Oh, you guys. I’ve been waiting nearly a year to hit publish on this blog post.
It’s a long one this morning, but if you only have time to read one thing today, let it be this:
When your instincts tell you to throw your whole heart into something, do it. Just go all in.
Now, let’s settle in and take a step back. Coffee at-the-ready? Okay, good.
While I’ve alluded to the fact that I’ve been very heads-down in pursuit of a passion project, I haven’t been ready to talk to you about it — until now. (So thanks for your patience and understanding of my privacy.)
I won’t flatter myself into thinking you’ve been sitting around wondering what it is that I’ve actually been up to, so let’s get right to it.
I’m a SoulCycle INSTRUCTOR-IN-TRAINING!
(*Update: As of March 2016, I’m now an instructor! You can view my schedule here.)
Holy shit. Is this real?!
(For those of you who might not be familiar, SoulCycle is an indoor cycling studio that’s really popular in New York, LA, etc.)
You might not know this about me, but training to become an Instructor is a dream I’ve been working towards for a very, very long time.
It’s been a hybrid of blisters, sweat, tears, confidence-building and crippling self-doubt — all things you can relate to, I’m sure, which is why I want to talk to you about it.
This journey has single-handedly changed my life — and as a result, I hope my story can impact yours.
Now, before you ask and/or begin to state the obvious, allow me to beat you to it:
No, I don’t come from a group fitness background. I don’t have any formal teacher experience and I am not a professional dancer (after 10 p.m. on weekends, though, this is debatable).
In fact, I’ve spent the past seven-plus years of my life behind a desk – though this has never defined me.
Here’s why none of that matters:
At my very core, I am an athlete. I’m a leader. I’m a motivator, a giver and an inspiration-seeker. Music is my second language and empowering people is my passion – whether it’s through writing or in-person. I’ve ultimately grown into an insatiable aspiration to inspire other people.
Simply put: SoulCycle is my lifestyle.
[custom bow & drape beanie]
Here’s how it happened:
Nearly two years ago (in 2013), I moved to New York to chase “The Dream” — you might remember that story.
The Dream, you know? The one your parents and professors or other people in your life may pressure you to pursue.
At the time, I was working in digital marketing/advertising, so I figured that a good dream was to work at a reputable agency on the ever-popular pedestrian Madison Avenue.
That’s how it goes, right? college, job, promotion, corporate ladder. Check, check, check.
For seven years of my post-graduate life, I worked really hard. Like, really fucking hard. And I worked a lot. I was one of those people who woke up with her hand clawed around her iPhone in the morning. My e-mail was never not in sync — and one wrong push notification was all it took to dictate my mood.
I’m not saying these are bad things — I actually love to work. Working actually makes me really happy. But we’ll get to that.
Throughout my exploratory love affair with New York City, I began to experiment with hobbies beyond blogging — and drinking/my social life, haha.
Jess suggested that I check out SoulCycle, and it was only a matter of time before I caved and agreed to see what the hype was about. I’ve always been an athlete/enjoyed exercise, but a workout that’s life-altering and addicting? Yeah, we’ll see.
I remember every single detail of my first class — down to the smell. (I won’t bore you with those details, but if you’d like to hear the story, shoot me an e-mail.)
I clipped in, zoned out and the rest is history.
As we’ve established, living and working in New York is stressful. The highs are high and the lows are low.
Was I happy at work? Sure. Did I want to look at data in Excel and work in PowerPoint for the rest of my life? I dunno, maybe? I’m just trying to pay rent, order food and buy nice things, here.
Time continues to pass, and the ambiguity of what I “really” wanted to do with my life stressed me out (even further), so I threw myself into the escapism of SoulCycle.
My after-work hobby soon became a full-blown obsession and — not long thereafter — foundational to my life. At some point, it became spiritual. I reazlied this when I began to notice the way I felt before, during and after a class. (Sweaty, tired, confident and fucking amazing.)
It was a workout, sure, but more so than anything else: It was a release and an escape from the everyday chaos of living in New York City. (Living period, really.)
Periodically, I’d find myself crying in class.
Like, full-blown ugly crying. I wasn’t sure why, but I knew that I was working through a mess of mental garbage in those 45-minute spurts.
Looking back, it’s clear that SoulCycle helped me mentally and physically evolve away from my demons and doubts and into the person I’ve always wanted to be. (Even if I’ve never known how to describe who she is.)
It’s not that I became a health-nut, necessarily –but I finally understood that you’re responsible for filling your life with as much positive energy as possible…
(On a related note, I’m testing out matcha and tea instead of coffee-all-day as a concept and so far it’s going well.)
Though it may sound cheesy, I found a home within my SoulCycle community.
SoulCycle shifted my entire life’s perspective, which ultimately spilled over into the content I create for corals + cognacs (which is now known as Among Other Things — you can read the story of my recent re-brand here).
That type of content, it seems, became your favorite. Yay! Because incidentally, it’s my favorite!
The fact that I was doing what I loved — writing and empowering people — felt really awesome. If you want to be happy, you give. It really is that simple. Whether it’s words, advice, inspiration or compliments. You just give what you can.
You don’t get less happiness when you give out your own, you simply create more of it.
This is where the idea was born that I could further manifest my passions — in training to (hopefully) become a SoulCycle Instructor.
Little did I know the long, challenging journey that was about to unfold in front of me…
Here’s the irony:
It wasn’t until I became so blindly caught up in chasing down my corporate career — or living the life I thought I was supposed to — that I threw myself into my hobby to escape.
Turns out, it’s what I was meant to do all along.
My career path is anything but linear — and indirectly, it’s one that led me to SoulCycle.
The ah-ha moment came in May 2014.
After seven years in the corporate world – and many, many months of subconscious “Soul searching” – it dawned on me that I was done with digital. I was ready to stop running on the corporate treadmill.
Slowly, this dream came to fruition. I was Soul’ing (as a verb) pretty much every day — it was all I thought about.
Life seemed like one steady stream of collective consciousness. I quit my full-time job to more fully dedicate myself to the practice, because if you love something so much, you’ve got to go all in… Regardless of how long it takes you to get there.
At long last, I was ready. I applied and auditioned for SoulCycle’s Instructor Training Program in August 2014.
The audition went well. So well! I was really proud of myself — and my Soul mentors were too. This was IT! Finally! It’s all happening.
The next day, I got the e-mail.
I didn’t get in.
Simple as that.
I was heartbroken. I cried. I questioned everything and began to think very critically of myself. (That was right around when this post was written.) I’d worked so hard! This wasn’t the plan.
… Now what?
Here’s what hearing ‘no’ taught me:
Have you ever felt this, too? Well…
When you face the reality of missing out on your dreams, taking action is not a choice. It’s essential. There are no other options.
This reality brings your dreams into sharper focus. It forces you to take the reins of your life into your own hands and to align your actions with the life you want. It challenges you to accept your obstacles, face them head-on and allow them to make you stronger.
In retrospect, hearing “no” at the time was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.
I realized what this dream meant to me, so I stopped questioning the outcome and went back to work on the process — on creating and shaping my own transformation.
In those next four months, SoulCycle showed me that it’s okay to veer off the life path we envision for ourselves. In fact, it’s inevitable. And it’s even better when you realize and embrace that you’re exactly where you’re meant to be.
They say that if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough – but you can’t just tell people your dreams… You have to show them.
The Journey, Part Two:
In December 2014, I re-auditioned for SoulCycle’s Instructor Training Program.
I got in.
Regardless of whether you do or don’t have a desire to try SoulCycle, I am living proof that your dreams can be an inspiring, transformative experience. Twenty-some pounds and a shitload of endorphins later, here I am: Instructor-in-Training. [Wait, really? *Pinches arm.*]
As I type, I’m sitting on the floor of my apartment, massaging my back against the wall.
We’re four weeks into the (very intensive) program; and you guys, I can’t quite explain it — it’s the most physically, mentally and emotionally challenging thing I’ve ever been through, but I can’t get enough.
At one time, fitness was once a daily stress relief. Now, it’s a fundamental way to connect, motivate and empower myself and the people around me. I have never been happier — and I think my happiness increased a lot when I focused on living my real life and spending time in positive, inspiring communities; not just making things on a computer. (Though, again, still something I love.)
Great. Happy for you. Now how does this relate to me?
It’s one of those days where I’m just rambling, isn’t it?
Well, here’s the gist: I can’t say this enough to you guys, because seriously: If you commit to consistency and resilience, you can do literally anything with your life. Even if the odds are not in your favor.
And if you still don’t know what you want to do, it’s okay. Everyone’s path is different. (I’m 29-years-old, for what it’s worth.) Devote yourself to doing things that make you happy, and you will be successful.
One day, perhaps, you’ll show up in spandex at a boutique fitness studio on 18th street — and later, you’ll look back and realize that it was your LIFE waiting for you at the door.
Life is short — so just f’ing go for it. If someone tells you ‘no,’ push even harder. As crazy and unattainable as your dream might seem to everyone you know, trust yourself and lean into it. Be so genuinely good that they can’t ignore you.
The dream is free. The hustle’s sold separately. And it’s never to late to explore your fork in the road…
PS, in case you’re wondering…
Are you going to keep blogging? Yes.
Are you turning into a fitness blogger? No.
Is your blog going to change? Not really — I think it’ll just get better and more fun to read.
**Update, I’m now an instructor! You can view my schedule here.
And lastly, a quick shoutout to SoulCycle Group 17 (below) — so much love to everywhere in the United States we’ve all dispersed to. I love you, fam!