If logic ruled, the latest in the tribe of urban pioneers wouldn’t even be alive. Born with a congenital heart defect, Julie Wilkes’ heart stopped beating at birth. Doctors prepared her mother for the worse and said nothing could be done to save her baby, but within months, doctors scrawled ‘miracle’ on top of Julie’s charts, and she has beaten the odds ever since.
Julie survived birth, but then wasn’t supposed to live past teen years. That time came and went. In her twenties, Julie ran her first marathon, and that’s when the real shift occurred.
“I told myself if I lived to run 26.2 miles, I would be okay,” Julie said. “I felt like my life was a gift, and I’d been given a second chance. It was my calling to help others find theirs.”
She went back to school and got a master’s degree in exercise physiology with a dream of helping to create wellness plans through a consulting firm. She also began touring as a motivational speaker to talk about her Seven Life Miracles, which she will publish in 2014.
Right about the same time she found out that her book was picked up by a New York publisher, she learned about the Kickstart Columbus program, which she won. This provided no-cost rent for one year downtown to get her business concept up and running.
It was important for Julie to locate her business downtown because she wanted to be easily accessible, before, during and after work hours.
“Downtown is very easy to get around and offers everything that really big cities offer all within walking distance,” she said. “I call it a small big town – small enough to get around and big enough to have a lot of culture and diversity.”
Downtown also has a lot of community, which is really what the studio is all about. It’s a place where people connect in a fun and healthy way. Before each class, everyone introduces themselves because it’s important for everyone to leave the studio knowing one more person. Julie is the first to recognize that you can’t tell by looking at people what defines them – from divorce to death to financial ruin to outrageous success.
“No matter where you are in your life, living a happy life starts by trusting yourself, surrounding yourself with good people, letting go of the things that don't serve or help you, and embracing the things that do. We aim to provide that environment at Seven Studios,” she said.
Each of the classes is based on one of the Seven Life Miracles that Julie developed to surmount her own challenges, and she wants to meet people where they are to help them find their own path. She wants people to feel good when they leave, which will help them create a better personal space.
"You need to live as if you are going to die tomorrow, but dream as if you could live forever."