Pursue Your Legend Series: Karin Norby

by Karin Norby

I have always been a big believer in unconventional routes. My story with Alchemy is no different. To draw a straight line of how I “ended up” at Alchemy would be impossible. If you know me, you probably know I don’t do straight lines.

Zig Zag #1. My first break from the status quo was my bold decision to turn down the U of M Carlson School of Business for my undergraduate education and go to the University of Saint Thomas. Beyond having the time of my life during the formative college years – I grew up. I traveled. And, I loved the idea of bucking the system and going to the underdog school. What’s more, choosing Saint Thomas meant I crossed paths with Molly Hanten back in 2009-2010.

Zig Zag #2. I was a business major that did not want to work in a “corporate” anything. (Sorry, dad!) The first step towards the non-corporate life was taking Yoga Teacher Training from Brigitte Koepke Smith, Mother Hen of Alchemy, in the spring of my senior year. I had no intention to teach, ever. At that time in my life, taking the training made no sense. Now, I like to think of it as the universe working it’s magic in unconventional ways. I did not know it then, but that training was the catalyst to my “coaching” life, as I knew it.

What was next? I had to figure out how to make a living in a non-corporate setting. My solution: find as many cool people doing cool things and ask if you can work (volunteer) for them. My years after college were not burning the midnight oil in a fancy office downtown – my years after college were a modern day start-up hustle. I worked with some of the greatest people (who quickly became family) starting some of the greatest companies in the Twin Cities. It is here where I learned more and actually applied my degree in entrepreneurship in more ways than I ever would have imagined.

Zig Zag #3. Here’s the clincher. My most recent break from the norm – 2 hip surgeries before the age of 25. The ugliest part of my Personal Legend, but by far the most influential. Put simply, I put my anatomically flawed hips through the ringer with a lot of running and a lot of yoga. While most people were doing their 20-something game, I was spending mine recovering Up North at my parent’s house and relearning everything I ever knew (or thought I knew) about exercise.

I would be crazy to say those two surgeries didn’t change me. They did. Back then; I would have said they changed me for the worse. Now, as I sit here writing my Personal Legend story for Alchemy, I can say with the fullest heart that they changed me for the better. Why? The non-straight, purely unconventional and at some points utterly dysfunctional path of mine is why I do what I do. And, it’s why I do what I do at Alchemy.

At the end of the day, I get to help people feel more alive. Some days, I do it at 5:04AM running on fumes and cold press. Other days, I experience it through the eyes of someone who has just done a pull-up for the first time. It’s beautiful. The ways in which we all come together and experience fitness, health, movement and wellness are in no way straight lines. They are unconventional and know no pattern, but it makes sense. Add it to my list of why I continue to this day to be a big believer in unconventional routes.

Karin Norby is General Manager at Alchemy. In her spare time, she dreams of being a surfer and spends as much time in the sun as possible.