Vulnerability of Change

Written by Katie Hayes

I’ve always found it funny how much we as humans immensely crave change, yet when we sense it coming or are in the thick of it, all we want is familiar stillness. For as long as I can remember, I’ve continually travelled down the curvy road instead of taking the most direct route. Many of us grow up being told by our parents that we can do anything we want in the world, and we grow up to forget this truth as we fall into monotonous adult routines. Nearly everyday I have to remind myself, “Katie, if you don’t dare to take a chance (move to Austin, get a one bedroom apartment, try this recipe, etc) then you will never grow, never experience true failure, never succeed, and you’ll stop learning about yourself and the possibilities of “what you want to be when you grow up.”

Lately I have felt that my life has been a constant string of feeling uncomfortable. If I’ve learned anything at this stage of my career, it’s that you can surpass difficult moments, because that’s what they are: just moments. They will pass.

Flashback to one year ago, I was living in my beautiful (yet overpriced!) San Francisco apartment in the Marina district. Surrounded by incredible roommates, friends, a promising well-paid career in marketing, with a side-hustle teaching fitness, here I was craving more. I felt satisfaction day to day, but I didn’t see where my life was going. Throughout our lives, we live on deadlines and graduations to get to the next step – and at that point I didn’t really know what I was working toward anymore. Sure, I could climb the corporate ladder and probably make a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, buy a home (maybe in another five years) but was that “it” for me? I’m not saying that this path is wrong, but I felt the hunger to try something fierce and challenging, even if that meant the potential risk of failure. I felt so comfortable, SO guess what... I decided to flip my world upside down.

During this process, I’ve realized that change comes with various waves of emotion. There is the “anxiety” phase of “ Ah! I must do something different but don’t know what yet ”. There is the “excitement” phase of “ I finally made a decision and I’m just doing it! ” Then there is the “grieving” phase of “I just changed everything and for what? I don’t quite know what I’m doing.

The list goes on and on and on; however, with enough willpower and persistence eventually most of us will get to the “satisfaction” phase. This is where can finally look back and realize that the raw vulnerability and emotions are born from making changes and taking chances. Maybe it wasn’t smooth sailing but every bump, every failure, and every relationship got you to where you are today...that’s your story.

When it comes to starting a business, my feelings of fear are constantly battling my hope for success. Over the past 6 months, I’ve shed more tears than I have in my entire life, felt helpless when deadlines couldn’t be met, and furious by construction delays at the Urban Lagree studio. These tough moments have made the small wins feel like the most enormous victories.


It was a year ago when my sarcastic and witty British friend started dreaming up the idea of opening our own Lagree studio. She left San Francisco, after calling it home for ten years, and started building a real foundation for this “dream”. She slowly lured me in. I’m a West Coast born-and-raised kinda gal, and even though I love new experiences, the thought of being so far away from home really freaked me out. Sometimes opportunity and passion outweigh the unknown of a new place – I knew this was my chance to partner with someone I wholeheartedly trusted. I packed my belongings into a storage POD and made the leap down South.

I’ve been asked many times why this opportunity , why Lagree, and why now?

Well to be honest with you, fitness has always been what I’ve turned to in times of stress, anxiety, and the highs and lows of life. I’ve suffered from multiple injuries and every doctor sent me to Lagree studios, promising me that a stronger core would improve the chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain I was suffering. The Lagree method healed my injuries, helped me understand my body, and gave me an amazing community when I was a new San Francisco resident. I choose Lagree because I want to cultivate the same sense of health and wellness i was provided, and build an Urban fitness community in East Austin.

Sometimes there are people in your life that believe in you more than you believe in yourself at that given moment. Those are the people that you want in your corner. Opportunities don’t come knocking on your door everyday. When I thought long and hard about joining Abbie in the business, there was no possible way I could decline the offer. She believed in me and took a risk, and I was saying YES to the unknown yet amazing journey of doing something that we are both extremely passionate about. Urban Lagree is a passion project, a little risky, always exciting, and a community builder - but it was the right opportunity to seize at this time in my life.

Every journey to success has lots of road bumps. I tore and dislocated my shoulder lifting weights in October. The day I got my second MRI and was told I should have surgery, I said “no” to my doctor. It wasn’t until Abbie forced me into saying yes, that I agree don a Thanksgiving surgery date. I was full of fear of the setback of no activity and losing momentum on meeting with people and networking in Austin. As someone who finds an escape from anxiety and the craziness of life through fitness, I was worried about what my life would be like without activity. Post-surgery, I can shake my head a little bit and realize this was #situational, and being on the other side I’m stronger and better for it. But these small changes in our daily routine while going through a high stress time in our life can be extremely mentally challenging. We continue to persevere and not let these small setbacks diminish our visions and goals for the future.

Somedays I love where I’m at, and other days I laugh, wondering how in the hell I ended up here. I’m a brand new Austinite. I’m opening a fitness business. I have a full-time career and I’m about five weeks post shoulder surgery (#major #roadbump).

Nothing has been easy, but I haven’t lost sight of my path. If it was easy, everyone would have the gumption to dive head first into starting a company. After a long day hustling at WeWork, I’ll head home and reflect on where I’ve been, where I currently am, and where I might be going. I’ve become in tune with my emotions, the ups and the downs, and feeling my feelings in the moment rather than brushing them under the rug. We live in a world where we are often scared of feelings and change, but I challenge everyone to be vulnerable, to be brave, and to not be afraid to jump on any opportunity that might entice you. If there is one thing that I’ve learned, everything is situational. You have the POWER to change your life at any given moment. Believe in yourself and your passion.


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Katie Hayes is a West Coast native who made her way down South in summer of 2018. Portland raised and most recently transplanted via San Francisco she is excited for a new change and challenge as she calls Austin, Texas home.  A marketing professional, road cycling enthusiast, and now small business owner she is constantly running around Austin to keep up with the fast-speed changes of life and owning a business. Katie is opening up Urban Lagree, East Austin’s newest fitness studio, with business partner Abbie Rosser in January 2018.

Chelsea Francis