In 2009, Geri McNiece turned her new-found passion for hula hooping into a business. She’s trained over 1,000 clients at her Texas-based company aRoundJoy. She offers handmade custom hoops, in-person training sessions and online coaching to her long-distance clients. Geri’s mission is to help women learn to move the FUN way.

Learn more about Geri.

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FULL TRANSCRIPT: 

Passionistas: Hi and welcome to the Passionistas Project Podcast. We're Amy andNancy Harrington, and today we're talking with Geri McNiece. In 2009, Jerry turned her new-found passion for hula hooping into a business. She's trained over a thousand clients at her Texas-based company around joy. She offers handmade custom hoops, in person training sessions and online coaching to her long distance clients. Geri's mission is to help women learn to move the fun way. So please welcome to the show Geri McNiece.

Geri: Nice to be here.

Passionistas: So Geri, what's the one thing you're most passionate about?

Geri: Well, my goodness, I actually have been thinking along these lines the last few days knowing that I was going to talk to you and I would say I am most passionate about getting women to move as if they were a younger child. Go back to play and move, like you just don't have an agenda, but to really enjoy and embrace their inner child. And they'd be surprised if they did that. How much joy it really feels like.

Passionistas: Tell us about how that translates into your business.

Geri: Every time I work with a new client, there's either a couple of different ways it can go. It can either be someone who is totally kind of in a zone that they haven't experienced in many, many, many years and they've almost forgotten how to kind of let their guard down and let go. Or I'm working with somebody who is just all about it because they are on this journey themselves of having more fun. They are just jumping in with both feet. So it's either one or the other really usually. And most of the time, unfortunately it's the first one. I'm trying to just let them let go and just experience the moment. And that's hard for a lot of us these days because we're always so attached to digital devices and all of the things that we didn't do when we were kids. When you're a child you explore and you just play for the sake of playing and you're so in the moment. That's what I'm trying to get women to do is to just, you know, let go, leave everything at the door or you know, in this case maybe before you enter my backyard or just let's, let's have a good time and learn how to play because kids do it instinctively.

But playing with a hoop is just that. If you just let yourself play, forget that you're trying to lose weight, forget that you're trying to trim your waist, forget the exercise part of it. It's there. You just have fun with it and let yourself just go. You know what I mean? That's how it translates and I'm so passionate about it because I see at work time and time again.

Passionistas: Tell us a little bit about your life before hooping. What did you do for a living and what was your home life like?

Geri: I was raised as almost an only child because my mom and dad had me after. My sisters were like, you know, 10 11 years older than me. So that was a surprise and I was kinda like the Apple of their eye. My sisters, I was their doll baby. As you can imagine, since I was little like that and they were older. I'm Italian and real into music and dance and so my sisters and I both grew up dancing, performing. I got a little bit more into it because I was kind of the only one at home. I just had a love for dance and performing and that stayed with me through high school. I was known as that girl. I was dancing, I was on drill team, I've taught, I did twirled Baton. I was just real into that kind of stuff. And then life happened. I was performing, I had a summer job in theater. And I thought my home was going to be on the stage personally, but it wasn't it and that's okay. Found a guy and got married and I left all that behind to become a wife and mom and I grew up watching my mother and father have a wonderful marriage. So I had aspirations that that was what I would do in life.

I didn't understand it at a younger age that you know, you really have to work hard to make a living and performance and all that and maybe you're not going to get that marriage and family life younger. You're going to have to do the whole career thing in the performing arts before you settle down. I felt more at home doing the home thing and the raising the family thing. I kind of liked it and I think a lot of that had to play into the fact that I lost both my parents by the time I was 24. So not having that cohesive family anymore. I think I longed for it and the performing became kind of backseat. I missed my daddy, I missed my mother, but I missed my daddy first and then that was, I met my husband about that time shortly after just having that solid rock in my life.

I think I longed for that. Because they were my world since my sisters were older and not having that, I realized the egocentric lifestyle sometime of the performers. You have to, you just all about you. Right. And I didn't really feel at home there anymore cause I didn't have family. I really like having a relationship with my husband and or well soon to be, I didn't know at the time, but as we decided we were going to get married and stuff, things just took a different turn for me so I became a wife and mom.

And I worked in banking. I was a bank teller and I loved opening new accounts. I was just a, you know, a worker bee. I didn't perform. I performed at my desk, let's just say that that got me through many years of work was performing at work. I could put on that hat of whatever I needed to be and it got me awards. I had high sales and all that kind of stuff in banking. but once I became a mom, that's when I noticed a shift to go back home again and so I quit working at some point after my second son was born. My boys are three years apart.

Then our whole world changed. When my oldest son went to kindergarten and the very first day of kindergarten the teacher said, 'Can we talk?' And I was like, sure. But I knew he was very hyperactive. That's what they called it, hyperactivity. That was just the word, the buzz thing. But at the same time, my other son was really polar opposite, very relaxed self-sooth and all that. And so I was a consumed mom. But the diagnosis of ADHD took over for my son, my oldest son, and then about, oh, I'd say within six months, maybe even less, the younger one was diagnosed with autism and he was three.

So then I was a mom of these two challenging boys that had these learning disabilities that were apparent, but then not apparent sometime because you know they can be hidden until you kind of see what the child's doing. So in school I was that mom. this took, you know, another 18 to 20 years of my life to navigate that through the schooling stuff. And so yeah, all this performing stuff was way on the back burner. Like, even though that my love of performing art, performing arts, and certainly dance, musicals and all that, everything was in me, but I couldn't do it because I was consumed with my family life. There was a point where I did a couple of shows for my 40th birthday. That's what I wanted to do, was audition. I got cast and had songs and lines and all this stuff.

And I was like, Oh my god. I was still working at the bank. So I mean, it was crazy. So I knew I loved it still. But then I realized after weeks of rehearsal in a six week run of a show, I was like, no, I can't do it. Geri can't do this anymore. I'm not 20 you know? And it was just real hard. But I still loved being out in the public. And I knew I had talent for something. Whether it was writing, because I started to write when my kids were older so that I could on blogs, mommy blogs. Remember when they first started and we were all stalking our children. That's what I did. And I shared stories and I loved doing that. And I said, there's something in me that I still need to get out there. It's something creative. But I didn't know quite what.

I just, I dunno, I kept it, I kept dipping my toe in the writing, which seemed to be the place that I really enjoyed it cause I could do it at home and reflect on my performing and find other theater nerds and dancers. And we talked on, it was just so fun. But at some point, trying to think when it was, I guess my son was a senior, the youngest. Okay. And there's a whole lot of drama that went on with my older son. But anyway, the younger one, since he had autism, I'm really getting into the blogging about that and watching his journey and his senior year was really tough because he was older, but he was still kind of juvenile because he has the autism and I just documented everything. And at some point I called my blog, I talked about how he was joyful all the time.

And I said, I wish I could have his joy, his joy that he needs to be bottled. He's so happy all the time. He's so innocent and he's got a world out there he's getting fixing to have to navigate and of course we're going to help him do that. I use the word joy and I realized I was around joy every day because of him and so I changed my blog name to Around Joy. It was all focused about my son, I think it was the summer after he graduated. He was a very gifted percussionist. And he's a musically and he was, we were in band and all that high school band and so we were those band parents. We loved doing the whole drum line thing cause he was not only in band but he was in drum line, which is another subsection. It just consumes your life.

Well we followed Drum Corps International and drum corner nationals. Just such a fun thing to follow all summer long as the cores go all over the country. But a lot of them are based out of California. And we got tickets for Christmas that summer before to go to Pasadena for the Drum Corps International finals. And it wasn't until like the summer following. And so we were all excited about that. And of course I was loving it because they, what did they do in the, in the bands they spin what flags and rifles. Right. I was all into that cause I used to be a baton twirler so I was really excited to go see these finals cause all the cores are so good.

And it was about a week before we were supposed to leave for California and I turned on "Good Morning America" and there was this lady in this hula hoop and she was hoping and she was spinning it on her hand above her head. And I was just like drawn in and I was like, Oh my gosh, that's the coolest thing I have ever seen. And I just wanted to do it. And this was before we had any kind of DVR, TiVo or anything. I just flipped it on. And that's the first thing that was on my television and I'm like watching it. And then it was like, well, okay, here's the commercial. And that was it. And I'm like, what the heck? What was that? What, what? What did they just put on my television? So I had to go to the computer and I looked it up and I found out that it was woman out of California and they had a company and they were doing this hoop stuff, this class or whatever, and they sold hoops online on their website. And found that out. So I just was like, okay, I want one of those.

I just ordered it. Like I didn't know what I was doing. But I ordered it and I said, where's it coming from? Oh no. Cause I didn't know where they were. I said, we're fixing to leave town in a week. And this was back before Amazon was real fast. You know what I mean? Like I was worried it was going to come and we weren't going to be there. And so I found out they're in California and I went, '"Oh no, they're not." And so I then I went further and sure enough, they weren't hike in Marina Del Ray, which is, I find out that's in California near where we were going to be in Newport Beach. And I was like, Oh my gosh, you don't even, Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. They even have classes. Oh, they don't have classes while we're there. Oh, I can book an appointment though for a private lesson.

I said, I'm going to do it. Do you know I sent her a contact. Within 30 minutes she's calling me and it was, this is the woman I just saw on the TV. She's calling me and I'm like, there is a God, you know, like Oh my God, he's listening to my prayer. And she goes, well sure, why don't you just call me when you get into town and we'll set up a time. And I said, okay, would Monday work? I was like, yeah, because I knew that we would be done by Monday cause the thing was on Saturday, we had a day to kind of look around and then I could have him drop me off. I'm not even thinking straight y'all like what's my husband going to say? I didn't care. I just knew I wanted to spend that hoop.

Sure enough, I didn't tell him. I didn't tell him. I knew all this time. I told my girlfriend, I said, I'm going to take this hula hoop lesson when we get to California. And she was like, you're going to what? I said, look at this girl. And I showed her the girl on the website, she's like, Jesus, Geri, she doesn't have any clothes on. I was like, but look, look at her arms. They are like rocking, you know, like look at those arms on that girl. So I said, I want to be like that. She goes, Geri, that girl's got to be 30 and I was like, I don't care. I said, look. So I mean I was just all the things, nobody, I wouldn't listen to anybody, all the excuses. I'm like, I'm going to do it. So we get there and had a great time and went to the Rose Bowl, saw the thing. And all this time I'm watching all the spinning going on.

And do you know even that time I hadn't even had a hoop yet. Even that day at the finals, I'm watching every single guard, every single rifle, what do they call it? Flag Corps, Color Guard, whatever you call him. I was watching going, I'd put a hoop right there. Like I would put a hoop in that segment. It would look so good. Everything is circular. And I guarantee after you get off the phone with me and you start watching performances of bands and you start watching performances of dancing and things, they show you the rocket. Everything's circular. You know, I'm like, I'll put a hoop in the middle of that, get that girl doing that hoop. I'm always thinking that way when I watch performances. So anyway, we're at the hotel and we're getting ready at our stuff and I said, Hey, tomorrow you and Kyle, cause we were just with Kyle. Cause Kevin, my other son lives in California at this point.

He lived in San Diego for years. He went off on his own skateboarder or the whole story. Anyway, he was out there. So we were visiting with Kevin a lot and California. So since we ever go in there for the band thing, we said we're going to drive down and pick you up and bring you back and take you with us to the thing. So we drove down to San Diego, got him for the weekend and so my son was there, my other son too, but I said, we're going to tight cKyleback to some San Diego. Come back up here then tomorrow I need y'all to drop me off for my souvenir. And he went, what? I broke the news while we're on the highway and he goes, what? And I said, it's a lesson, a dance lesson. I couldn't get the word out hula-hoop y'all. I just couldn't do it because what do you mean a dance lesson.

Like a, what kind of dance? I said, it's just a dance with like a prop, I guess a couple dance. What are you doing? And I was like, no, it's, it's, it's a big hula hoop. And my sons were in the back seat going, what? They were just laughing their butts off and I said, y'all don't give me a hard time. This is really something I really want to do. He goes, well, what are we going to do, Geri, for two hours or whatever, and I said, just go walk around Venice Beach. So I went, they dropped me off. I said, I'm not going to get another souvenir. I said, I wouldn't want anything. This private lesson is all I want. I was horrible, like I was terrible. The one thing I could do are the two moves that were in the hands. It just felt so natural to me to spin something in my fingers and my hands or whatever, and she says, you're really good at that.

She goes, you know, you have to work on the waist taping low. I said, Oh, well that, but you know what? I said, women back home, they don't know about this, and she goes, well then it's your job to tell him. And I was like, God damn sure will. I said, this just feels amazing. She goes, are you going to pick it back up if you drop it? I said, heck yeah. I said I was shy. I was the poster child for what I wish every client would be for me. But again, I am also the poster child for somebody that could not spin that hoop on her body to save her life. And I went home with the knowledge that I suck. But I was good at a couple of things. Okay. And I loved it, I really loved it, but I was embarrassed. I still have the pictures and every so often, like on the anniversary of my very first lesson, I'll pull out the pictures.

My hand, I'm in the car, we're driving up the coast. This is, we took this nice long draw of a PCH and I just like was sitting in the car thinking how much I loved it, texted my girlfriend, but I'm taking a picture and sending it to her of my hand was bruised because I'd let this hope spin on it. That's the only thing I can do. And I said, but that is a love kiss right there. And it didn't last very long. But I mean, I had all this jewelry on my bruises across the back of my hand. She's like, are you nuts? You love it and it, and it hurt your body. I said, it doesn't hurt girl. I said, it was amazing. So anyway, when I got back home, I was telling her all about it and my husband was just like rolling his eyes every time I use it. He just said, he goes, what is this hoop shit?

You know? He was just joking with me about it all the time. And anyway, I didn't have my hope for another few days. I had him hold it until I got back and then they sent it and I would never practice in front of my husband. I would go in my backyard. And I sucked. Like I couldn't do it. And I was, Oh, it made me so sad. But I did the two things that really made me sing, you know, that was good that I could do. And I kept trying to get my girlfriend to do it. I kept trying to get her to do it and she kept saying no and she thought I was nuts. And so I had a lonely hoop journey for several months. Like nobody would believe me. They just thought I was all crazy and for that very reason I was the girl that put the hoop in the hallway and it sat there and the one saving grace I always said was like, Oh well at least it's not a treadmill.

I can't drape my clothes on it. Towel will fall right off that sucker. But it propped in the, you know, in the hallway and he passed it in the hallway. He goes, do you ever do that? I said, uh huh. I do it when you're not home. He goes, why do you do it when I'm not home? Like he knew like I was gonna say, cause I suck and I don't want you to make fun of me. I said, because I'm creating something. When I'm ready for you to see me, I will let you know.

Passionistas: We're Amy and Nancy Harrington and you're listening to the Passionistas Project Podcast and our interview with Geri McNiece. To learn more about her custom hoops and training sessions, visit aRoundJoy.com. Now here's more of our interview with Geri and what happened next on her journey to turn her passion for hula hooping into a business.

Geri: I let this lady in California think that I was so in love with it and I was going to really start teaching it at some point like I was going to do it. And she goes, well, when we're ready to start training teachers, you're going to be one of the first people I call. Cause you seem like you're really into it. And I'm like, Oh, I am. You know? Needless to say, I didn't hear from her for a while, so I wasn't practicing. Well when she was ready to come to town because she was coming to Texas, who's one of the first people she calls? Me. And I'm like, uh yeah, I'd love to come to your workshop and it's going to be next week and I'm going to be at this place. And I'm like, Holy crap, I only can do two things. Oh my God.

And so then I brushed up in a week, man. When you got fire under your butt, you will do that thing. When did I push the envelope, see that's what I need. I need people to push that envelope under my butt. Put that fire under me. I learned a couple more things cause she had DVDs in the box. Right. So I learned a couple more things and I got one girl I called, I even did a Facebook, I'll never forget it. I was new on Facebook. Did a Facebook invite. Couldn't get one person to go to this class with me. I didn't want to go by myself but I, and ultimately I took one girl and she had fun but I mean she wasn't into it like me. But after that was over, she told me the instructor, she's like, we have a home program he did to learn this, do it.

I'll give you a $50 coupon off for whatever. I forget what it was but sign me up man. That day I was like, okay, cause I saw what she did in class and I actually left that workshop class doing something more than I could do when I didn't have her in front of my eyeballs. And that is another thing that I learned. It helps to have instruction of somebody in front of you, like you can learn a lot online, but when you've got a person in your back pocket, that's your mentor one-on-one. That's what made the difference for me in the beginning. And that's why I do what I do today because it goes back to my roots. I didn't ever think that I would get to the level that I got at just by myself, like at home, because I'm not that person that has that discipline to just do, to do, at least I didn't think I was.

But I have somebody guiding me and they gave me the tools, just you know, the the information I needed. And then I just zoned in on that one thing that for the first time in my life I said, I'm going to do it. I did it. And look what I did. I mean, I even ended up starting a business. It was just like the first time I'd ever done that in my life. Other than raising my boys because getting through the whole, you know, life, raising an ADHD and an autistic son and having my sanity, that's my greatest accomplishment. For me personally, the growth that it took to start with being sucking. The level of suckage, I just can't even tell you how bad I was when I first picked up a hoop to look at me today. People think I've been doing it all my life.

No, it was such a personal journey and to do it with the intention that I'm going to teach it someday was the way that it made it palatable for me. And so just getting to that point, I'm like, okay, now I'm ready to teach. I took four months I think to learn it and I had one girlfriend who believed in me and she is the one that pushed the envelope for me here. Like she would say, did you make a video today? Okay, to learn to teach this. I had to make a video of myself teaching every single move, like 20, 30 I don't know. It was a lot of moves. Like I'm teaching to the camera, like you're my student, which you know, okay, my performance background fine. That that helped me because I wasn't shy in front of a camera. It didn't bother me.

But just to know that there were some moves, I couldn't do that well, but I had to say, if I am still working on this move, I have not mastered it yet. But here is some points to think about when you're learning this move. And so I would have to memorize, you know, like a script almost. It becomes your vernacular. So you take a bare bones of what the key points are of a, of a move and then you teach it, but you make it into your own speak. And that was the challenge too for me because I wanted it to feel, I didn't want to repeat something rote memory. It needed to be authentic to me and authentic. I'm from Texas, y'all, I'm not. You know what I mean? I'm going to talk and way I talk. But yeah, after getting to a point where I felt like solid, I ended up making the complete, and this is, you know, you're putting it on a VHS tape.

Okay. Like we're talking a long time ago and putting it all together and sending it off to be critically judged and do you pass or not? And I passed with flying colors and they wanted me to become a master trainer and I'm like, Holy crap. And so then I worked for them for a while and it didn't really have my own business, but I have my own name, which guess what? That was aRoundJoy. Now let me preface, I did not start this with a hoop in my hand around joy, but yet I had that night. Is that not a God wink? Come on now and the beautiful name and it has to do with a lot more than hooping. So for me it's personal and the hoop brings me joy. But a lot of other things do, too. It's a beautiful journey. I've been on with this hoop.

Every single job I've ever had in my life, which I've been a waitress a lot. I worked in banking, worked in sales and a clothing stores, good lord, several retail jobs, but all the customer service training. I've had really set me up to be a business person, which I had no clue. And I opened business accounts for other people all those years in banking. So I knew a little bit about the legal part of documents, things that you needed for business. But yeah, I realized every person I'd ever met on my journey was important to my business because I had to start networking to publicize what I was doing. And you don't know who you're going to meet every day in life or why you meet them and then later on you look back and go, Oh, that person. It's good to know. You know? It's been really, really interesting.

Passionistas: So talk about that part of the journey. You decided you liked it. You decided you wanted to be an instructor. You had so many people pushing back against you when you wanted to do it personally. How did you convince strangers to jump in and start hooping?

Geri: Okay. My one girlfriend who believed in me. If it wasn't for her, I just don't know if I ever would've gotten this thing off the ground because she had such confidence in me. She's the one that came up with the idea of let me talk to my dad. He's got some warehouse space and I was like, he does. I didn't even know that. And she said, this is where you need to teach it Geri, cause you can't walk into anywhere and get anybody to believe you. You got to look legit. You know? And he was a business owner and she worked for him. You know what I mean? Small businessman.

If you can convince my father that you could get some people, you know, you got to have some classes to get people, give them free, give them away free. You know what I mean? But I have to have place to do it. I thought I did and I'm glad I did it that way. But yeah, I ended up getting a warehouse and then go into every dang festival. Like go get a booth at some place and you pay for a little tent and you sit under it and you give people your business card or you, you say, come on and you just stand up there, here, put this hoop on. And they're like, no, no, no, no, no. I was like, Oh no, no, you've never worked with me. Come on now let's do this. And I had to go out and do that.

Oh lord have mercy. The first three years is just like, come on and take a class here. It's a $5 class. I gave it away. Like you don't even pay it. Just come take it. So it wasn't like this was a huge moneymaker, but I had really cheap rent because I got the daughter discount over there with dad. That's how this whole thing started was on. This is like on shoestring budget. But yet my husband, who he knows I could sell ice to an Eskimo. He's always believed in me as far as when I was working and he saw what kind of awards I got in sales and he goes, and this is even better Geri, cause I know you really believe in it and I've seen what it does to your body. You have a new spring in your step. He just saw how it changed me and he knew I was passionate about this.

We've been together 35 years. He knows if mama ain't happy, nobody's happy. He's a giver. He treats me like a queen. I wouldn't be anywhere without him either. He invested in this. In time and money and he's very handy and built out everything. And the warehouse was adorable. We built it out, didn't spend a lot of money but more than I'd really ever planned on. But you know, having the legitimacy of I'm doing this, like there's this crazy woman who's 40 something years old. If she says I can do it, well I think I'll go to her class, not going to cost me anything. Or I met her on the street, or I'd go to all the music festivals here in town.

Best thing ever that happened while I was just getting this off the ground as there's a wonderful Levitt foundation. We got Levitt pavilion here in Arlington and then another out in California. There's like four or five of them in the country, but it's a wonderful nonprofit that brings music to the community. So we got a Levitt Pavilion where they bring music, concerts, free concerts to the community, and there you go. Uh, what am I going to do? I'm bringing my hoop. Brought my hoop, and would dance to the music and get women to come try it and then hand them my business card and they would come and I would teach classes. That's how I ended up getting people, was really going out in the community. Very grassroots, very grassroots.

Passionistas: So how has hooping changed your life — physically and beyond? Physically?

Geri: It's definitely kept me feeling younger. It centers me, it calms me. It's the one thing that I can do. I never say no. You know how if you go to exercise you're like, I really don't feel like going to exercise. I really just don't feel like it, but I know I need to. I never say that with a hoop. It's like I just, I want to go feel better, give me that thing. I've got to go. It just loosens me up. I don't know about you guys, but when I wake up I have a hitch in my get along or when I get up out of a chair. Do you ever go, I got a hitch in my get along. It's like my hip kind of. Oh goodness. That does not go away, ladies. Okay. Like just cause I hope it's not a magic pill where I don't ache anymore, but if I start moving with my hoop, I don't ache anymore. It's just like taking medicine to me, but it's also allowed me to meet wonderful women all these years. It's 10 years this year. This November was 10 years that I started my business, so for 10 years I've gotten to meet amazing women and done some amazing, crazy things.

I've been in parades. And it's really brought me just a lot of happiness and I think that's the key, right? To just make it every day worth getting up. I'm just happier doing it.

Passionistas: What advice would you give to a woman who wants to start hooping but might be a little apprehensive about it?

Geri: Just give it a try. You don't know because you probably not tried with the right size hoop and you've certainly not tried with, I bet with any instruction because that's just it. You have to know what you're doing. You have to have somebody talk you through it because just watching videos on the YouTube, that's not enough because that's not your body on that screen. That's that person. You've got somebody to go well with your size. Okay. I'm going to give you a couple of things to think about. All right.

It's a lot of visualization in your head and if you don't have somebody talking to you through that, you're not going to get in that right place. Now, if you've had experience. As a child, hooping as a young girl, it comes back relatively quick, but your body is not the same size as when you were that little girl is it? So you may have to move your body a little bit differently now. And that's where I come into because I can go get girl, sister, you got it, look, Oh, I can see it. But here's what I want you to try now because you're going to hurt yourself doing what you're doing right now. So stop, because that is the thing too, is like women of a certain age, let's just say that this hooping looks fun and it is, and it's all the, all the things that you think it is.

As far as the, the lightness of it, you know, it's like, Oh, it makes you feel like a kid again. But our bodies, we have to respect the fact that they're, you know, 40 and 50 and 60 years old. We've got to do things smart with a hoop or you could hurt yourself. That's where you get the bad. Like, Oh, that hurt my back, that hurt my shoulder, or whatever you were doing. You know, you've got to know your limitations and if you have limitations, there's still something you can do with the hoop. It's the best thing ever for therapeutic movement, dynamic stretching like no other. You just go, but you got to let yourself go and go out there and play with it and so get out of your own head. Stop your inner dialogue. Think about it. You didn't have that when you were a little kid. You just did it.

Life has a way of beaten us down and life experience teaches us sometimes we're less than and we don't deserve that. This is what the hoop should remind you of. That's a toy. It's much more than that, but you know it's a toy. It's fun. Let yourself go there. That's where your joy is.

Passionistas: When you, as you say, get a hitch in your get along and you're not feeling motivated, how do you get out of that funk?

Geri: I let myself have a day just be that blivet, you know, just be that. I love that word. Blivet. That's a family word, by the way. We say that a lot when we're having a day like that. I'm just going to believe it today. Okay. And then I get up and I get in my hope. I know it sounds trite and silly, but it's just, it's a physical reminder of good, this is good. There's not one damn bad thing about that hoop and it has a way of just working its magic on you, making you feel a little bit better. Just, I mean, I'm just holding it in my hand. I'm not even spinning it on my body. I'm just kinda like, you know, just like moving my shoulders a little bit, holding my hoop above head, starting to gently move my body because in movement there is healing. It really is just gotta move and no big ostentatious movement. I'm not having to get up myself up and put a bunch of clothes on and go to the gym or go make some massive amount of change to get myself out of the funk. I just got to pick up my hoop, make a little bit of gentle movement, and if that's all I do that day, that's okay. But I know the movement helps me get out of my head. Okay? So it's just a little bit of extra movement and some days I don't feel like doing a lot, but I make myself do a little bit and then I lay back down.

Passionistas: What advice would you give to a young woman who wants to follow a unique passion like you have?

Geri: Do it. God puts that idea in you for a reason. I truly believe you're not going to think of something randomly for no reason at all. You're just not. You're not going to have a passion for something without a reason. It may be something that you do on the side, which is how this started for me. I said, you know, this could help me get in shape because Lord knows I have all these years. I wish I would have found the hoop when I had my boys, Jesus. Oh, but I didn't. But it fulfilled a passions in me. Right? I love to dance and sing, but of course the singing is out there. But I mean I love to perform to music, love to dance to music. But I also, you know, had a passion for keeping myself healthier cause I lost both of my parents so early.

Right? So I want to keep myself active and I just couldn't get into anything and I had a passion for this. It's so different than a traditional gym exercise, but it blended my passions and I had to, I had to to visit it. So at least visit it. Dip your toe in that passion, pursue it. I'll tell you what, if it's meant to be, doors are gonna open that you don't even, you didn't even try to get them to open. The things are just going to, it just happens. It happens. That's when you know you're on your path when you're just doing the thing and things just happen. Like you didn't even seek it out. It'll happen if it's supposed to.

Passionistas: Thanks for listening to The Passionistas Project Podcast and our interview with Geri McNiece. To learn more about her custom hoops and training sessions, visit aRoundJoy.com.

And please visit ThePassionistasProject.com to learn more about our subscription box filled with products made by women owned businesses and female artisans to inspire you to follow your passions. Sign up for our mailing list to get 10% off your first purchase. And be sure to subscribe to The Passionitas Project Podcast so you don't miss any of our upcoming inspiring guests.

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