food at Gjelina, and checking out the Santa Monica pier and the boardwalk. I’d also definitely want to explore K-Town and some historic parts of mid-city; food and nightlife-wise there’s so much fun stuff around Hollywood, like Mama Shelter and tons of other spots. Terroni Beverly is one of my favorite restaurants in LA, for southern Italian, and just for vibe. The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is one of my favorite LA collections, and the Huntington Gardens is awesome, so I’d devote a day to that side of town. If it’s warm, I’d do a surf & tacos day, probably in Santa Monica at my home beach. We can grab happy hour at The Huntly, and dinner at Elephante, two of my favorite beachside places for food, drinks, and views. If it’s during summer, maybe a day at Paradise Cove, where you can rent beach chairs and have a whole day of resort-vacation experience.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Many people have inspired me and driven my work over the years. My family has always believed in me and supported me, for which I am very fortunate. My friends have held me up, offered insight, supported my work, and are a huge part of my story. My Grandmothers both have taught me irreplaceable lessons – two amazing women and powerhouses. I want to thank Nik Kacy for always supporting my work, and for introducing me to ShoutoutLA. There are many authors, mentors, and leaders who’ve inspired me along my path. On a larger scale, I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to the many leaders in the fight for social and racial equality that have inspired me, that have persevered, and who are fiercely committed to bringing forth equality and justice.