My Oola Story: Heal, Grow, Help Others

My Oola Story: Heal, Grow, Help Others

A heavy sigh escaped my lips but didn’t alleviate the weight pressing down on my chest. I was driving home after work, clunking along in a beat-up old car.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t heading to my home. I was driving toward my childhood home. Mom was waiting for me.

At thirty-four, this was not the life I envisioned. I was obese, depressed, drowning financially, and working at a job I hated. To top it all off, I felt anchored to a broken heart and wounded spirit.

Past trauma, and other unresolved hurts, took up residence in my mind. They accused me of wasting the last six years in an unhealthy relationship. I felt assaulted by guilt and paralyzed by shame every minute of everyday.


Everyday I passed the blue sign with this singular word. It was pasted on a nondescript building. Again I wondered, “What goes on in there?”

By the time I got home my curiosity grew past the point of ignoring it. I decided to google the business. Flourish was a boutique gym for women only.

From somewhere deep in my gut I found the courage to sign up for a class. I needed something to do. I was exhausted from keeping a smile pasted on my face until Mom went to bed each evening.

February 2016 - Tara, the gym owner, gave me a book titled, Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World.

I decided to read this Oola book because my life was literally in the shambles. I couldn’t put it down. I felt like Dr. Dave and Dr. Troy, the authors, peeked into my life and wrote it just for me. I held in my hands the blueprint on how to get the life I dreamed of.

Then I found out the Oola Dream Tour was coming to Kentucky!

Dr. Troy’s idea, to drive around the United States in a 1970’s VW Surf Bus, was the perfect way to meet people and collect their dreams. I couldn’t wait to talk to them.

The bus was covered with thousands of round colorful stickers. Each one proclaiming someone’s dream. As I walked around the bus, looking for the perfect place to add my sticker, I realized I wasn’t alone.

Dave and Troy are famous for saying, “Where you are is simply where you are, not who you are”. Hope stirred in that same place in my gut that urged me to sign up for the gym.

Maybe it’s true. Maybe anything is possible.

I stuck a red Fitness sticker on the Dream Bus. I promised myself, in bold black permanent ink, to Lose One Hundred Pounds.

April 2016 - Two months later OolaPalooza landed in Lexington.

I was so fortunate to attend this two day event.

Dave and Troy engaged the audience with vulnerable and honest stories from their lives. They taught the Oola principals and techniques using film clips, music, and unforgettable visual aids.

The Oola method is quite simple: dream big, make goals toward the dreams, then take daily steps toward the goals.

I soaked in their teachings, dove deep into my personal dreams and strategically planned goals. It may sound simple, I thought, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

Getting my life together was going to require a deeper level of honesty. I had allowed laziness, self-sabotage and a lack of discipline, to block me from my full potential. That weekend I took responsibility for the extra weight, huge credit card bills, and dissatisfying job. I also faced my codependency to food and shopping.

I left OolaPalooza with three specific goals in each of the seven key areas of life: Fitness, Finance, Family, Field (career), Faith, Friends and Fun.

I was committed to go get my Oola life. What did I have to lose?

July 2019 - For three years I pressed into Oola incorporating personal integrity and developing self-discipline.

365 days x 3 goals x 3 years adds up to over three thousand victories.

Some of my victories included; losing 165 pounds, climbing out of debt, healing broken relationships, getting married, going on two mission trips to Honduras, running 5 K’s, organizing holiday gift drives, and adopting two pit bulls. I also started a new job, bought a new car, and found more energy and time for family and friends.

But my story was far from finished.

On July 7, 2019, Dave and Troy announced the launch of the their next Oola chapter: The Certified Oola Life Coaching program. I knew this was opportunity knocking. I signed up and became certified October 11, 2019.

I’m confident this is what I’m here for. My story has the power to help others. I love leading people through whatever has them stuck and into the life they desire.

One of my favorite quotes is from @TheJoyWarrior.

“So, what's next? You Heal. You Grow. You Help Others."

Five short years ago my life was a mess. But now, when I look in the mirror, or at the stranger walking down the street, I see someone designed by God for greatness and a purpose.

Oola helped me to heal and growth. Now I’m able to help others.

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Lisa Gardner is a wife, step-mom, avid runner and Certified Oola Life Coach. Keep up with her Oola journey at