If you’ve ever doubted your passion, your purpose, or your power to make a difference, let me share the story of an unexpected dream that became a reality. A little over a year ago, I was at a job that drained me, literally depleted me of what I feel is my greatest strength- my positivity. I felt empty and sad and constantly questioning my life’s mission. Here I was living in “paradise” but feeling completely unfulfilled and uninspired. Wasn’t that why I left corporate America and moved to St. John in the first place… to live a happier, less stressful life?
Without a clear plan of what was next, I found what I now recognize as courage… courage to get out. At the time, it felt a bit more like quitting and giving up. The only couple of times in my life that I’ve left a job, it was for a better career opportunity or to move to a Caribbean island; this time is was just me throwing in the towel, deciding I couldn’t do it anymore… leaving a “good” opportunity for nothing.
When I walked through the doors of that establishment for the last time on February 18, I can only describe what happened in these words- it felt like the heavens opened up and I was now fully ready to receive my calling.
Less than a week later, I discovered that creating a fitness business was what I wanted to do next. And it’s hard to describe… It wasn’t simply that it was what I wanted to do, it felt more like a huge pull, almost like it was what I had to do.
I can’t remember exactly how my husband and I came up with the name but as soon as it was said aloud, we knew that was it. A love of dance has been a defining aspect of my entire life, and I’ve always loved group exercise classes, because I would never lift weights, squat, lunge, or plank alone, yet I fully believe in the importance of resistance training. So, Dance + Sculpt = Twerk and Tone, of course!
Shaun spent hours creating the logo, and after countless iterations, once he arrived at one, just like with the name, we knew it was right. In no time, we had ordered tanks and stickers with the logo for the clients I was sure would fall in love with the workouts I was working so hard to create. To this day, I’m still surprised that the website, the Facebook page, and the Instagram account were all available… no underscores, no extraneous dots or add ons… just the name! I always took these as signs that I was moving in the right direction. The momentum I felt was unstoppable.
In the following months, I continued adding classes, tweaking the music, purchasing new equipment, writing the Twerk and Tone Feelsophy, and working to perfect the method I believe is the safest, most effective, and most fun way to sculpt your body head-to-toe. Confirmation that hard work pays off has come in the form of people showing up to classes, texts following their workouts, Facebook messages, and formal client testimonials.
And I believe now more than ever that a) fitness MUST be fun, and b) that the best workouts have to challenge you mentally and physically.
In March, my baby turns one. After eleven months in my new career, I can say for the first time that I know what it means to live out my life’s mission. I live and breath this. I think about the next class, I reflect on the last class, I think about how I can help more people, and I cry often about the things my clients tell me.
Recently someone asked me if moving to the island has made me happier or rather if it has made me change my perception of happiness. I’ve been thinking a lot about that question. Moving to the island has created more highs and more lows than I’ve ever experienced in my life, so is it fair to say that without a doubt, I have been happier overall? Probably not. At times, life on St. John has been extremely difficult, lonely, and downright boring.
Is everyday picture-perfect now? Absolutely not, and it never will be. Life is full of ups and downs, and I think it’s perfectly normal to doubt yourself at times. But this keeps popping into my head…
Wherever you are- whether it’s a city you don’t want to be in, a job that isn’t right for you, or a relationship that isn’t working- know that you have in you the ability to create a life that you love. When you follow your passion and do what it is that you truly love, the universe usually rewards that behavior.
Now I realize that it wasn’t that I couldn’t do the old job anymore; it was that I chose not to do it anymore. And there is a big difference. Walking away from things or people that aren’t serving you doesn’t make you a quitter; it makes you stronger. And if you listen to the voice inside your heart, you may just find something happier and healthier around the corner.
People often ask what it’s like to live on an island and even ask my opinion on whether they should take the plunge. I have come up with this answer because it’s so different for everyone, and it’s impossible to know what will make someone else happy: “I am certainly not living the dream; I am living my dream. You have to find out what it is that you love and do that in a place you love. That’s where you belong.”