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On that Midnight Train to Georgia...

Shazzy choreography teamAs I write this I’m recalling where I was 5 years ago at this time.

My kids were babies then—one entering kindergarten and the other happily attending preschool every day.

They had no idea that mommy had lost her job and that she was grappling with what her next move should be.

I was in my early forties then. I’d worked for some company, for someone, for all of my adult life. I had over 20 years of technical and management experience, and for the first time in my life it was being revealed to me that my definition of personal success was completely dependent on my professional title.

Looking back on it, as scared as I was to jump into the world of entrepreneurship, I think I needed something to focus on—something to distract me from my pain over losing my job, something to make me feel needed and alive again.

It’s hard for me to admit that out loud—I know now, 5 years later, that my definition of success in life is mostly tied to my family. How present I am with them, how much time I spend with them and the degree to which I’m able to love and be loved by them.

Kristy workingBut back then I was caught between the fear of trying this new thing and the pain of letting go of what I thought of as my safe place.

It goes to show (again) that the road to growth—professional, personal, spiritual—takes many turns, has many hills and valleys. What looks like a colossal failure or hopeless situation is still and always a learning opportunity.

It tooks me 5 years and the loss of a close family member to realize that there’s nothing more important to me than my faith and my family. Not Shazzy Fitness, not money, not any job. Nothing.

Ironically enough, it is in this year of new self-realization—this 5th anniversary of our existence—that we are experiencing unprecedented growth and awareness of our brand.

We knew when we first decided to create an instructor training course that we were taking on a tremendous task. A minuscule budget, a small team of us—myself, Apollo, Vera and our then newly added partner, Dee—trying to develop a course to teach folks around the country how to teach family-friendly hip-hop fitness classes.

Kristy and Vera on a radio showGetting the word out remains our biggest hurdle. Unlike the major brands that you see on late night infomercials, our budget comes nowhere near the millions they spend on advertising each week. Most people find us through word of mouth or Google searches. I still marvel every time I hear a new instructor tell us how they found us.

In this age of 24/7 digital chaos, it’s nothing short of a miracle that we are still able to offer products and services that get people excited enough to stop, listen and ultimately join our team.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE. We are also expanding into Canada this year and we have our first certified instructor in … New Zealand!!!

I can’t even begin to express how excited I am about that :)

original Shazzy instructor certificationIn just about 10 days we will have another milestone event. In celebration of our 5th year, we will host a dual New Instructor Training AND Instructor Continuing Education training here in Atlanta, Georgia.

Instructors from all over the country are set to attend and we are furiously working to ensure that this is a memorable event.

I want to sincerely express how grateful to each and every one of you that has contributed to our success, whether it be through the purchase of our videos, attendance at our live events, reading our blog posts (and y’all who don’t read them but haven’t unsubscribed!), sharing our program with family or friends, or the decision to join our instructor team. I am excited about where we’re headed but even more excited and grateful that I now have my priorities straight, and that our organization is a better and thriving business because of it.

If you’re in the Georgia area, we’d love to see you there :)



Kristy McCarley is Founder and CEO of Shazzy Fitness. She writes blog articles about faith, dance, exercise, fitness and wellness. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter


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