Don’t Step, LEAP Into the Arena! Innovate at ISPA 2016


As I experienced ISPA 2016, as I took my leap, I entered into a feast for the spa senses like never before. And, with the likes of such amazing motivational scholars as Brené Brown, I also redefined what the term ‘Innovate’ means to me.

Innovate. A small, simple word. Webster defines it as a verb, which is an action word: “to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.”

Innovate; the theme of the 2016 ISPA conference at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Thousands of attendees filled the halls and seats to witness, experience and ponder this concept. And there was much to be had! Among the exhibitions was a lounge chair from SolTec, that “uses layered music to induce synchronized sounds, vibrations and magnetic fields.” Recline in a comfy, zero-gravity chair while it vibrates and shakes underneath you in time to the music that is heard through headphones. It’s totally orchestrated, much like the fountain show at the Bellagio, however the point isn’t entertainment, but rather relaxation. The moment I put the headphones on, all of the noise from the busy exhibit hall completely disappeared and I was swept away in beautiful music and vibration. I felt it was pretty ok, until the experience was over and I tried to stand up. I was so woozy but in a good way. My body had relaxed way more than I was consciously aware!

Another remarkable innovation were these algae-based “dermal cooling” peel-off facial masks from Casmara.


Already in 70 different countries, Casmara has finally made an appearance in the United States. As an esthetician, these masks really excite me. They get so cold! And the eyes and lips may be covered with the mask, helping firm and soothe every single part of the face. With an assortment of 11 masks, different problems can be targeted and solved. Casmara has partnered up with Tama, an American microcurrent company, so that microcurrent can be delivered throughout the mask, exponentially increasing the firming and toning effects. This is innovation at its finest: introducing new stuff by integrating existing modalities and ideas!

Cutting to the chase, one of THE ‘sweetest’ innovations in the entire exhibit hall was the EstheChoc, a beauty dietary supplement in… chocolate!



Yes, you heard me correctly. You eat a square of chocolate to fight off aging. With only 40 calories per serving (and just 2 grams of sugar), these nutrient dense power-boosters supply more astaxanthin (a potent antioxidant) than 300 grams of Atlantic salmon, and more polyphenols than a 400 calorie chocolate bar, because who has time to eat all of that fish and chocolate? This company actually ran a 10 year clinical study of thousands of people and found that eating this little square of chocolate every day definitely had an impressive, statistically significant anti-aging effect.

Ordinary people creating extraordinary things

So what does this all have to do with you and your heavy morning thoughts and nagging complaints? These are just three examples (from hundreds at this show) of ordinary people creating extraordinary things. By doing so, they are designing their own world and shaping ours. How have they managed to step out of the mundane into a world of their own invention? The answers flowed to us at ISPA through fantastic speakers, including research professor and best-selling author Brene Brown, John Ondrasik, Simon Sinek (author and TED talk speaker about leadership) and Leah Weinraub.

John Ondrasik, the mastermind, the everything man behind the band Five For Fighting and winner of the 2016 iSpa Humanitarian award, says that “FAILURE is the key to success!” When we are young, failure comes quite naturally and we think nothing of it. We try to walk, fall down, and get up again. We don’t get mad, scared or frustrated. Heck, we even laugh about it! Something happens as we age. We expect to be perfect every moment, to never mess up; to get things right, every time, straight out of the gate. This pressure immobilizes us, paralyzes us.

We want to control everything, to know what to expect, to not be surprised. Can you reconnect with the joy you felt as a child? Do you remember it? Weren’t your days filled with joy? Ironically, as children, we had zero control, few if any expectations, and we were constantly surprised by life. Everything was a game! Something to be explored. Something to try, to test out, to see what would come of it.

We need to let ourselves “get in the arena”, like Brene Brown says. Play the game. Be vulnerable. It is true that vulnerability can create feelings of shame, scarcity, fear, anxiety and uncertainty, but according to Brene, vulnerability can also create love, joy, belonging, courage, empathy, trust, innovation, and creativity. She says that joy is actually our most vulnerable emotion. This joy can make us anxious, in a surprising way. Brene calls this “dress rehearsing for tragedy in the middle of our great moments.” You have been there if you ever watched your child sleep and were filled with such love, such joy, and then suddenly the most horrific possibilities of things that could happen to your baby invaded your thought flow. This is because “joy creates a quiver that can be felt”, says Brown. This feeling may make you uneasy. Anxious.


Why? We want to control this moment. We want to control the next moment. We want everything to stay exactly the way it is now, forever. Our joy turns to anxiety and we contract, shut down, go into protection mode. From here, we become selfish and focused on ourselves; our bodies, our feelings, our situations. It’s not our fault, really. Powerful hormones like cortisol get released, and we go into fight or flight. Simon Sinek says that it’s not possible to create, to give, to think of anything other than the self when we ourselves do not feel safe. He says that if you took a “good” person and placed them in a difficult environment where they felt in jeopardy, that they would be unable behave in the “best” ways, (or even “good” ways). They would not show up as their highest self.

Did you know that some people experience that quiver of joy differently? Instead of getting anxious and starting the whole self-preservation cycle, they use that sweet quiver as a springboard to their next exciting possibility. How are these people different? Are their lives so much easier, so much better, that they never have to stress? Not at all! Brene Brown says the difference is that when that moment hits them, when they feel the sweet tingle of joy, they express GRATITUDE. Simply being grateful for the moments, the situations, the feelings, the things…instead of trying to control them, to hoard them, keeps the cortisol away, signals your brain that you are indeed living in an incredible, amazing world and have nothing to fear, and opens up your awareness to that phenomenal world around you. It then becomes the world you want more of, the world in which you want to play!

Try it. The next time you feel the quiver of joy, let gratitude rush over you and fill your soul. When the spark of creativity ignites, play with these questions that motivational speaker and athlete Leah Weinraub posed to us. They can help you plot your course, give you direction, and put wind in your sails.

  1. Imagine you are 100 years old. What would the 100 year old you want to tell the you of today?
  2. When you were a kid, who inspired you and why?
  3. Time Magazine calls and says you just won the award for being the World’s Most Influential Person. What do you want it to be for?

And one final question that John Ondrasik asked us:

      4)   What kind of world do you want to live in?

You have the power to get out of your fear right now. You don’t have to be stuck one moment longer. You can become an innovator! You can create a happy, beautiful world all around you. Things don’t have to be a certain way for you to start. You don’t have to lose the weight, get the job, find the soulmate. See the joy around you right now, be grateful, and ask yourself some questions.

If you are reading this, nodding your head, and also saying “yeah, but what if I do fail? What will people say? What will they think?” then I invite you to post this quote on your mirror and read it everyday

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

Get in the arena!

Rebecca Marie

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