If you’ve ever watched a soap opera, you know that there will be a love story. And while the two characters may be happy for a while, trials and tribulation soon follow. This is how I have felt about having a studio since reopening. There is rarely drama at our studio among participants, but all of the drama falls upon me—behind the scenes. I “love” Island Time Fitness, and I love my Island Time Family even more…
And I have proven my love for this business—that is more of a ministry as it stands—time and time again because there are lives attached to it.
I still remember the day we relaunched: January 22, 2022! Jericho had also turned six months old, and I was so excited to have a second chance at the studio dream. I had prayed over this new opportunity; I had kept students dancing before, during, and after Jericho’s birth, and I knew it was time. We had a successful launch as sweet as the Island-themed cake we shared, and the future looked bright.
I began scheduling Zumba events, and students new and old were gravitating toward the studio. Everything just seemed easier this time around. My discoverability was better for sure, as we upgraded from the back of a mall to one of the most famous avenues in Tulsa: Lewis Avenue!
But inflation soon set in, and during the second half of 2023 I gradually lost several students due to life circumstances. Overwhelmed with paying the rising bills and making sure I taught quality classes, marketing suffered…
And I saw very few new students.
The perfect storm brewed for many months, and I didn’t really know how we would get through the storm—but by faith I knew that we would. God made a way every single month, including this past September and December when we held Zumbathon fundraisers led by myself and other instructor friends to ensure that Island Time Fitness would indeed survive.
I’ve heard it said that it takes about two years to “figure things out” in a business. A lot of people have counted me out because I’ve been in business five years and am still not driving a Mercedes, but I had to restart at a brand-new location these past two years, and I grew the Island Time Family significantly. That is why I don’t even worry about what others think. All that matters is what God tells me I’m supposed to do.
Sometimes we have to step out in faith, and staying on that path of faith is even harder. When hail is pouring and looks like it will take you out, you have to follow God’s instructions.
Fast-forward to 2024, and we have had the strongest start to a year in our five-year history! New people have booked classes for three consecutive weeks, new members have joined, returning members have come home, and our instructor team is growing and strong!
In his book Crushing, T.D. Jakes talks about the difference between being buried and planted by life’s circumstances: “We can recognize that the seeds of our greatness, which God has imbued into our very being, are being buried in order to take root, sprout and produce fruit. Or we can assume we’re being buried alive, suffocated by the severity of our circumstances.” The choice is ours! One leads to life; the other leads to death.
I hope my story reminds people that nothing can truly break you if you are in alignment with God. I am so excited for the days ahead…
Because I’ve been planted for a while! This gingerroot is coming out because sprouting season has begun! If you want to be a part of and impacted by this groundbreaking testimony, come join us <3.