This Veterans’ Week we spoke to five Operation Entrepreneur boot camp alumni about their business, what inspires them and how the skills they built in the Canadian Armed Forces help them as entrepreneurs.
The past few months for Nicole Schur have been a whirlwind. After serving 26 years in the Canadian Armed Forces and retiring from the military in January 2020, she started Nicole Schur Yoga. The COVID-19 pandemic hit, and she was forced to close her studio. From there, her husband was posted to Belgium for work, they sold their house and moved overseas to start the next chapter of their lives.
However, a global pandemic and a life-changing move did little to slow the momentum of Nicole’s pursuit in creating her own yoga studio. She describes Nicole Schur Yoga as a studio that caters to the military community but is open to all. She, like many others, has adapted to deliver her courses online.
She believes that yoga can play an important role in supporting the military community, including military members, Veterans and their families. “There’s a real void there where yoga isn’t present and I think it can really help with a lot of the stressors in the military environment,” said Nicole.
The type of yoga Nicole practices, Forrest Yoga, stems from a place of “healing your body as a priority.” “It really works through emotions in your body and those are emotions that military people don’t often allow themselves the time to process, because it hurts,” said Nicole. “So, it’s a really interesting way of guiding them through that in a way that feels athletic and strong.”
With online classes, she’s reaching a wide range of audiences. She’s able to provide members of the military community with a consistent community and place to practice yoga, something that is difficult due to the frequent relocations required in a military career. “I love the way this is going online,” said Nicole, “because now I can serve a wider variety of different people.”
From moving during COVID-19 to transitioning her new business to online, Nicole says that resilience, what she describes as the ability to adapt, change and be resourceful amidst adversity, is “really coming into play in all facets of [her] life right now.”
“One of the big things is that as an officer in the military, you’re often told: go make something happen. You can choose your path, you can choose your resources but at the end it needs to look like this,” said Nicole. “You get into situations where you just don’t have all the resources you need to do your job.”
She says that resilience is fostered from day one in the military. While undergoing basic training, officers conduct tasks like setting up a secure operations site with limited resources, where they have to be crafty and think outside the box to make things work. Instead of being overwhelmed by a seemingly insurmountable task, Nicole says that the military has taught her how to create step-by-step plans to accomplish the mission.
“The last 13 months has been one big resilient drive, constantly being faced with challenges and having to just keep at it a little bit at a time,” said Nicole. “It’s not a perfect solution that I have right now, but I’m working towards something that at least serves a community that needs it.”
Nicole is driven to help others, including Veterans and their families, through her quality yoga classes and the resiliency she learned in the military is helping her do that. Nicole is settling into her life in Belgium where she’s working to increase her online presence to reach Canadians posted in remote European communities who might otherwise have difficulty finding community.
In September 2020, Nicole attended the Operation Entrepreneur business boot camp in collaboration with Dalhousie University and Memorial University. During the intensive training, she received virtual instruction from business school faculty, participated in online mentoring forums and networking events, received one-on-one coaching and worked on a plan to take her business to the next level.
For more information on Nicole Schur Yoga, visit facebook.com/nicoleschuryoga