Ellen Latham – Founder of Orange Theory
Right off the bat I was mesmerized by her passion. Her voice was strong, captivating, and enthusiastic. I was fortunate to interview Ellen Latham, Founder of Orange Theory to discuss her unique journey and to get her perspective on what it takes to become successful- Momentum Shifting Up!
Before beginning the interview, I explained that the purpose of my blog was to dive deep to expose the core elements needed for success. People who truly strive to take their careers and lives to the next level need guidance and encouragement. They view women like Ellen as role models who can provide a road map to help achieve their goals and aspirations.
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Posted by Orangetheory Fitness on Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Knowing that she could help others, Ellen quickly jumped into her fascinating story. Ellen’s father was a football coach and taught her from a very young age the concept of “momentum shifting up.” His theory was that players needed to focus on what they have and not on what they don’t have. His goal was to bring players into the right mind set rather than focusing on falling short or losing. In Ellen’s words, “looking at life’s glass as half full.” Her father’s philosophy provided a sound principle which would help guide Ellen’s life
When Ellen was let go from her high paying job, the single mother adhered to her father’s advice. Looking back on this time, she believes it was the pivotal moment that got her to where she is today. I asked how she was able to turn a seemingly devastating event into positive change when so many others would crumble. She simply stated, “focusing on what I had and not on what I didn’t have.” What she had was the ability to teach Pilates. She decided at that moment she was going to be the best Pilates instructor she could possibly be…No one would be better. Ellen would put all her energy into her passion.
She started teaching Pilates out of her house, sometimes two women per hour. “What were her neighbors thinking,” she often jokes. Ellen grew her clientele to the point where she was be able to lease a small space and become a more legitimate business.
I asked Ellen if she always had big dreams. She chuckled and stated at the time she was just worried about paying her rent. She never imagined growing her passion for Pilates into a large franchise.
Ellen believes that some people try to think of the big idea first instead of just perfecting what they are really good at. She said, “Be the best you can be and build and build. Some people just do it backwards.”
Ellen owned and ran a very successful Pilates studio in Davie, FL. She decided to move to a larger studio and combine it with a metabolic workout. One of her clients approached her about speaking to her husband who had a proven track record for launching franchises. She told her client she didn’t have any interest. In reality, she didn’t think she could do it! She refers to this stage as not being on the “I Can” channel. Looking back she now knows that her channels were all “messed up.”
Ellen talks about how women tend to think they can’t do the big things and believe their brains have been wired this way, especially her generation. (Ellen is in her 60s and Orange Theory was developed when she was 55yrs old) She told me that luckily for her and for others, brains could be re-wired through a process called Neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity: “The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment,” According to Medicine.net
I watched a video of Ellen and was very impressed with her public speaking ability. Knowing that she couldn’t have had a tremendous amount of training in front of large groups as a Pilate’s trainer; I asked her if that came naturally. She said, “absolutely not.” She hired a public speaking coach who taught her how to cultivate stories on stage. Just like the rest of her career, she put all her effort into learning and found a way she could become the best public speaker she could be.
Lucky for Ellen, her client’s husband called the following week and she picked up the phone. She thought to herself, could it hurt to have a conversation? Can you imagine if she stayed in the “I can’t” channel and never explored the “I can” channel. Orange Theory may have never have been born. The company started franchising in 2010 and now has more than 400 studios in 38 states and seven countries with more tremendous growth to come in 2017.
Believe it or not, Ellen does have some time for fun. Ellen just moved to the East side of Fort Lauderdale and is enjoying the water and all the outside activities that come along with living east. She loves to just hop on her bike and go.
Wonder what Ellen will do next? Ellen is enjoying public speaking so much she wants to continue to perfect her skills. She sees herself talking at several women’s groups to help other women build their confidence to finally say “why not me…why can’t I!” Ellen did sneak in at the end,“I would like to find a little balance in my life, as well.” That may be case, but my theory is that she won’t be slowing down any time soon!