Breathe Education Culture
If culture is the way of life for a group of people, then company culture is the way of work for a group of people. It is a company’s shared set of traditions, values, goals, attitudes and norms; whether written or unwritten.
We believe that every company should be as different and unique as every individual. Just as two individuals may or may not be compatible with one another, an individual and a company may or may not be compatible.
Breathe Education started as Breathe Wellbeing, a Pilates and yoga studio in Melbourne Australia co-founded in 2006 by Raphael Bender and 5 others.
The studio had a rocky start but ultimately prospered and when Raphael eventually sold his share of the business to his partners in January 2016, the studio business was generating $2.4M annual revenue and employed 42 people.
Breathe Education began as a subsidiary of the studio business, really just a side-hobby that supplied instructors for the Pilates studio.
In 2016 when Raphael sold his share in the studio, he and his wife Julie bought Breathe Education from the remaining partners. At this point Breathe Education was a tiny business doing in-person Pilates instructor training in Melbourne Australia.
Over the next 4 years the company expanded to deliver in-person training in 4 states of Australia. In 2020 at the start of the pandemic, Breathe Education took all our training online and we are now a fully remote company. We currently have staff in 4 countries and students in over a dozen countries as well as in many rural and remote areas.
Going fully online truly has democratized Pilates education and made it more accessible for a large number of people.
1. Our Mission
This is The Mission:
At Breathe Education we use science-based tools to help Pilates instructors become better, happier and more financially successful.
We use science because it is the most effective way known to humanity, to advance our knowledge of how the world works.
We help Pilates instructors become better by being more skilled and knowledgeable about anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, communication, critical thinking and pain science.
We help Pilates instructors become happier through building their confidence, increasing their impact for clients, and increasing their income.
By doing these things we enable Pilates instructors to help their clients more joyfully and more effectively, increasing the fitness, health, longevity and happiness of a very large number of people.
In helping Pilates instructors become more financially successful we raise their standard of living, allow them to pay better wages and provide better service for their clients. We enable them to feel proud and legitimate and we equip them with essential business skills to thrive financially for a lifetime.
We believe that in these ways, through Pilates, science and entrepreneurship we make the world a better place.
2. The Mission is core to our culture
A mission statement creates the core identity of a company. It encourages unity among the team and informs fast and easy decentralized decision making, which is critical to our business success.
Pilates, science and entrepreneurship are at the core of The Mission.
Science is the most effective tool known to humanity to progress our understanding of empirical questions about how the world works.
Freedom of speech, civil discourse and open inquiry are crucial for science and the progress of ideas. We must be able to discuss and debate ideas, if we are to replace them with better ideas.
Entrepreneurship is the process of setting up a business, and taking risks to achieve financial and personal growth. Through entrepreneurship we will make the world a better place by raising people’s standards of living, and helping them create better products and services that deliver more happiness and better results to their clients.
Entrepreneurship is a journey of personal growth. A business can never outgrow the owner’s limiting beliefs.
Although we’re mindful of things like profits, client feedback and enjoying our time at work, our unwavering north star and ultimate goal is always The Mission. It underpins who we are, what we think, what we build, and all key decisions we make. Thus every Breathe team member believes in The Mission.
3. Our values
Our values help guide us in decisions on how we do the work.
Remove the biggest constraint
- Define the outcome
- Triple thankyou
- Biggest obstacle x 3
- Use data
- Today not end of week
- Aggressive over passive mistakes
- Over-communicate your intent
Make it happen
- Improvise, adapt, overcome
- Be sincerely candid
- Strive for excellence
- Build Success Paths for everything
- Eliminate obstacles
- Remove the inessential
Our basic principles for communicating:
For diverse people to flourish in a free society there must be toleration and goodwill towards others with different views, and that each person should be treated as an individual without regard to their skin color, ethnic background, disability status, religion, politics, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Every individual should have the freedom to pursue their own version of the good life, to think, and speak, and act as they wish, and to associate with whoever they want to; as long as they do not harm others in the process.
We define harm as physical or financial harm; we do not consider “hurt feelings” to be harm.
We value truth over political correctness. We are pushing the envelope in the Pilates world and while it is not our goal to offend people, we recognize that it’s inevitable in a global organization that is optimizing for impact.
The ideal Breathe team member is thick skinned, well intentioned, and assumes good intent in others.
- We communicate in English
- We give each other the benefit of the doubt
- Everyone is responsible for their own feelings
- We use specific rather than general language e.g., we say “Your email dated X with the subject Y” instead of “the email”
- We use scientifically accurate terminology rather than politically correct terminology
- Being offended doesn’t necessarily make someone right
- Being offended doesn’t necessarily make someone “harmed”
- Neither words nor silence are “violence”
- We say why we disagree and calmly challenge ideas with logic, reason and better ideas.
- We bring data, and we request others to bring data
- We do not call someone’s words toxic, hateful, racist, x-phobic, problematic etc.
- We assume ignorance before we assume malice
- We always work to de-escalate a discussion that becomes emotional
- We try to resolve personal disputes 1:1, ideally over a video or phone call vs chat
- We are optimistic, proactive, solution and future-focussed
- We encourage each other to stay out of the weeds and use high impact communication