Human beings are meant to move. If you’re able-bodied, or even if you’re not, spend time every day moving your body however you can. Maybe it’s a 10 minute walk in your neighborhood. Maybe it’s a stretching routine. Use this as time to be with your body and your thoughts.

Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Joanna Sapir.

Joanna Sapir has been a teacher and mentor for more than twenty-five years, from the classroom to the gym floor and now to wellness practices across the world. She is the founder and lead-teacher of the Business Revolution Academy, and host of the Business Revolution for Practitioners podcast. Joanna’s special ability is in helping innovative and holistic practitioners set up repeatable systems and processes in their businesses to serve their clients more powerfully, enroll committed long-term clients, and create steady income and cash flow. A San Francisco Bay Area native, she now lives in Sonoma County, is the mother of two sons, and is a masters national champion in Olympic-style Weightlifting. Learn more at

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

When I was 20 years old I literally heard my calling. I was on a college semester abroad in Nicaragua staying in a tiny little town and working in a women’s health center that provided medicinal herbs for the community. A group of people in the town asked me if I would teach English. I begrudgingly said yes — I had no training for doing this, who am I to teach English? As the day approached I was so nervous.

Well, it was a disaster! A hilarious disaster though. I walk into this room and it was packed with kids as young as two year old along with elders in their eighties, and every age in between. That was the first surprise. Then in the middle of my first activity, which was “Simon Says” in English, loud singing and music suddenly erupted from the evangelical church gathering next door. We couldn’t hear each other over the loud singing and music, so we were forced to end the class abruptly.

Yet as I walked home, chuckling at how poorly the whole thing had gone, I heard a voice that said, “Maybe you should be a teacher.” Despite that class going so wrong, I had a sense of humor about it — and I heard my calling! I have been a teacher in some capacity in the 30 years since then.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

In my family of origin, money and status were not symbols of success. Instead, doing work for the greater good of society was. So when I became a high school teacher, passionate about my work and making positive change in the world, I felt incredibly successful. I was making an impact for good. What I didn’t understand yet was how important it is to also take care of myself, and eventually I burned out because I was so focused on my work. So I think the misconception I had was that taking care of my own needs was not important, or not as important as taking care of others’ needs. This is a common myth in the “helping” professions, that we are meant to give everything, all of us, to others. The truth is that we really must take care of ourselves first in order to have a positive impact on the larger world. That whole “put your own oxygen mask on first” thing is actually really important.

How has your definition of success changed?

Over the last 15 years I’ve come to understand that successfully helping others starts with taking care of myself. Now my definition of success means that I am happy and continually growing personally in my relationships and my health, and my own personal growth is what allows me to serve others more deeply and powerfully. It’s not an either/or — it’s BOTH. If you are sacrificing your own health and happiness in the name of service to others, you are actually not serving them well — even though you may unconsciously think being a martyr is noble. Taking care of yourself is revolutionary, actually. Taking care of yourself is noble. This is a principle that underlies all of the business strategy I provide for wellness practitioners.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

Despite being so isolated in the early stages of the pandemic — or perhaps because of the isolation — I think so many people recognized the value and importance of community. We helped each other. We called each other. We connected with each other in real ways that were largely absent before. We are social beings and are meant to live in community and interdependence. I hope that sense of community, and the importance of creating community, grows in these post-pandemic years.

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

I work with many wellness practitioners that have brick-and-mortar businesses, and they were initially shut down in the pandemic. While that was financially painful for them, for many they suddenly had space in their lives that they really needed: space to focus on their own health; space to work on their businesses not just in them. I had a big influx of clients during that time, because they finally had the time to actually work on their businesses! And it was wonderful. With my help, many of my clients fully remodeled their businesses to provide them more space forever. One client, who had been tied to his business like a ball and chain for years, rebuilt it to provide him time to exercise daily (and do many other things outside the business) and lost 70lbs as a result!

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”

Sure — although my responses might be surprising. I think these are practices that can help us be more in touch with ourselves in order to define success for ourselves. But also, these things will simply help you feel happier and more fulfilled, which in itself may be your definition of success!

  1. Align your schedule with your values.

This is one of the most powerful things I do for myself, and help my clients do. Too many of us end up so “busy” with work that we don’t have the time to do all the other things we want to do. Well you can fix that. To start, watch the classic “Big Rocks” video from Stephen Covey on YouTube. The bottom line is this: you’ll never have time for all the things that you want to do (i.e. workout, have dinner with your family every night, go on retreats, work on your creative projects, work ON your business — or whatever you wish) if you don’t identify what’s most important to you, and then align your schedule with those things. It’s a true life-changer.

2. Leave your phone untouched for at least the first hour after you wake up each morning.

Most of us keep our phones next to our beds and check it first thing when we wake up. Why is this is a problem? Because it means you’re starting your day with other people’s agendas, thinking about things that other people want you to think about. It’s a distraction from what matters to YOU. Instead, take your first hour of the day and keep it for yourself. Have your coffee and breakfast with your own thoughts or your loved ones or a journal. Connect with yourself and what YOU want from your day — and life.

3. Move your body every day.

Human beings are meant to move. If you’re able-bodied, or even if you’re not, spend time every day moving your body however you can. Maybe it’s a 10 minute walk in your neighborhood. Maybe it’s a stretching routine. Use this as time to be with your body and your thoughts.

4. Practice good sleep hygiene.

Sleep is the ultimate “self-care”. Get great sleep consistently, and the whole rest of your life will be better. Sleep hygiene is the practice of prioritizing bedtime by shutting down electronics at least an hour before bed, and creating whatever conditions you need to relax into a great night’s sleep — every night.

5. Envision what success is for you.

Envisioning what you want in your life is the first step to actualizing it. What do you want your daily schedule to be like, look like, feel like? What do you want your income and cash flow to be like, look like, feel like? What do you want your home, your relationships with friends and family, and your relationship with yourself to be like, look like, feel like? Create your vision, and that’s how you’ll start making the right decisions to actualize it. You’ve gotta know where you want to go in order to get there.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

What it comes down to is this: YOU are the most important agent of change in your life. It sounds so simple, and really it is: when you define success for yourself, and then take action to achieve that and make it real, you will be happier and more empowered in your life to do and experience whatever you want. And if we all do this, we’ll be able to help others do it too, and I believe that’s how we can make major cultural shifts towards a more just world.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

Ooh, this is actually a challenging one. Our conditioning — what we think “success” is based on cultural norms — is likely to be the biggest obstacle to defining success for yourself. The thing about our conditioning is that it’s invisible, it’s simply the oxygen we breathe. We don’t see it or notice it unless we really pay attention. So pay attention! Are you trying to achieve goals that were set by someone else? By your family? By white supremacist culture? By patriarchy? Are those goals what YOU actually want? Phew, that’s some deep work to do. I’m almost 50 years old now and I’m still doing this work.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

Well first, I always formally work with a coach or mentor to help me see differently. They say ‘it’s hard to read the label from inside the jar’ and so having an outside perspective on my life and business is super insightful. Additionally, I am always reading books and listening to podcasts. Finally, I try to surround myself with people that inspire me in man different ways.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

One of my favorite authors, that has provided me so much insight about success and challenge, is Ryan Holiday. I would love to have a conversation over lunch with him some day!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thanks for asking! If you are a wellness practitioner, my podcast The Business Revolution for Practitioners is a great way to start learning from me. My website at has many free business resources for practitioners. Finally, if you simply want to stay in touch with me and what I’m up to, follow me personally on facebook (@joanna.sapir) which is the social platform I’m most active on.

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and wellness.