Being Flexible: An interview with Sasha Yasinski

16 Sep

How are you at being flexible? Maybe it’s easier during the ‘downtime’ of  your year (if that actually exists) but what about in the middle of the rush season, as you are jumping hurdles and overcoming challenges? A leader often shows her stuff during these periods of activity, and so we’re interviewing an entrepreneurial young woman this week, Sasha Yasinski, who knows what it’s like to be in the thick of your busy season and need to stay flexible.

I met Sasha at a fair this past year. My partner and I were just about to throw a huge party, and we needed to hire a lifeguard for the event. (Yes, it was that huge.) Upon setting eyes on Sasha at the fair, I just had a little niggle of intuition. Going up I asked if she was a lifeguard, to which she replied yes! And that is how I met this young entrepreneur!

But Sasha is more than just a lifeguard. She’s founder, manager and teacher within her own business, Aqua Academy, which was launched in 2011 after Sasha received a Summer Company Grant from Invest Ottawa (then known as OCRI). From this grant she received funds as well as classes on how to establish a small business – and therefore took her education in Commercial Recreation and Tourism, and turned it into Aqua Academy, a school for swimming. Since that time in 2011, Sasha has been getting rave reviews from parents and kids alike, and her numbers are growing with each season.

So why does flexibility matter? Well, if you have trouble being flexible, you may have trouble shifting your strategies and priorities when you need to, which can build up huge amounts of stress. To be flexible is to adjust your emotions, thoughts, and behaviour as situations and conditions change.

Let’s see how Sasha has reacted to change in her latest, and most successful season of Aqua Academy – these answers come from an email exchange and are slightly edited for length and grammar.

Sasha, how do you successfully manage change in an environment where people are hesitant to depart with their old ways of doing things?

Sasha: [Keep a] positive attitude, make slight changes and incorporate some old habits shortly, justify the changes that are controlled by me, try out different organizational methods and use what works. Be inspired and inspire others.

Do you prefer your work to be predictable and stable, or do you enjoy conditions that require you to change what you do?

Sasha: I like to have a routine so that I can complete what daily tasks need to be done, but I don’t structure my day to the point where I’m always doing the same thing each day, hour by hour.  I like to have some days that are slow moving and others where I hunker down for a few solid hours to get some serious work done.  But the most important part of my business is to interact with the families and create relationships with both the parents and the children.  It is important for my instructors to do the same.  So I like to spend some days chatting with them and getting to know their experience with swimming.

If I compare this summer to the last two summers I operated Aqua Academy, there has been lots of change.  I am now more efficient and can accommodate for more clientele.

Can you describe a time where you have to adjust quickly to changes in your environment. What was your process for changing your behaviour/tasks?

Sasha: I had a challenging month in June however, because three of my five staff quit unexpectedly.  This was “unpredictable” and at the time I was frustrated and stressed because my business really requires staff that I can rely on.  Now that I have had some time to reflect, I am thankful it occurred at the beginning of the summer.  I have also found three great instructors to commit to the rest of the summer who are very reliable.  I’ve learned a lot from this experience when it comes to managing my staff.

I adjusted to this quickly by preparing myself mentally for a busy day at work every day. I had to let go of some other commitments and really focus on my business. I jumped in the water to teach as well as completed the administrative tasks that needed to get done.  I learned to adjust to a busier day and have been more efficient because of it!

Can you give us an example of when you found it difficult to adjust to a change in your career/studies. What emotions were you feeling?

Sasha: This summer is the perfect example of my business changing.  I hired on twice the number of staff from last summer to assist in teaching about forty children per day compared to 18-20 last summer.  I am managing more staff, more money and more clientele on my own.  The business grew exponentially and I wasn’t necessarily prepared for it.  During the last two summers, I was able to complete registration on my own, interact with families, and teach too!  This summer I realized I needed some help doing so, so I have hired on an admin assistant and instructor to give me a hand. She presents great new ideas for how to make things better every day!


A HUGE thanks to Sasha for answering our questions, and being such a bright spark amongst women entrepreneurs. We wishing you a nice time of recovery following your very busy season. If you’re in Ottawa and considering swimming lessons for your kids, check out Sasha’s business!

There are time when being flexible requires knowing what is, and what isn’t in your control – this taps into how you perceive your reality, and so today’s exercise focuses on something called the ‘Circle of Reality’. This basically looks at three general ideas:

  • What you know you know
  • What you know you don’t know


  • What you don’t know you don’t know

We break it down into further explanations in the resource PDF you can access by clicking here. Go ahead and learn more about these general states, as well as your Zone of Choice and Green Dot Moments.

And until next week, keep well!

Take care,


Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.

Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: