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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

Life lessons: Emma Barry

Emma Barry talks to Kath Hudson about her decision to celebrate her rebellious spirit by founding Trouble Global, following a run of unsuccessful job interviews

Published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 11
Barry’s epiphany changed her life and work / photo: EMMA BARRY / STARLAFORTUNATO
Barry’s epiphany changed her life and work / photo: EMMA BARRY / STARLAFORTUNATO
Get the skills to ensure your mouthing-off causes minimal damage to others

Being fully myself has sometimes led me into trouble – in fact I’ve been in a little bit of trouble my whole career. I’m just not built to sit neatly inside a corporate box – unless it’s at the football.

Although I’ve been celebrated, rewarded and backed, I’ve also been fired, passed over, ignored, publicly berated, screamed at and blamed. My teams have been bullied, I’ve had great plans binned and had moments of feeling isolated and unsupported.

When I look back through my career, it’s clear I can stay on the straight and narrow for a while, but then I invariably get into trouble: speaking out when it wasn’t welcome, or not playing the best political game.

I’ve always been fearless, but haven’t always thought through the ramifications of this, so my fearlessness has been both a conduit to self-actualisation and my undoing.

I think fast on my feet, which can send others into a spin and be seen as aggressive. One fabulous colleague who was instrumental in helping shape people and culture at Les Mills, summed it up, saying: “you think things can be done twice as fast as they can and by the time everyone has caught up, you’re bored and have moved on.”

Confronting failure
All this culminated this year when I was interviewed for three amazing roles with brands we all know and love. It wasn’t to be, as all three organisations opted to restructure instead, but what was even more interesting was waking up the next day with no thoughts of any of them, at which point I identified myself as “unemployable”.

It wasn’t a negative experience, it just reaffirmed what I’ve really known for a while.

In the wake of that revelation I realised I couldn’t be at someone else’s bidding and closed the door on that once and for all. Rang my mentor and we did a six-hour strategy session about my next steps. She introduced me to my new business manager, who demanded I embrace my authenticity rather than apologise for it and eight weeks later had rebranded me as Trouble Global.

Firing on all cylinders
I’ve always been myself, but now I’m really firing all cylinders. I’ve given myself permission to go all-out and instead of trimming and tucking myself around the edges to fit other agendas, I’m fully myself and ready to raise a ruckus.

I’m working within a team that does certain aspects of my job way better than I do. For example, I’m great at starting a conversation, turning up and doing the magic, but not ideally suited to detail and consistency. Now my project work is vetted by my business team – they keep me on-point and no idea is too big for them.

In 2024 I’m booked to do speaking and high-level workshops, have interesting projects in the UK, United Emirates and America and am launching a podcast called The Trouble Show which is part interview, part therapy, part shit-show. I’ve got my first season of guests lined up: troublemakers who have a healthy disregard for the status quo.

A new path
I believe all my experiences have led me to where I am now – my own badass boss. My career to date has given me the reputation as a tree-shaker, rule-breaker and troublemaker, as well as the balls to bust into rooms I have no right to be in, as well as attracting me to the right kind of people to work with. It’s gifted me the freedom to be geographically free and think critically without constraint.

If I could give young Emma some advice it would be to know thyself and invite complementary knights to the round table soon. Get the necessary skills to ensure your mouthing-off causes minimum damage to others.

Also to harvest feedback from others more comprehensively and transfer it to future behaviours. Align with self, goals and those you serve. Have an insatiable desire to do better. Stay inextricably linked to your raison d’être. Throw the perfection paradigm out of the window and replace it with a healthy obsession with progress.

Now, rather than apologising for myself, I’m accepting this is who I am – part Haka, part Xena Warrior Princess and part “can we please just effing get on with it?”

Barry is now the ‘badass boss’ of her own consultancy / photo: EMMA BARRY / STARLAFORTUNATO
Barry is now the ‘badass boss’ of her own consultancy / photo: EMMA BARRY / STARLAFORTUNATO
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2023/222203_841099.jpg
A life epiphany led Barry to celebrate her rebellious spirit, rather than seeking to tame it, by launching a new consultancy, Trouble Global and a podcast that will be ‘part interview, part therapy, part shitshow’
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features

Life lessons: Emma Barry

Emma Barry talks to Kath Hudson about her decision to celebrate her rebellious spirit by founding Trouble Global, following a run of unsuccessful job interviews

Published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 11
Barry’s epiphany changed her life and work / photo: EMMA BARRY / STARLAFORTUNATO
Barry’s epiphany changed her life and work / photo: EMMA BARRY / STARLAFORTUNATO
Get the skills to ensure your mouthing-off causes minimal damage to others

Being fully myself has sometimes led me into trouble – in fact I’ve been in a little bit of trouble my whole career. I’m just not built to sit neatly inside a corporate box – unless it’s at the football.

Although I’ve been celebrated, rewarded and backed, I’ve also been fired, passed over, ignored, publicly berated, screamed at and blamed. My teams have been bullied, I’ve had great plans binned and had moments of feeling isolated and unsupported.

When I look back through my career, it’s clear I can stay on the straight and narrow for a while, but then I invariably get into trouble: speaking out when it wasn’t welcome, or not playing the best political game.

I’ve always been fearless, but haven’t always thought through the ramifications of this, so my fearlessness has been both a conduit to self-actualisation and my undoing.

I think fast on my feet, which can send others into a spin and be seen as aggressive. One fabulous colleague who was instrumental in helping shape people and culture at Les Mills, summed it up, saying: “you think things can be done twice as fast as they can and by the time everyone has caught up, you’re bored and have moved on.”

Confronting failure
All this culminated this year when I was interviewed for three amazing roles with brands we all know and love. It wasn’t to be, as all three organisations opted to restructure instead, but what was even more interesting was waking up the next day with no thoughts of any of them, at which point I identified myself as “unemployable”.

It wasn’t a negative experience, it just reaffirmed what I’ve really known for a while.

In the wake of that revelation I realised I couldn’t be at someone else’s bidding and closed the door on that once and for all. Rang my mentor and we did a six-hour strategy session about my next steps. She introduced me to my new business manager, who demanded I embrace my authenticity rather than apologise for it and eight weeks later had rebranded me as Trouble Global.

Firing on all cylinders
I’ve always been myself, but now I’m really firing all cylinders. I’ve given myself permission to go all-out and instead of trimming and tucking myself around the edges to fit other agendas, I’m fully myself and ready to raise a ruckus.

I’m working within a team that does certain aspects of my job way better than I do. For example, I’m great at starting a conversation, turning up and doing the magic, but not ideally suited to detail and consistency. Now my project work is vetted by my business team – they keep me on-point and no idea is too big for them.

In 2024 I’m booked to do speaking and high-level workshops, have interesting projects in the UK, United Emirates and America and am launching a podcast called The Trouble Show which is part interview, part therapy, part shit-show. I’ve got my first season of guests lined up: troublemakers who have a healthy disregard for the status quo.

A new path
I believe all my experiences have led me to where I am now – my own badass boss. My career to date has given me the reputation as a tree-shaker, rule-breaker and troublemaker, as well as the balls to bust into rooms I have no right to be in, as well as attracting me to the right kind of people to work with. It’s gifted me the freedom to be geographically free and think critically without constraint.

If I could give young Emma some advice it would be to know thyself and invite complementary knights to the round table soon. Get the necessary skills to ensure your mouthing-off causes minimum damage to others.

Also to harvest feedback from others more comprehensively and transfer it to future behaviours. Align with self, goals and those you serve. Have an insatiable desire to do better. Stay inextricably linked to your raison d’être. Throw the perfection paradigm out of the window and replace it with a healthy obsession with progress.

Now, rather than apologising for myself, I’m accepting this is who I am – part Haka, part Xena Warrior Princess and part “can we please just effing get on with it?”

Barry is now the ‘badass boss’ of her own consultancy / photo: EMMA BARRY / STARLAFORTUNATO
Barry is now the ‘badass boss’ of her own consultancy / photo: EMMA BARRY / STARLAFORTUNATO
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2023/222203_841099.jpg
A life epiphany led Barry to celebrate her rebellious spirit, rather than seeking to tame it, by launching a new consultancy, Trouble Global and a podcast that will be ‘part interview, part therapy, part shitshow’
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Kerzner International has ushered in a new era of wellness-centric hospitality and unveiled its highly-anticipated ...
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As Planet Fitness announces strong year-end results there are reports the company is planning a ...
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“2024 is going to the be biggest year for Gymshark ever,” says CEO and founder, ...
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Featured supplier news: seca TRU: Medical values for medical fitness
Developed for the world of medicine, tailored to the needs of modern fitness studios. The seca TRU seamlessly provides medical expertise for health-focused training with a clinically validated body composition analysis meeting the health and fitness industry's evolving demands.
Company profiles
Company profile: GANTNER
GANTNER optimizes and simplifies the organisation of fitness clubs....
Company profiles
Company profile: Proinsight Mystery Shopping
We take time at the outset to understand your unique customer journey. Then we work ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Balanced Body press release: Celebrity favourite, Exhale Pilates, partners with Contrology® to pioneer classical pilates at new London site
Award-winning classical Pilates studio, Exhale Pilates, has opened a new site in the heart of Marylebone, London, furnished with Contrology® apparatus from Balanced Body, global provider of Pilates equipment and education with a trading history spanning more than 45 years.
Featured press releases
Greenwich Leisure Limited press release: GLL and Pickleball England launch leap year taster day
As part of a partnership with Better, the charitable social enterprise that operates leisure centres across the UK, Pickleball England has announced that they will be offering free pickleball taster sessions this February 29th, as part of a nationwide campaign to encourage the public to get active on the extra day of the year.
Directory
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
Spa software
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Salt therapy products
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Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
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Diary dates
11-14 Apr 2024
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
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Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
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