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Chaz Sandifer on Empowerment

Dec 15, 2021
 

Season 2, Episode 42

Summary:

Chaz Sandifer set out to test her strength physically, mentally, and emotionally after a challenging life situation. She took back her personal power, became a bodybuilder, and created a business to be able to help others create their new versions of self through fitness and wellness. Chaz is the CEO/Founder of theNEWmpls which focuses on affordable fitness, wellness and nutrition. She shares what made the biggest differences for her, her motivation, and the importance of holding yourself accountable.

 

Links:

theNEWmpls

Her Path Forward Book

Champion You Group Coaching

 

Transcript:

Michael Kithcart:  

Hello, I'm Michael W Kithcart, high performance sales coach and the creator of the winning your way framework. Welcome to the Champions of RISK podcast where we examine the many aspects of risk so that we can all face uncertainty with more courage and confidence together. My guest today is Chaz Sandifer. She is the CEO and founder of theNEWmpls, which focuses on affordable fitness, wellness and nutrition. She brings her holistic approach to the community by teaching others how to break generational cycles instilling that fitness is fun, quality nutrition is king and wellness is a key to a healthy future. She also owns and operates the Camden Farmers Market and she is a featured essayist in the new book Her Path Forward, Chaz, welcome to the podcast.

Chaz Sandifer:  

Thank you for having me.

Michael Kithcart:  

I am looking forward to having you share, maybe even a different - a little bit of a different story today. You have one that is featured in the Her Path Forward book, which is how you and I met. But tell us a little bit about your entrepreneurial story. Like, what are some of those foundational points in your life that led to you becoming a CEO of your own company?

Chaz Sandifer:  

So yes, so after working about 15 years in corporate America, at that time, I felt there was needed to be changed in my life, I was not in the best place, I was going through a divorce and had experienced domestic abuse. And so my part of my healing was how could I break out of this cycle that I was in, but do it the positive way. And it took some soul searching, but I realized that it needed to be a few components. I had gained some weight. So I was, I wanted to get that off. Because I had always been in shape, but I really wanted to heal myself from the inside out. I realized that that was part of the journey of being well. And so I encouraged myself, and I should say - I always say my five year old, he's now 15 - really pushed me at that moment to heal myself. Because I always say children really understand their parents and you know, they're coming from us. So he was the the motivation to pick myself up and you know, myself.

Michael Kithcart:  

And at the time that you decided to heal yourself and start that journey, were you still working in the corporate setting?

Chaz Sandifer:  

So I decided at that time that I needed to just switch everything up, everything kind of was unraveling. And I kind of felt lost at the time. So I was like, okay, so what are we going to do to fix all this? So I ended up quitting, and I decided I wanted to be in fitness and wellness. So that's when I started my business then. And I didn't know exactly what that meant. But I knew that if I got myself together, then I could help others. So that's how I started with fitness and then moved into the other elements of my business.

Michael Kithcart:  

When you were younger, did you think that you would be a business owner that you would...

Chris Olsen:  

No, not at all. It, you know, I didn't have those big dreams, I would say of entrepreneurship. I guess I never realized what exactly that look like, both my parents worked in corporate, you know, I was kind of raised to you know, graduate high school, go to college, you know, get a great job and have that job like them for 30-40 years. Well, that definitely was not my path. I caught on to that really quick that I did need... There was something missing. For years, there was never a job ever felt complete in. It just felt like a job and a paycheck. And so that's when that narrative changed 10 years ago in the path of entrepreneurship.

Michael Kithcart:  

And it sounds like with your timing that you decided to do two really big things at the same time. So you left your relationship, your abusive relationship, and you left your job at the same time. But you needed, strength to do that.

Chaz Sandifer:  

You know, I was raised by bery strong parents and not - and I'm strong was stronger than sometimes I think I realized at that time. And so while that was just a part of my life at that moment, you know, I didn't want it to be the story forever. It was just one of those trials and tribulations I went through, but I knew that I needed to push forward. And so that meant leave the job that was not doing anything for me besides a paycheck, and then getting into fitness getting into wellness. And the key part I tell everyone was therapy. I did marriage counseling by myself for about six months to heal myself through that relationship and then I did personal counseling because who was I now, I was creating a new me. And then I did anger management because I was really angry at what had happened. At myself, the part I played, the part he played, and I didn't want to live like that. Like I knew that there had to be all of that healing to get to the next level.

Michael Kithcart:  

So yeah, well, and when people meet you, Chaz, I, you know, I've had the opportunity to see you in person, like you light up a room.

Chaz Sandifer:  

Oh, thank you.

Michael Kithcart:  

You do. You have this fantastic smile, you just have great energy about you. So what I hear in that is like, you wanted to have a joyful life.

Chaz Sandifer:  

I did. I've always had a great life, I had a great, I have great parents, I had a great upbringing, I never had experienced anything to that nature. And so here I was in my 30s. And finally experiencing hardship, on every level, right? Everything comes and done at that point, when you're going through a divorce, whether it's finances, your mental well being, which I feel society kind of pushes that to the side, you know, like, they don't realize the toll that can take on you going through a divorce, because your whole life has now been turned upside down. And people don't always know how to rebuild that back up and figure out who they are. And I really, really wanted to do that in a healthy way.

Michael Kithcart:  

Yes, that that's fantastic. And that piece to of, like your identity gets challenged, right?

Chaz Sandifer:  

Yes.

Michael Kithcart:  

You know, on that.

Chaz Sandifer:  

And finding yourself, you know, creating the new you. And that's how the business came about over the years was, that's what theNEWmpls is about, is creating the new version of you. Whatever that is, at any time, you're always you can always start over. You are it's never, you're never too young, you're never too old. It's what you need to do to get yourself to the next level. And the next level means that you get to shed off and leave behind dead weight, and things, and people, and that's what you have to do.

Michael Kithcart:  

And tell people how you work with others with theNEWmpls. Because I love that it was formed based off your own personal experience. So share that with us.

Chaz Sandifer:  

So when I first got into, I knew I wanted to be in fitness. And so with that, I was like, Okay, I became a figure bodybuilder. So that was the first steps 10 years ago.

Michael Kithcart:  

Okay, no, we're not just gonna skip over that you became a bodybuilder.

Chaz Sandifer:  

Yes. So I am a figure bodybuilder. I've competed six times. And that was a journey. I felt like the next level of strength needed to be a level I'd never been to right. I was always an athlete. I was a dancer. I was in sports my whole life. But I felt like to get back and not even get back - get to a new place. I wanted to build that strength in a different way. So I really just woke up one day, I was like, I want to be a bodybuilder. It was It wasn't like this big plan. And so that was the start of this fitness wellness journey. So yeah, I started training with a trainer, and I started competing.

Michael Kithcart:  

And from the time that you woke up that morning, and decided, hey, I'm going to be a bodybuilder which is dedication. Yeah. Domination and dedication. How long was it from that morning till the time that you competed in your first...?

Chaz Sandifer:  

It was probably about a year, year and a half, because it was steps, right? Like, it wasn't just like, I didn't have to lose like 100 pounds. It was like 30 pounds. But you know, there was there was a lot going on at that time. So not only was I training, I was going through the divorce. So when I got done with counseling and all this stuff I filed for divorce, and then I competed probably about a year later. So that once I got divorced, so that's what it was

like:  

go. I was in the zone to like, what did that look like? And I was writing down everything. And so that's how it happened. It was but I would say about a year from the divorce is when I first start competing.

Michael Kithcart:  

And what did you learn in that year about yourself where you're dedicated to just -

Chaz Sandifer:  

Being committed to yourself and your journey, believing yourself every step of the way, no one's going to believe in you like yourself. Don't doubt yourself and write down all your ideas, whether they're the pros and cons and negatives or positives, because at the end of the day, you can go back and look on that journey and how you can grow and what you learned.

Michael Kithcart:  

What were some of the things that you said to yourself, or maybe did, that helped solidify the belief even before you had the outcome?

Chaz Sandifer:  

And like I said, I think the biggest thing was a counseling. The counseling is, and the therapy, is what got me to the next level. Like because by the time I'd start training, then all the negative - negativity and all the things I went through, I dealt with. So I wasn't carrying that on my shoulders anymore. Because I was like, I want to lift weights, not problems. And that's really what it is, I want to make myself strong, I want to be a good role model for my two children. And I don't want to live like that, like, I don't want to be upset and angry and bitter and like, blaming others for my journey, when I actually have control of my journey.

Michael Kithcart:  

That's very empowering. And I imagine that there are people that come to you, and their first day with you, they're not quite there yet. Maybe they're day one. on their journey. How do you help them start realizing that they do have control over their own lives, and that they can create a new narrative and a new life?

Chaz Sandifer:  

I think first thing is addressing the problem in front of them, not sweeping it underneath the rug anymore. And then we can create a solution, but you have to adjust the problem. And the biggest thing that as a life and wellness coach I've learned is that you need to understand the part you play during the whole, whatever you're going through. And a lot of people don't hold accountable, hold themselves accountable. And you have to be be accountable for your actions. Whether it's you let something go on too long. Whether you were the problem, whether you didn't say anything at all, those are all roles you play. And so how can you grow from that? And I think how I always start is I have people write down what is bothering them. And if they can't address it right away, then what are you going through now? Or what happened years ago, that now is causing this effect? And that's what helps people you know, that healing? I think, you know, as we saw in the last couple years, people are really hurt. They're, they're really not well, inside at all. And so if you can talk about things and not feel judged, too right? And have - and, and that's the thing, that's what I coach people with, that approach. I don't judge them. It's we all have a story, we all went through things, but how can we come up with a solution that's going to help you heal?

Michael Kithcart:  

So walk us through a little bit about how you help people at theNEWmpls.

Chaz Sandifer:  

Yeah, so just gonna rewind a little bit to see understand the process that has gotten me to this point. So did the fitness and became a figure bodybuilder and then I became a group fitness instructor. Because I loved fitness. I'm that really a person. I'm not a personal trainer type. But I like the group setting. I like the classes and I wanted to take though, some of that bodybuilding and put it into classes. And that - because not everyone wants to be a bodybuilder, I get that. Most people don't. There's only 2% actually of Americans that are bodybuilders. So I wanted to say okay, you don't have to be a bodybuilder, but how about not add, you know, those weights in the classes, add your own body weight, do kind of what I'm doing, but on a smaller scale, it's still going to empower you. And then from there became a life and wellness coach. And so I'm a Certified Life and Wellness Coach, and I specialize in diabetes prevention, arthritis prevention, I work with the CDC, Minnesota Department of Health, and then other counties and organizations. And then teach the meal prep with a twist, which focuses on healthy eating on a budget, and then I, then came to over the years, the farmers market. And so with all of that, I feel like I said you needed all those components, you needed the fitness, the wellness, and the nutrition. So as theNEWmpls, we offer group fitness coaching and nutrition classes. And then obviously access to healthy eating which is a huge important, you know, component here in the Twin Cities with all the food disparities and health disparities. So if we can have, if you eat well then you will be well right? If you eat well then you can think about what you have or what you need to deal with. But the first thing you always have to feel and think about is healthy food. Because if you don't have access, how - how can you - how can anything else heal?

Michael Kithcart:  

And then did that also influence the Camden Market and taking that -

Chaz Sandifer:  

Yeah, so the Camden Farmers Market - Yeah, so I was on a board, a neighborhood board. And they actually already had the market, and then we got a grant through United Way and they asked me would I be interested in running this market? And the market has started because the food desert that it was experiencing in North Minneapolis. There wasn't any grocery stores when they started in 2008 within the whole community. So all the grocery stores had left. So you have to leave your community to get access to healthy food. So what we did is create this farmers market that already existed, but create programming that was really based on my business. And so it was adding that fitness piece. So we have free fitness every week at the farmers market, which I know other markets don't do that. I wanted people to be able to get up, come workout, and then you have, then you can, you know, eat, there's always you know, food, and you can shop. Right. So for the healthy food. And so that's all, that's how it really came about. And then from there, they were not going to sustain it. And so then I obtained it for my business, and I've been running it by myself for five years. I know.

Michael Kithcart:  

You're a serial entrepreneur.

Chaz Sandifer:  

Well, you know, I look back now. And that was like, when you write down, you know, I write down everything. Every notebook for the last 10 years, I keep them all. I, 'cause I look back or you know, something will pop up in your head, like, What was I thinking? I wonder that happened, you know? And I'm like, Oh, that's probably in a notebook. I'll go back. And I found some from eight years ago, and why now it makes sense, right? Doesn't always make sense at the time, or how you could add to this. So yeah, it was just about building up the community in a healthy way. But in a different approach, right? People always say, they're like, You own a farmers market - what does that mean? I go, I, you know, I own, I mean it's my business. And I make sure that people are able to sell their products, that it gives people, you know, that's like 40 businesses at a time, some weeks. That have a space that's affordable to sell their product and ensure their business to be successful and able to help the whole community.

Michael Kithcart:  

Yeah. I love that. And it's true too, like,

if you think about:  

when you started your journey, when you decided that you were going to leave corporate and you're going to start a business and you're going to become a, you know, fitness coach, and then the health and wellness coach and coach, like thinking that you are also going to own a farmer's market...

Chaz Sandifer:  

No (laughing).

Michael Kithcart:  

Wasn't there! But, helping others, serving community. Sounds like those were very consistent themes throughout those 10 years of notebooks.

Chaz Sandifer:  

Absolutely not.

Michael Kithcart:  

But what you accomplished by owning the Farmers Market was probably it sounds like some of those key points were with you even from the beginning. What you wanted to do with your business what you wanted to do with your life. How you wanted to serve.

Chaz Sandifer:  

Yeah, it was all the brainstorming, then all came together, right? So once I realized, like you said, when I honed in on that fitness piece, okay to be fit, you have to eat well. To eat well, you need to have access to get food. To heal from everything, you got, you need therapy, you need coaching, you know what I mean? So that's why all these ideas just kind of like started just coming all in together. And then I realized, okay, this is the brand, the fitness, the nutrition and wellness. I wouldn't change it any other way. I wouldn't change going through the divorce, the domestic abuse. It made me stronger, and it helps me instill to others how to, you know, believe in themselves. So that's huge.

Michael Kithcart:  

Yes, having that personal story, and people being able to see you where you are today, when maybe they are just starting their journey. Whether it's fitness or you know, any other personal things that are going on, really is uplifting and encouraging. So when - How do you help people when they first come in? So I'm just like, like thinking about anybody that's listening right now. Right? And who maybe is like, There's some changes that need to happen in my life.

Chaz Sandifer:  

So the group fitness right now, just taking a break, because I was just doing so much, you know, help writing, writing books and all that kind of stuff. (laughing) So the group fitness, besides contracts, I've been like, just not doing as much community work as far as that. But it's coming back this January, we're gonna do some community classes that are usually donation based. But they can you know, reach out via email, go to my website, people follow me on instagram and facebook @theNEWmpls, or my name Chaz Sandifer. And then we just, you know, have an informational session about what your goals are. Whether it's three months, six months, nine months or 12

months:  

are you looking to do fitness? Are you looking to do fitness and wellness? Are you needing some life coaching? Are you just trying to learn how to eat? So not everyone needs all those components, and so customized packaging for individuals. And then we also have, so many things I do that aren't always advertised that I can give them access like oh, I teach this. You are welcome to hone in on this or I do this platform.

Michael Kithcart:  

Okay, got it. So now you've been in business for 10 years.

Chaz Sandifer:  

Yeah. It is. It will be - what is, it, 2000... yeah. So yeah, I would say, yes, it will be 10 years. Yep, over 10 years.

Michael Kithcart:  

So what do you know now, that would have been really helpful to have known back when you first launched your business?

Chaz Sandifer:  

Have a business plan.

Michael Kithcart:  

And at what stage in your business did you finally start having one?

Chaz Sandifer:  

Probably not till like four years later, because I was sustainable, but I wasn't growing. Because the actual goals, the P&L, your, you know, your profit and loss, all of that needs to be put in place so that you can grow. And now that I have that, the business then just flourished, and grew into way more than I even thought it could be.

Michael Kithcart:  

And what has you excited about 2022?

Chaz Sandifer:  

I think the expansion of our business, theNEWmpls, as of December of last year, I added my two teenagers, so they're both owners in the company. Jalen is CFO, and he's 15. And Janae, is a CMO. And she's 16. And I think as I've grown, they've grown. And the business has grown so much that people see the idea of what I'm doing, and how that is going to be implemented not just in community, but into corporations, and other areas that maybe we would have never touched. It has expanded for me being able to, you know, be part of this book that I would never thought I'd be writing books, you know, and I'm just, I love all the things we're doing. All the things. So we're busy, really busy. (laughing) No complaints, working smarter, not harder. But it's growing. It's the growth, the growth is best thing. The growth.

Michael Kithcart:  

Yes. Okay. So this is truly a family business. Having your kids be part, and have key roles in the business is like such a fabulous concept. So what is it that you hope that they take away from that experience as really being business owners, you have them part of the company now?

Chaz Sandifer:  

Yeah, I want them as they grow into young adults, and they move on to college, I understand the importance of building at a young age and not waiting. I think that's the biggest thing, that they can be the best version of them at 15 and 16, that they can invest into themselves in their future and that the business of this should go on for generations. That we are building that generational wealth.

Michael Kithcart:  

So Chaz, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me on the podcast. Just say again, how people can follow you. We'll put it in the show notes too.

Chaz Sandifer:  

So you can follow me on Instagram @theNEWmpls or @deity77. Facebook, you can follow me at my name Chaz Sandifer, or theNEWmpls. And then our website is theNEWmpls.info.

Michael Kithcart:  

That is great. And as we are getting ready for a new year, be sure to contact chaz and and check out theNEWmpls. Thanks again for being on the podcast.

Chaz Sandifer:  

Thank you for having me.

Michael Kithcart:  

Personal development can provide resources for you to take action and actualize your goals while enhancing your well being. Invest in yourself for the new year with Champion YOU Group Coaching. Each month I go live with members to highlight high performance topics that shift perspective, provide a new tool or resource and create action steps to reach desired outcomes. If you're looking for a personal or professional development companion, and to be part of a high performance community, start the new year off right and get yourself a Champion YOU Group Coaching membership. We meet virtually the first Wednesday of every month. You can check out details in the show notes or go to MichaelWKithcart.com/group

 
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