I took my first SoulCycle class three years ago on a random day in NYC with an old company that doesn’t even exist anymore.
I remember walking in and thinking that people were insane for paying $34 to take one workout class that only lasted 45 min. I’d just moved from Oklahoma. No one would do that in Oklahoma.
I remember thinking I was also insane for agreeing to come to said class as I was clipped onto the bike and was instructed to engage my core and use this resistance knob for some known reason that I’m sure was explained to me but I wasn’t listening; that I’d also be doing weights while still on said bike; that I needed to ride to the beat of the music…in the dark. And since I had no idea how to clip out, it suddenly hit me that I had no way to escape. I was trapped on a stationary bike. A problem I never though’d I’d encounter in my life.
I also remember leaving that first class being hooked and rationalizing why I should spend $34 per class to workout, which to any millennial living anywhere (especially a city like NYC) means forgoing groceries week to week. However, I managed to figure out a way to clip myself in at SoulCycle a couple of times a week while living off of popcorn and frozen broccoli for the next three years. I didn’t understand the formula, but I was drinking the milk and I was okay with it.
What I don’t remember is ever thinking: I’d want to work here.
I have worked strictly in startup agency life focusing on various ever changing things my entire career. Emailing like crazy. Never sleeping. Constantly worrying about website launches, app approvals by iTunes, and PDF’s verifying the work we were doing was worth the bill we were charging to clients I may never actually meet in person. And when I left that life to find the ever elusive life purpose we millennials all believe we have, I didn’t expect to end up at SoulCycle.
I’d never once thought about working in fitness; I’d never thought about managing studios. Sure, I liked working out but doing it for a career? It had honestly never crossed my mind. Boutique fitness was new to me when I moved to NYC, but it’s the only thing people care about now. Gone are gym memberships at chains and in is the pay as you go method that holds no commitments. Someone could come once and never come back. It’s risky, and my business brain questioned if it was a sustainable model because people are naturally flaky. How could you predict business on this kind of model? Simple answer: customer service is the heartbeat of your business and without flawless, top of the line customer service, you will fail. So, it becomes your entire focus. No questions asked. I didn’t understand how people lived in that constant state of high intensity and expectation everyday.
And now, I do it every day.
A lot of people have asked me why I took this position — it’s such a change from what I’ve done previously. I not only left a life living behind a computer screen, but I took a pay cut. A big one. And moved across the country. It didn’t make a lot of sense and to be honest, there were moments where I wondered if I’d lost my mind, but the purpose of leaving my previous jobs and NYC was to find what makes me happy — not something that just paid the bills. I’ve done that a lot. I’ve had a lot of jobs. None for more than a year and there had to be a reason for that. The common denominator was me and there had to be a reason for the job hopping and the constant sudden dislike of what I had to wake up and do everyday.
The one thing I have always known is that, for me, there’s nothing better than seeing people accomplish their goals — whatever they are. To be a part of someone’s journey to becoming the best versions of themselves is an indescribable feeling that agency life only gave me a small glimpse of, and when I left that life, I told myself that my next job wouldn’t be something that only gave me part of that feeling.
SoulCycle moves fast; it grows and adds studios every few months, but the core of the business, the idea that it lives and breathes off of the dedication of each rider and the team members that run the studios is what attracted me to apply in the first place. Sure, my job as an assistant manager means X,Y, and Z but what my job description doesn’t include is that I get to see people everyday go into class and coming into work feeling less than great and leave with a smile, excited about what comes next. You can call it a cult if you want to, but the riders and team members I get to interact with everyday teach me something no matter who they are, where they come from, or where they’ve been. From the instructors to the front desk staff, from management to the cleaning team, and especially to the riders, when we walk into SoulCycle, we’re all equal. Even our more well known famous riders.
Even though everyday is challenging and unpredictable, the one thing I know is that when I go home, I feel like I’m impacting the lives of people I touch everyday — my coworkers, staff, riders, and instructors — we don’t keep coming back because we have to, I truly believe that we all come to SoulCycle because we want to.
It’s bizarre because I would have never predicted this for my life a year ago but every journey has a purpose. My path so far has landed me at SoulCycle and I have no idea what will come after but for now, I get to live each day witnessing people become the best, happiest, and healthiest versions of themselves and I couldn’t imagine going to sleep every night with a better feeling.
During a class once, an instructor said:
“Wherever you are in your life journey, you are right are right where you’re supposed to be.”
And I couldn’t agree more. My journey the past 4 years has been a bit insane when I think about it, but there’s no doubt that where I am today is where I’m supposed to be.