Photo: Robin Arzón | www.robinarzon.com
This is not an ad for Peloton. In fact, this is barely about Peloton at all.
These past two years have been a beast. You know, you remember. You were there.
Everyone experienced their own brand of turmoil in the past few years that are inextricably woven together in our collective struggle. You may have lost a job, resigned a shitty one on your own, changed homes, lost homes, been stuck being a full-time parent and teacher to small children while trying to keep your job, found yourself incredibly lonely and disconnected, and on. And on.
On March 13, 2020, we were notified that the schools were shutting down. For once my doomsday predictive nature worked in my favor and within 48 hours we had ordered a Peloton bike. I could barely survive the wait.
You get the bike, you try it out, and you explore your favorite instructors. You settle in, you get stronger and you build a routine if this is your jam. This was definitely my jam, and to this day I would rather gnaw my own right arm off before I set foot in a gym again.
I will acknowledge that this has been a challenging few years for me. At the beginning of 2020 I had made a big bet on myself and went all in to focus on keynote speaking as a primary function of my business. By March that dream seemed “uncertain” and by August I was royally F-ed. Instead of taking big leaps on the stage I took big leaps through the sprinkler at the at-home summer camp I was forced to lead with exactly two small campers. Any effort made when it came to my work and identity seemed to go into a black hole.
As the kids precariously made it back to school, so began the many months of uncertainty, lurching stop and start as kids pinballed between home and covid exposures at school. No day was promised, and the dreaded phone call saying “Don’t bring your kid to school, they’ve been exposed” meant yet another 5-10 days where suddenly your work plans go out the window.
Through it all, I stayed true to my health basics. 8 hours of sleep. Drink enough water. Exercise.
I prepared myself mentally for months as I readied for my first-ever campaign for a non-partisan local public office. I survived the campaign mentally and physically by staying true to myself, and there was one constant that has saved me through all of these challenging seasons. Robin Arzón.
If you don’t know Robin, she is the lead instructor and VP of Fitness Programming for Peloton, and the literal reason I am here stronger than ever.
This is not an ad for Peloton. It is an ad for boundaries, consistency and mental fortitude.
I cannot begin to count how many times I have sobbed, worked out my anger or accessed joy on this bike that goes nowhere. I will not give up the time for ANYTHING. Because every time I got on the bike I remembered who I was, what my purpose was and found my strength. And THAT is the gift. The consistency of grounding myself in who I am and what I am capable of.
A few years back (what even is time), Brené Brown talked about how before she would do another book tour, she would have to be physically, mentally and spiritually fit. That type of work takes so much out of you that you have to go in with the training and stamina under your belt. As if you would ever try and run a marathon after having taken a few “practice” 1-mile walks. That’s not how Big Work works.
I knew this would be how I approached running a campaign. I had to build the boundaries, routines and mental stamina to withstand several months of the most challenging project of my life. And so help me, if I hadn’t had Robin Arzón creating the space I needed every day to cry, scream, set a personal record with angry pedal strokes, or just reminding me that what I did that day was enough, I would not have made it. I would not have crossed the finish line.
Having a trigger to remind yourself daily that you are a complete badass is life-giving. Robin could remind me that, sure, but the act of resilience is me taking that moment to BELIEVE it. Every single time.
I have sky high boundaries to protect the time on my calendar that is used so efficiently. I can kick my own ass over the course of 30 minutes while releasing the baggage I was carrying and finding my misplaced swagger, all at the same time? That is the most effective 30 minutes of my day.
And because that time was protected, I have exercised consistently for 5 days each week for over two years straight. That hasn’t happened since I left the swim team my senior year of high school.
This is not about the exercise. It is about creating the space you need to recharge who you are. We simply cannot do the meaningful, gnarly Big Work of our lives for the long haul if we don’t have someone like Robin reminding us to remind ourselves to straighten our damn crown.
Finding Robin Arzón saved my life because it gave me a way to show up to the Big Work of my life over and over again. And in a way that my soul understands – by giving 150%.
About the author:
Katie Rasoul is a keynote speaker, writer, leadership coach and Chief Awesome Officer for Team Awesome, a leadership coaching and culture advising firm. She is a TEDx speaker alumna, author of the best-selling book, Hidden Brilliance: A High-Achieving Introvert’s Guide to Self-Discovery, Leadership and Playing Big, and co-host of The Life and Leadership Podcast.
Learn more about Katie’s signature talks at www.katierasoul.com.