Meet Nicki Noftz (32) Owner and Pilates Instructor of Mindful Movement, LLC

Tell us about how you chose your career/business and what your responsibilities include? 
From a young age, I wanted to own a business.  I wasn’t sure what that business would be, but knew that I wanted to work for me to help others.  I struggled through careers as a waitress, bartender, Master Control Operator for a television station, Assistant Video Editor, Office Director for a talent scouting company, and Office Manager for a financial firm.  At the time, these jobs didn’t provide what my heart desired; however, all of these experiences would later provide the tools needed to succeed in my business venture.  I was at the point of giving up hope on finding my passion when darkness struck in the form of a low back injury.  I was in constant pain and felt even more lost as I sank further into a cave.  Then I tried a Pilates class and was hooked instantly.  Soon my back pain decreased, I gained new confidence, and found the hope I needed.  I wanted to help others in their life journey through Pilates.  I worked for several studios before I realized that it was time to open my own business.  I wanted to broaden the focus from Pilates to a variety of holistic therapies creating a community atmosphere to heal and inspire others physically, mentally, and spiritually.   

Tell us about the company you work for or own? 
Mindful Movement is a wellness community offering Pilates, yoga, and massage; however, we intend to add more holistic services as we expand.  I wanted to make sure that the clients felt that they were part of a community rather than another number.  Our mission is to empower the body, mind, and spirit as well as educate and heal through holistic practices, classes, workshops, and cultural events to improve the quality of life of clients to build a stronger community.  This vision creates a community atmosphere where clients have unique experiences, make new friends, and are supported by Mindful Movement.  It has been amazing to see how the clients have responded to this community atmosphere as well as their support of us as a business.  My favorite part is that I get plenty of hugs from the clients.   

What are some of the most fulfilling projects you have been involved with so far?
In 2008, there were floods that left many families in Southeastern Wisconsin without food, clothing, and other household goods.  With the help of Mama Jo’s Natural Care, we held a food and clothing drive to help several of the families get back on their feet during this trying time.

As well, I was honored to be asked by two of my clients to teach Pilates to blind and visually impaired teens at the Wisconsin Association of Blind Athletes Sports Camp.  This was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.  Not only was I challenged as a teacher, but also was brought joy by empowering these teens.  I will never forget the smiles, their dedication, and excitement about Pilates.  I look forward to working more with this program in the future.   
Are there any people in your field you would like to meet and/or work with and have not yet had the opportunity? 
I have a passion for researching Pilates and have been blessed to work with some of the top people in the Pilates industry.  I would love to work with the Pilates Elders specifically Kathy Grant, Romana Kryzanowska, and Ron Fletcher.  Pilates Elders trained directly with Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates Method.  I would love to learn more about the work from those who were the closest to Joseph.  I’m sort of a Pilates geek with a rock star edge.
What are some of your favorite ways to network? 
I am a huge supporter of local businesses.  I make connections with those businesses through referrals and/or patronizing their establishment.  These connections have led me to other local networking events where I have expanded my connections to other businesses.  As well, I use social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook to connect with businesses that share similar philosophies.  You never know when you may be in their area to have great conversations and gain new knowledge. 

Do you have a mentor – if so how did you choose one another? 
Before I opened my business, I worked with three mentors to assist in the writing of my business plan.  Two of the mentors were Pilates clients of mine that are extremely successful professionals.  The other mentor was my boss at the financial firm.  These three don’t play the same role as they did when I first opened; however, they continue to offer feedback when needed.  I believe mentors are important and I continue to review with several colleagues.  I have found that too many voices can lead to inconclusive feedback.  That’s when I trust my gut to make the decision.  As well, I would love to connect with Tim Ferriss one day.  I am fascinated by his unique approach to life and work.        
What have you learned from your mentor? What do you hope to learn? 
The greatest gift my mentors gave me was lists of questions.  They offered advice, but more importantly posed questions that I never considered.  I learned the importance of being prepared, thinking outside of the box, and realizing that no vision is out of reach.  

What’s been the most surprising thing that has happened to you so far in your career? 
I have been surprised by many things in my year and half of business.  Mostly, I am amazed that the vision of creating a community has come together.  It can be daunting as a new business owner to have an idea and not see immediate results.  I have patience, but deep down wanted to see results sooner than later.  However, my desire to stick to my guns created a business that really is about community.  My vision really worked!

As well, I have recently started posting videos on You Tube and Facebook and have received a tremendous response.  I have been contacted by people in India and Canada.  I secretly hoped to make an impact globally, but never expected it.  I may never meet face to face with these people; however, I can still have an impact.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I have a passion for writing and am in the process of writing a Pilates manual and book.  Along with Pilates, I love to write about my life experiences.  As well, I love to travel, practice yoga, meditate, cook, and live life to the fullest especially with a great red wine and dark chocolate.  Recently I traveled to Colorado for a whitewater rafting, ziplining, and hiking.  

Any parting advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t follow in my footsteps.  Create your own path and trust in your abilities.  It is important to seek advice from those who have walked the path; however, your path will be different.  Your experiences are already different, which leads to great new visions.  Don’t let anyone kill your vision because they have their own experiences and path to follow.  And make sure you understand your fears.  Your fears are what will hold you back…your goals are only as good as your fears. 

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