Originally from Chicago, Kristine Iverson, owner and founder of CROW Practice, moved with her family to Orlando when she was in the second grade. Even though she now considers herself proud to be a happy resident of The City Beautiful, Iverson is a self described wanderer. Having spent many years traveling and seeking her true purpose, Kristine has traveled to over 30 countries. Although through it all, she never found her true passion. Fortunately, she never gave up on this pursuit, but also came to the realization that she didn't know exactly what she was searching for, so she began a personal journey of self discovery.
"I believe now that I was searching for CROW," she said. "CROW has become my Dharma. It gives my life a greater purpose and has become the outlet for my heart's passion in life, which is to help other’s break free from harmful life cycles through holistic mental and physical practices that inspire living in harmony. First practicing this art in myself, and experiencing the power of transition from suffering to success in areas of my own being, I have discovered the value of continual practice, experiencing continual growth of peace and harmony in myself. My passion has become to spread the art of healing and to inspire others to discover freedom and purpose. CROW Practice has become the vehicle I am honored to drive, fulfilling my life’s purpose as I hope to inspire others to find their life's purpose."
Iverson's previous job history is a check board of sorts. She spent time as a Corporate Trainer on NCL, Assistant Cruise Director with Celebrity, Florida State Director at United Way, Sales Manager at Rosen Shingle Creek, Program Manager at Hello Florida and Labor Manager at Christie Lites. She was the first Executive Director for a City of Orlando Mainstreet area, Mills 50 and also did contract work, corporate events and even worked as a Lyft driver at one point. A traditional mindset might be critical of Iverson's inconsistency and tendency to not stay anywhere longer than a year, but she has grown to see it differently.
"Through the journey, I didn't know that each of these “jobs” along my path was giving me bits and pieces of knowledge and practice, that one day would become useful tools in playing out my purpose today," she said. "I honestly believe that my hodge podge of work experiences have become true assets instead of failures, and this is all because of a choice, the choice we all have, the choice of perspective. By choosing to take my work history and practice positive application, I have been able to take what is often viewed as failure, and instead turn that into my tools for becoming successful in my life's passion. I think too often we let our past define us, instead of motivate us. However, it’s always a choice, and I choose to move forward. I choose my passion and drive. I choose to become who I am designed to be, as a way to inspire others."
Founded on January 1st, 2016, Iverson is going on two and a half years with CROW. It's the longest 'job' she's ever held and she's more passionate and grounded than ever. CROW is an acronym for Coordinated Response On Wellness. The CROW team is an accumulation of Wellness Educators (WE)'s who are certified in the top of their field in various styles of holistic health, including yoga and other fitness modalities. Every member of the CROW team has become part of the team because of their authentic desire and commitment to continuing education and practice in their respective fields. Collectively, they are excited about sharing their knowledge and experience with clients through several markets, including conventions spaces, corporations, government agencies and private sessions.
Even through CROW is a calling that represents Iverson's Dharma, it's still a business. No business, including CROW, is immune to challenges and financial pressures of turning a profit. After all, if the business doesn't make enough money to pay its bills, contractors, vendors, various other expenses, and still have enough leftover to reinvest into the business, it will no longer exist. What's unique about CROW, is how its founder, Iverson, approaches these challenges.
"Beyond the expected instability of a startup company, often simply trusting the process and allowing it to unfold has been a challenge," she said. "In the work of dharma, you do the external work, whatever it is and let go. Let go of the outcome. Do your best to prepare, plan, and implement, but do not be attached. What matters is your intention. You have no control over the outcome, but when you choose to do your part, you always have a positive influence on yourself and others... even if that impact was different than your original vision. During the first two years, I put in so much time, effort and energy that was misplaced. That's one of the things I have learned and adjusted in my perspective through continual practice. I was often expecting something external, a specific outcome, what I thought should happen. When I let go of the outcome, I began to receive from CROW much more than I expected. I began to experience something much more internal. Both on a financial and a personal level, CROW began to grow and change for beyond what my original vision could have imagined.
Specifically as an entrepreneur, I am often faced with two main types of challenges. One is assessing the situation from a business standpoint. Our most current challenge is that we’ve gone more wide than deep. We're spread over four different markets. That's okay for now, but we're undergoing the process of reassessment to see how we can bring this down to one or two main focal points. The other challenge, that has been with us from day one, is the continuous assessment of all working parts. Anyone that chooses the path of owning their own business is choosing to be faced with new struggles every day. I have learned the value of continuous assessment, and that there are no problems, only challenges... and challenges are simply the start of solutions. The hardest challenge of all, today, yesterday, and tomorrow, is remembering and realizing this continually. Each challenge we face is not a roadblock, it’s another opportunity for problem solving."
For Iverson, the CROW team is her greatest asset. She considers her team not only wellness educators, who assist with training and presentations, but also 'Feathered Friends', who both receive and offer support, connections, mentorship and friendship. They are only as strong as all of their working parts. Every single team member is essential to the whole operation of CROW, and everyone is valued for their strengths. According to Iverson, if they are all working in their Eustress (healthy stress) and playing to their own strengths, they can accomplish more together than just one could accomplish with their one strength. The value of community, mutual respect and promoting gifted-ness has become the base for which the CROW team grows and learns together. Besides working together, as one, Iverson offers up some value lessons learned that entrepreneurs can benefit from.
"Have patience and remember that there is no one thing or one achievement to reach," she said. "We've reached a number of milestones and we always remember to celebrate the 'little' successes. Focus on the goal, but also enjoy the journey and the process. This applies to both business and personal health. At the root, CROW is about transformation. Our intention is to continually pursue and seek our own best self, so that we can assist others in their transformational journey of becoming their best self. On both a business and personal level, we practice this art of experiencing the now, while planning for the future. Also, remember that life is bigger than we are. If I think something is going to or should happen and it does not, trusting that it was not supposed to happen and embracing what is currently happening is an invaluable tool. Through this practice, we have lost clients, gained clients, defined plans, changed plans and more often than not, we’ve been gifted some form of new growth opportunity for CROW’s network. While we’ve worked hard to build this company, we know that life allowed this company to become what it is and what it is becoming. By working with what is, instead of trying to induce what I think should be, both on a personal and business level, I find peace in the chaos of continually managing many new challenges."
Iverson is big on the fact that there are no problems, only solutions. This is a key perspective for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur. Most great entrepreneurs have failed more times than they've succeeded. Iverson credits two entrepreneurs, Angi Bellinger and Alexa Stone, for mentoring her and teaching her the meaning of 'fail forward'. We all make mistakes. We can either let them break us down or we can use them as tools to help build us up. According to Iverson, CROW wasn't built on perfection. Instead, they've learned from every mistake and used each one as a tool to learn how to do things better the next time around.
"When starting a business, no matter how well you plan, there’s a world of unknown’s that will come your way," Iverson said. "It is essential to let a large portion of your time to be re-assessing the continual intake of new challenges that you will be faced with every single day. This becomes a core part of your life. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you better be ready and willing to face new challenges on a daily basis."
Looking ahead, Iverson certainly has future goals for CROW, but she's quick to remind herself that an enemy of Dharma is grandiosity. "We are taking it day by day, connection by connection," she said. "Doors will open and close, but at the core, CROW is about personal transformation. We can easily lose sight of that when we are planning, reaching and striving for future goals, so we choose to make this a core belief and intention that we come back to regularly. Nevertheless, the two main markets we will continue to focus on are Thrive Over Stress training and the convention market. They allow us to have a greater impact on those that need our services."