Updated: Feb 17
This week we are inspired by a woman who is driven, persistent and motivated by purpose.
During the day, Lina Alvarez is an Advisor for Export Development Canada’s Women in Trade strategy. Lina and her team are working so that more women-owned and Led business in Canada are able to take advantage of international business opportunities. Lina has always been someone that stands up for what she believes in and is working in a space that is well aligned with her values and the change she wants to see in the world.
Lina also gets a glimpse of entrepreneurship at work. In 2017, Lina started the BarreJar to connect barre fitness enthusiasts worldwide. Lina shares that passion at work by teaching barre to her colleagues at her corporate gym and hosts barre events around Ottawa. Lina loves teaching barre because it is a low impact functional workout that helps anyone find alignment and strength inside and outside the studio in a fun and inclusive environment.
Lina said that her favourite things about what she does is creating community and having and impact. She explained that in her day job, she gets to impact the lives of the entrepreneurs by helping them expand their business globally while contributing to Canada's economic growth and gender equality.
"Through barre, I get to build communities with regulars that come to my classes and help people move their bodies, have fun, and be healthy." said Lina.
We asked Lina what her biggest success and challenge was and her answers ended up being the same experience.
She explained that one of her biggest challenges was after her first year of University. She found out that if she wanted to stay at McGill University she would have to finance her own education and living expenses. She was only 19, 4000 kms away form her family and only had her friends from residence.
"It was always my dream to study at McGill so I didn’t want to give up on that opportunity," Lina said.
Lina ended up taking a year off school and worked as a flight attendant to make sure she had the resources she needed to get through University. Lina explained that the experience helped her build resilience and contributed to her being someone that is independent and resourceful. It put a lot of pressure on her but one of her proudest successes to date was being able to put herself through university.
"Looking back at it now I can’t help but think “I don’t know how I did it”. That moment really set the stage for me becoming someone that approaches life with a “I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I am going to figure out a way and make it happen” mentality," said Lina.
This far, Lina has done a lot of incredible things and we couldn't be prouder of her.
It's no doubt that she is driven and has shown true perseverance through the adventures of life.
The next question we asked Lina was who or what she was inspired by, she said,
"I feel inspired by people that are driven by humble pursuit. Business owners, coaches, artists that do what they do purely because they want to see a change in the world and make a difference in people’s lives. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that it’s not always whoever is the loudest or most prominent that is having the biggest impact. I try to live this in my day to day life. If what I am doing is not having a positive impact on other people, then why do it at all?"
If you follow us on social media, you know we love a good routine so we asked Lina if she has a morning or nighttime routine. She said that having a peaceful moment in the morning is really important to her.
"Even on busy days, I try and not check any notifications on my phone for at least 20 mins. On an ideal day where I don’t snooze a million times (which I do quite often) I go to my mat and find time to stretch," she said.
At night she makes tea before going to bed and starts to wind down. She takes a shower, turns all her lights off except for her lamp in her room and then after her shower and skin care routine, she listens to an audiobook for about 10 minutes before bed. Right now she is listening to the Alchemist in Spanish.
With working 9-5 and teaching barre, we wanted to know how Lina does everything in 24 hours. She mentioned that a huge lesson for her was understanding that doing it all everyday is not sustainable.
"I’ve gotten much better at saying no to things and being okay when the things that aren’t actually that important to me fall through the cracks. Reading the book “essentialism” helped me realize that sometimes doing it all actually means you’re not giving something more valuable your all," said Lina.
Over the years, Lina explained that she learned a lot about herself. She shared that she definitely has habits from when she was younger that serve her but also hold her back in some ways. She explained that she has always been a studious person which means that now when she wants to start anything new she needs to “study” for it and aim for that A.
Lina said, "It serves me really well in that I know about a lot of different industries and processes and I’m usually well prepared. On the other hand, It holds me back sometimes because I am always searching for that feeling of being prepared for that big test before I take a step."
Lina mentioned that she is getting better at accepting that sometimes when starting something you have to just do your best and learn from it afterwards, not get stuck in the preparation process before and we couldn't agree with her more.
Lastly, Lina shared with us one piece of advice for anyone looking to start a business or project. She said,
"You can do whatever you want! I find that for many of us it can be hard to shift our mindset away from who has to give me approval? who do I ask? am I qualified to be doing this? The best part of having your own project or business is that you can do anything that you want. Yes ask people and find advisers that can help, but there is no approval needed and no one is deciding if you are qualified to lead an initiative or not. Do anything you want!"
We are so inspired by Lina and we love how real and open she is. She shared with us all her challenges, success and routines. We are so grateful for Lina's impact in the world and can't wait to see where ends up.
To learn more about Lina, follow her on instagram here
To follow Lina's barre project, visit the barre jar here.
Peace, love and carrots,
Cierra and Mike