This week, we celebrate Thunderbolt Power Yoga’s Third Birthday. In preparing for the studio’s birthday, I reflected on the hectic and exciting weeks leading up to our opening. If you had asked me then, in the fall of 2014, where I thought I’d be today, I’m not sure I would have told you:
My studio would be running like a well-oiled machine and I would have 3 full-time, (rockstar) managers - Carlina, Charlotte, and Alex
I would have declined every opportunity to open additional yoga studios - despite prime location availability and generous build-out reimbursement offers
I would be married to the man I had just begun dating, expecting a baby, and living in Roswell, GA
If you are reading the above, you helped turn my dreams into my reality.
Last week I mentioned I opened Thunderbolt without a single employee. What was I thinking? Though I lived less than a mile from my studio, I kept a bin of my clothes in the women's changing room, my apartment water bill was negligible because I rarely showered at home, and I put so little mileage on my car that I had to pay for a “not-enough-use” repair. In the fall of 2014, I would have told you with confidence, “I am the manager, the lead instructor, the trainee, and the bookkeeper.” I was running on adrenaline, yoga vibes and community support. While I knew I needed to hire an assistant manager, it took two more years, a battle with anxiety attacks and the dimming of my passion to realize I needed to hire a team.
To say Thunderbolt Power Yoga took off is an understatement, we exploded! Classes were packed by Christmas 2014, and our schedule of 28 weekly classes quickly surpassed 50. We began opening the studio at 5:15 a.m. and soon were closing well after dark. I didn’t have the bandwidth to manage the business, build the brand or keep a smile on my face, and I definitely didn’t have a clue how to get out of the mess I had created. Truth be told, if you’d asked me what my greatest fear was during Q1 2016, I would have told you, “Never being able to live a normal life. Never having breathing room."
An unexpected turn of events in early spring 2016 left me without my right hand assistant and quite literally knocked me on my as*ana. While I was still responsible for management responsibilities, an assistant manager had been handling client experience, email blasts, social media and more. I was paralyzed. I had just inherited a load of responsibilities, and I had nobody in my pipeline I could readily delegate work to. Buckets of uncontrollable tears - and a brave face I hope to never wear again - got me through one day at a time. With the help of a few committed mentors, some difficult “come-to-Jesus” moments and a hard reality check, I started making changes. I had been on the inside of my business climbing out when I needed to be on the outside looking in. I knew letting go of my baby was the only way it would ever truly fly.
I hired great leaders and built a team I implicitly trust. At times, I am still tempted to micromanage; admittedly, its a challenge for me to quiet myself, allowing my team to take the reigns, and at times make mistakes. Owning a business is a lot of work, and there are days I want to run far far away from yoga. But it is the yoga that brings me back. Again and again, yoga draws me in, and my community is always there accepting me with open arms.