Blogs | The hardest time of my life

By Briana | May 6th 2015

The hardest time of my life


When I started my first spa at 23 I was too young to be worried about failing. I was so full of naive idealism. It was great. 

Then reality set in and I found I had a lot to learn or lose. I was not about to let my dream die and so I learned and tripped and picked myself up and continued. It hasn’t always been easy. In fact it’s still not easy. It’s not easy changing the world – I’m not sure it’s for the faint of heart or weak of will.  But I’m nothing if not persistent.

There was a time, almost two years ago now, when we thought we would lose everything that we’d built. We moved to Boulder without expectation of opening another spa right away, but then everything seemed to be falling in to place: perfect location, great manager, bank funding all set up. We decided to go for it and make it happen.

We had a contractor start and we were just waiting for the funding from the bank to be transferred when our loan fell through. Our contractor was more than half way done with the project, we had signed a ten year lease (that our bank required us to do in order to get the funding approved in the first place), and people wanted to get paid. I’ve never had so many people yell at me in such a short period of time. It was awful.

I literally met with every bank in Boulder, I called everyone I knew that could possibly lend us money, I visualized, I prayed, I cried. As we moved along trying to get funding it was looking more and more bleak, even our established businesses and commercial real estate was at stake now. Every ounce of strength I had was being exhausted just to keep moving forward. My brother called regularly to check in on me and once said, “What is the likely worst case scenario?” I told him, and he replied, “that’s really bad. I’m sorry Bri.”

Peter and I deal with stress very differently and it was a strain on our relationship to both be needing major support and not having a lot to give to the other besides deep empathy.

There were three things that got us through that time: community, healthy habits, and badass planning.

We did end up borrowing money from pretty much everyone that could loan a dime and then we ended up finding a local bank that would fund our spa. We spent time playing with our friends and family, even though we didn’t feel like we “could”, we knew we had to or we would lose the plot.

We ate healthy food, exercised, meditated, and got out in to nature – even though we felt like we had not time or “right” to do be doing so. If we hadn’t we wouldn’t have made it through I don’t think. Those things kept us sane.

And we planned, planned, planned in order to get what we needed to get done done: building the spa, dealing with contractors, finding a loan, getting bridge loans and agreements in place, taking care of our family, hiring and training a staff, decorating . . . the list felt endless, but we were able to do it because we had a plan for every day of what we needed to get done and we did it.

It was undoubtedly the hardest time of our lives. We look back on it now and still don’t laugh. Maybe someday?

However I learned that my health and happiness are essential for any amount of “success”. In fact I know that we would have quit if we hadn’t had the structure for maintaining those essential parts of our lives.


This kind of foundation is what we created in our Rituals for Living Dreambook+Planner, so that we can share with others the ability to not only get big dreams, but keep it together when things go awry. Life isn’t perfect – but you can plan for that. – Tweet it 

I wish you the most happiness, health, and success imaginable. Truly.