Home Interviews Nikki Chrysostomou of Movement Integration: How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur

Nikki Chrysostomou of Movement Integration: How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur

by Charles Purdom
Nikki Chrysostomou of Movement Integration: How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur

Being a founder, entrepreneur, or a business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur  we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Nikki Chrysostomou.

Nikki Chrysostomou is a movement specialist combining Pilates, Dance, Fascia in Motion, and Cranial Sacral Therapy.

At the age of 13 she began assisting teaching in dance and movement, which gave her the fundamental base of knowledge about the body and alignment. Nikki has been teaching Pilates since 2002, opened her first Pilates studio in 2005 on the Canary Wharf Estate London. Completed a 2-year Shiatsu course in 2009 which lead to a diploma in Cranial Sacral Therapy in 2015. Listening to the client’s body is a big part of Nikki’s work. This results in an increase in the quality of movement, movement with less or no pain and ensures initiation of movement from the right place. In 2019 Nikki started her 5-year journey in studying Osteopathy at SICO and has recently founded her new business — Movement Integration. Nikki is passionate about her teaching and strives for others to be the best they can be. She is a motivating, positive, and dedicated person who helps people understand their bodies for better performance in life.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Nikki Chrysostomou: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated by how the human body moves but also was intrigued by the different forms of movement individuals can incorporate to build strength, mobility, and stability.

At the age of 13, I assisted my teachers in teaching dance and movement, which has given me the fundamental base of knowledge about the body and alignment. I’ve taught Pilates since 2002, opened my first studio in London in 2005. Soon after, I completed a 2-year Shiatsu course which introduced me to Cranial Sacral Therapy, ultimately leading me to earn a degree in 2015.

In 2019, I began a five-year journey in studying Osteopathy at the Switzerland International College of Osteopathy. Fast forward to today — I’m a licensed movement therapist (PMA-CPT & Cranial Sacral Therapist), based in California, and founder of Movement Integration. With my wellness company, I combine Pilates, dance, Fascia in Motion, and Cranial Sacral Therapy to teach individuals to move their bodies.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

Nikki Chrysostomou: After owning my own Pilates studio in various neighborhoods in central London for 15 years — I started to come into my own. I looked more closely at my professional goals and career aspirations. Eventually, as what often happens, I reached the pinnacle of what I could achieve in London.

My next endeavor was to immerse myself in different countries and cities so that I could reach a larger audience. My first stop was California.

In the UK, I had a Pilates studio that was strictly focused on mixing the classical and contemporary methods. I came to the realization that I wasn’t just teaching Pilates after I moved to California as this was where my current company, Movement Integration, came to fruition. I had an “aha moment” and realized the classes I was teaching with my new business were a mixture of different movement practices which combine my personal experiences.

In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?

Nikki Chrysostomou: No! I spent a significant amount of my life studying dance, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Fascia in Motion, Pilates, and more. I’ve never once considered myself an entrepreneur as my degrees weren’t closely related to entrepreneurship or business.

It wasn’t until I was building and running my Pilates studio that I realized I do, in fact, fall under the entrepreneur bucket.

My goal then and now is to see if I can help a handful of individuals find a transformational moment in how they think they can incorporate continuous body movement — through every physical barrier and disturbance.

Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?

Nikki Chrysostomou: Honestly, no. I’ve always been the single, driving force behind building my businesses and taking the responsibility of steering my journey.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Nikki Chrysostomou: The name of my company alone, Movement Integration, is unique. The idea behind the name focuses solely on my lifetime of movement that simply keeps developing. There is not one single wellness concept my clients will benefit from — it’s a combination.

That said, I did not build the company with one, single consumer in mind. I offer private sessions and group classes to individuals who are looking for an exercise experience full of challenges that suit their own needs and goals.

For group classes, I blend Pilates and Dance and Fascia in Motion exercises. The focus is on continuous movement while working the whole body improving motor control, fascia & muscle suppleness, myofascia continuities, and coordination. Exercises continuously flow from one exercise to the other. Suitable for those familiar with the Pilates repertoire.

Then, for one-on-one, private forums, I offer a variety of different types of sessions. Specifically, though, I have an influx of clientele coming for Cranial Sacral Therapy. This is an efficient way to overcome physical barriers in the body. It allows me to engage with rhythmic motion and natural forces within the body — releasing disturbances and resistances such as twists, turns, restrictions, and more to re-establish an integrated state.

With my company, I remain focused on building an unmatched, overall brand experience to clientele, day-after-day.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Nikki Chrysostomou: I purposely separate my business from my clients. Therefore, there are three character traits for my company and an additional three for my clients that are vital to sustainable success. Here they are:

Personality Trains as a Business Leader:

  • Be Goal-Oriented
  • Be Self-Reliant
  • Be Inquisitive About Your Education

Personality Traits As a Movement Specialist for Clients:

  • Be An Active Listener
  • Be Unselfish and Put the Client First
  • Be Unassuming and Act With Empathy

Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?

Nikki Chrysostomou: Truthfully, nothing comes to mind. I have always felt confident and trust in myself to navigate my journey.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?

Nikki Chrysostomou: In my opinion, the most immediate and effective way to reduce employee burnout at your organization is for the leader at the top to determine which factors are most relevant to them. Below are my recommendations:

  • Support communication and be intentional with every conversation.
  • Recognize employees as individuals to support their unique life situations and needs.
  • Ensure people can grow and develop.

What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?

Nikki Chrysostomou: Business leaders and owners need to do everything they can to create an atmosphere of accountability. Below I’ve outlined simple, specific steps you can take to earn a personal reputation of being a trusted, accountable leader:

  • Be reliable, not deniable. Don’t accept blaming, excuses, or scapegoating.
  • Communicate and inspire trust with your peers.
  • Be fair and free of favoritism.

Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?

Nikki Chrysostomou: The more credibility you earn is the more reputation you build. It’s as simple as that. I like to look at credibility as your best currency. With it, you are solvent. Without it, you’re disposable.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Nikki Chrysostomou: One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen over the years is business leaders engaging in “dirty” business. Meaning, using tactics as the use of dishonest, deceptive, or manipulative strategies to win a competitive advantage.

To put it simply — don’t do “dirty business.”

Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?

Nikki Chrysostomou: Absolutely. As an entrepreneur, you’re likely the head of the business. Contrary to what some may think, not all entrepreneurs are constantly looking for ways to get things off their plate. For me personally, my plate always has something on it. There are certainly times when it’s less full but it’s certainly never empty.

A business comes with problems, challenges, obligations, responsibilities and so much more. When you’re faced with something, you’re the one who must find a solution. It is not a team member that is obligated to find the “fix” which is why being an entrepreneur is different than those with a “regular job.” Team members can certainly help execute your vision to resolve an issue but it’s my job to develop the plan of attack, so to speak.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.

Nikki Chrysostomou: There is an accumulation of experiences that have made me feel high and excited. More importantly, they’ve made me proud. Those moments when I finish a private session or group class — truly takes my client’s breath away. I see it firsthand. It’s my efforts, dedication, knowledge, and experience in the field that allows me to exceed my client’s expectations. Nothing makes me happier than bringing them a sense of comfort through the time I spend with each of them.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.

Nikki Chrysostomou: Definitely. Back when I was operating my studio in London — I was forced to move its location on multiple occasions. Whether it was my landlord informing me they were selling the building I was in or telling me the building is no longer welcoming small business — it was up to me to find a new location for my studio. Each move felt like I was starting over from scratch — especially since there was an instance where a move caused me to lose 95% of my clientele. However, there was a “high” moment with every move. With every new studio, space got bigger which meant there was more opportunity to get new bodies into a class. Plus, it exposed my business to new, potential customers — consumers I likely wasn’t ever in front of.

As the owner, it was my responsibility to keep my doors open while an employee could have easily found a new venture to pursue. Quitting will never be an option.

Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?

Nikki Chrysostomou: My focus shifted back to the company. With the reality I was facing, I took a closer look at what I had in front of me but also took time to notice what I needed. That made me see very clearly that in order to bounce back, it would require a team. I had to determine what positions I needed to be filled, where the expertise was needed, and so on forth.

Each team member has vast importance to me. They’re absolutely indispensable. Without them, I would have never found the success that I did.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.

Nikki Chrysostomou: 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help — finding the help you need is part of the job. The sooner you learn to ask for it, the sooner it will bring you that much closer to conquering a task.
  • Reward yourself after the highs — recognize and celebrate your wins. For me, I like to reward myself by taking a trip.
  • Remember the lows will fade — eventually, dispiriting moments will pass.
  • Manage your time — you are in control of your availability and time. If you want four-day workweeks, then schedule your priorities accordingly.
  • Be flexible and mindful — with it, you’ll be socially focused and naturally empathize with people.

We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

Nikki Chrysostomou: Resilience is the ability to absorb challenges and transform them into something positive through changing our attitude and initial reaction.

It is my belief that a resilient person is dependable, positive, flexible and an effective communicator.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?

Nikki Chrysostomou: I believe all life experiences contribute to one’s own resiliency.

In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?

Nikki Chrysostomou: By embracing and understanding that you’ll be faced with obstacles on any given day with a positive attitude, you’ll create a positive atmosphere. Leading with poor negativity brings you negativity. Be confident in your ability to give direction and inspiration and convey positivity to those around you.

As a way to remind myself to be positive, I tell myself to never take things personally and refuse to dwell on the past.

Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.

Nikki Chrysostomou: A positive attitude can be contagious and it’s one of the most powerful things you can do but it’s also the simplest.

Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?

Nikki Chrysostomou: I do have a favorite. It’s, “When you truly put your heart and soul into something, and the table is turning the wrong way, keep going. When the time is right, the tables will turn to you, when you least expect it.”

How can our readers further follow you online?

Nikki Chrysostomou: 

Please see below for all my platforms:

  • Official Movement Integration website: https://www.nikkichrysostomou.com/
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nikki.chrysostomou
  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nikki.chrysostomou/
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikki-chrysostomou-252b2427/
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/moveintegration

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with
this. We wish you continued success and good health!

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