5 Things I Learned in 5 Years of Going to SoulCycle
More time than most people spend in college or high school. Enough time to be considered “old enough” to be away from your parent for an entire school day. Mid-career in some cases, senior manager in others.
Longer than I’ve ever been in any relationship, apartment or job in my adult life.
No matter how you slice it, five years is a long time.
And on July 20, 2017, I marked five years of consistently caring for myself enough to spend a LOT of money on a workout class that I now frequent 5-6 times a week.
SoulCycle is high on my list of #lifegoals. Why? Because from the moment I clipped in for the first time (five years ago!), I knew that I was home. I was 24 and searching for more -- more out of my career, my life and myself. I was riding down the lazy river of life at warp speed, reaching out for something to keep me teether inside the watercraft for the duration of the ride.
I had tried out kickboxing, trainer sessions, hot yoga and pilates… nothing ever really seemed to stick for me. I’d do the obligatory 3-5 days a week to keep myself on track through late nights and long days (I never had that “teenage/early 20s metabolism;” it was always work for me) but beyond that? It was something I thought I “should” do, not necessarily something I wanted to do.
In those five years of riding in a dark room, I’ve learned a lot about myself, connection with others and what it takes to truly be a successful person.
Those lessons are valuable to anyone and everyone -- how do I know that? Because my classes are filled with people of all ages and at all stages; a room of leaders in perfect sync to one, magical beat.
You can use these in your toolbox when you need to rewrite a chapter of your Side Hustle Success Story (something I share in my business coaching program) or when you just need some courage for a particularly difficult moment in your day.
Time is Fleeting
In SoulCycle, we’ve got 45 minutes to give it ALL we’ve got. In life, we have a limited amount of time. For example, one of my big goals was to be on a 30 under 30 list. That could still happen but there’s less time now to make it happen. And that means I have to decide how to go after that goal or how to shift it. Goals are shiftable… the intention behind the goal is something that is a constant. My intention behind going after that goal is to be successful in advancing my career… but I’ve already cleared 6-figures in 6 months, so I’d call that a success for MY business goals. I also am in the best shape of my life, thanks to the SoulCycle Next Gen Bikes… so I’d call that a win, too.
Time is fleeting but if you make the most of the time you have with a clear intention, you can succeed in one way or another.
Community Above All
We are a pack. A pack high on sweat and the hum of the wheel. I can’t take credit for that particular phrase (it’s on every wall in every studio from coast to coast!) but I can tell you that riding with a community of like-minded individuals before the sun rises, in a blizzard, in the heat, as the old year transforms into the new? THAT is a high unlike anything else. The instructors are champions of purpose and the riders are all successful in their own right.
It’s not about being faster (or getting ahead faster) than the person beside you, it’s about cheering them on and coaching them to improve.
Your Limits are Self-Imposed
In the beginning, I was lucky if I rode twice a week. But, for the past five years, I have clipped in at least once a week, if not more. For the past three years, I’ve clipped in at least four times a week. When I began, I couldn’t imagine spending the time, investing the money and keeping myself to this “impossible” goal I had set for myself. You see, as a creative, I need to find an outlet. Creatives teeter on the edge of insanity at all times -- it’s not bad, it’s just a fact -- and that means we need to learn (very early on) how to harness that insanity and turn it into infamy. On the bike, you’re the one who decides how hard class is from day-to-day. I learned how to break things down to sprints, jogs and runs in the darkness of SoulCycle and to turn that into learnings in my real life, every day.
All things are possible if you choose for them to be.
Fierce Power Doesn’t Have to be Overbearing
Fierce is one of my favorite words -- I’ve got it tattooed on my wrist, written all of my mantra walls and bands, and on almost every accessory I can find. In my younger days, many examples of “strong” people in the workplace were overbearing and unyielding. That was not something I ever wanted to emulate. In SoulCycle, I had a chance to see that you could be strong as HELL without walking all over everyone else. There are many other areas where I have examples of this, but this was a constant lesson in the past five years for me.
Strong is something you are, not something you have to prove.
Consistency Wins Every Time
I once walked to a 6 am SoulCycle class in a blizzard. It was the best class of the winter. I’ve ridden in Palo Alto, Los Angeles (#TroopBevelryHills, style) and from Manhattan to Montauk, Miami, DC, Philadelphia… if there’s a SoulCycle Studio, I will make it to a class at least once in my travels. No matter WHERE I take a class, the same sights and smells greet me. As a Digital PR and Branding Expert, I appreciate this, but as an audience member, a user, a patron of the business? I REALLY appreciate this. I’ve always focused on delivering consistent content in my career -- after all, that IS what I do… it’s where I put the content and how I monetize it for myself and clients that changes -- and seeing a brand as successful as SoulCycle sticking to their guns about doing one thing and doing it really well? That has been inspiring, motivating AND supportive.
There are many things you must do to succeed but there are only some things YOU “should” do.
This relationship has been the most rewarding for me because I see it as so much more than a workout. I see it as a place to tether myself in the most radical storm, a place to come back to when the hurricane in my brain (hat tip to Lin Manuel Miranda for giving me a way to express that one!) refuses to quit.
It is my favorite place to be and the first thing I plan in my week.
It has helped me define who I am and, above all else, thrive in the confidence that I knew was always waiting for me at the top of the hill… and to revel in the many, many ups and downs in celebration of that lifelong journey to success.