Cara Hazelton

Owner, Precision Pilates.,

 What are you most proud of professionally? And who or why?

I am most proud that I have survived.  It's that simple.  We know the statistics on small businesses - most don't make it past 5 years.  I'm more than a decade in and thriving.  To be standing where I am today, having overcome and lived through personal challenges that most will never experience, feels really good.

What's your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?

I would love to see Atlantic Canadians living in such a way that they are self sustaining.  By no means do I think that we should be shutting out the rest of the world, but we should know how to take care of ourselves. By shopping and living locally, relying on the talent and tenacity of Atlantic Canadians for all of our needs, we will grow and thrive.  There is so much for us to be proud of here! 

What was your greatest stage of growth?  What made it a shift for you? 

Growth for me hasn't really come in stages.  Growth, in the business sense, has been continuous since I started Precision Pilates over 10 years ago.  It has been a continuous effort that has resulted in the gradual increase of clients, studio hours and space, equipment, staff, and most noticeably, responsibility. Consistency in my offerings, in my continued education, and in my attitude have made this possible.  

Growth in the personal sense has been more difficult and comes with a two steps forward, one step back, kind of flow.  I've been through some pretty challenging personal situations over the last five or six years, and this has required me to dig deep, get gritty, and lean in.  Some days are good, and some days aren't, but each day has a lesson.  What you choose to do with that lesson will determine if you grow.  

Two years ago I completed an Effective Personal Leadership for Women course with Executive Coach, Kathy Watt.  This was simply life changing for me.  Kathy held me to the highest standard, pressed me to do better, work harder, and really seek my potential.  This is a continued growth that is surprisingly difficult yet more rewarding than financial business growth because it gifts me with skills and attitudes that affect change in my whole self.

What's your favourite or most read book or podcast? Now or at each of your greatest stages of growth?

My favorite podcast is CBC’s ‘Under the Influence’ by Terry O’Reilly . As someone with a Business Administration degree and marketing background this podcast is one that helps to keep my creative juices flowing in terms of my own business marketing ideas. It is fun, well researched, and hosted by Canada’s marketing genius and king!   Terry’s recent book ‘This I Know’ was a super book that led me down a path last year to dig deep into my corporate values and re-assess how I do things. This is also a podcast that my family loves so they don’t mind listening in and maybe don’t realize that I'm ‘working’ in my head as I listen!  shh! Please don’t tell them! 

What's your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?

My deepest learning from the past 12 months is that being authentic comes with good and bad.  Being true to myself and my goals means a lot of really great and fun things ahead, but it also means letting go.  Everything in my life is constantly in a state of assessment.  I continually ask myself the question, "Does this person/item/habit create happiness and is it/are they supporting my goals, reflecting my values, and adding to my life in a positive way?"   When the answer is yes, then yay!  When the answer is no - difficult conversations are on the horizon, but I always sleep better once its been done.

Who's inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?

This is one of those questions that I could write a book on, but I think to be truly honest, I have to answer that with my parents and my children.  My parents are really good people who have worked incredibly hard in their lives and have shown me and my five siblings what life is really all about.  The good life for me is a home where you feel safe, full of family and friends, lots of food and drink, and stories to tell of memories past and the opportunity for adventures to come. My children have inspired me from the other end of the spectrum, as I want them to have the incredible upbringing and opportunities that I had.  I want my children to grow into confident, kind, authentic adults who will help to lead our communities into the future.

What would you have done differently?

I've thought about this many times, and the answer always is the same.  Nothing.  I would do nothing differently.   If I changed one moment, one choice, one relationship - I would not be standing where I am today.  I wouldn't change a thing.

What were your priorities and how did they help you overcome some of the struggles you've faced? What motivated you to make the choices you've made? What are the principles you live by?

The main thing for me has been safety.  I need a safe space for my children to live, love and thrive.  I need a safe space to work, to create, and to grow.  I want my staff and clients to have a safe space to take care of themselves and each other.  This means a lot of things of course.  The relationships that I have are ones based on trust and kindness.  It means that I've had to say 'no thank you' many times over.  It means that I've had to completely uproot, change directions, and ask for help.  The most difficult part is that it means I've had to be vulnerable. There was a time I couldn't even say that word let alone suggest that it described me!

How have you recovered from fractured professional relationships?  What uncomfortable truths have you learned about yourself in those experiences?

Recovered or perhaps simply moved on.  I have learned to trust my gut because it is always right. Sometimes we jive with people and sometimes we don't. It does not mean we, or they are bad people. It just means that we aren't each others’ people and that is okay.  It is important to remain kind, yet always true to yourself. I don't think the truths about me are uncomfortable. They are me, my authentic self.   Of course I am always working to be a better person, but many of the things that some people do not like about me are the very things that have gotten me where I am today.  I am focused, driven, strong willed, and I have high expectations of everyone around me.  I recognize that these traits can be challenging at times, but when they are paired with my personal values of success, fun, authenticity and kindness the result is my special kind of magic that makes me - ME! 


Entrepreneur, Pilates Teacher, Mom, Student, Wine Lover, Grit, Determined, Skier, Runner, Cyclists, Hiker, Friend, Kind

Cara Hazelton