Saturday, September 5, 2009
My BIG news
OK, here it is....
On Monday, August 31, 2009, after 12 years as a Master Instructor for the Spinning Program, I resigned my MI position with Mad Dogg Athletics.
Phew, that was even difficult to write! I can tell you that this past week has been one of the most pivotal and emotional weeks I've experienced in a dozen years (not even counting the stress and emotion of selling a house and moving. Man, put all that emotion in one week and it's been hard not to be overwhelmed).
How do you leave something that has been such an integral part of who you are? How do you leave a program that has been a part of how you define yourself? That has presented opportunities that you never thought possible?
Before I tell you the why and how, let's fade back in time to about 13 years ago...
It was early 1997. I was a personal trainer at the Vail Cascade Club (now the Aria Spa & Club) in Vail, Colorado. I had been teaching Step, Body Sculpting, Ski Conditioning, and this new thing called Spinning. We had recently brought in a Master Instructor from New York for the Spinning certification. I remember thinking "God! What a great job she has! Flying around the country certifying instructors, and she gets to come to Vail, Colorado!" (I can't remember who she was...she wasn't with Mad Dogg for very long apparently).
The day I got certified was a transition point in my life. As a cyclist, it bowled me over like a freight train - I was empowered by the potential, by the magnitude, by the possibilities of Spinning! "WOW! This is IT!" I thought. I discontinued teaching Step because I didn't have to choreograph anymore - I had always been such a perfectionist and spent hours and hours on my choreography. Spinning allowed me to connect with my students far more than dance type classes, and it was based on something I was already so passionate about already - cycling. It also allowed me to use my own music and not canned aerobics music; I immediately found that I had a skill for designing very effective profiles that simulated real outdoor riding combined with music that helped elevate the mood and energy of the class. I was also a ski instructor in Vail, and was able to apply the coaching skills I learned in skiing. As a coach, I love the one-to-one contact with my student.
About 6 months later, I received the Spinning newsletter with a call for presenters. I filled out the application with trepidation, since I had only been teaching Spinning for a short time. But, I had experience teaching and coaching many genres of exercise and sports, I was certified in group fitness and was a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, I had a degree in Exercise Science and loved the physiology aspect of training, I was a cyclist and had experience coaching many clients to ride up big hills in my bicycle tours. I was also experienced at public speaking. But I still had no idea I had a chance; I remember joking with my peers that what on earth would I do if they called me?
A few weeks later I received a call from Joelle at Mad Dogg Athletics for an in-depth interview. That call was truly the beginning to the rest of my life. I fulfilled each of the subsequent requirements one after the other. Back then it was a long process to apply as an MI, including sending in a video of me teaching, and speaking into the camera on why I thought I would be a good presenter.
I was invited to the Spinning Presenter training camp in California shortly afterwards where I spent a week with Johnny G and over a dozen other amazing people from around the world.
(If I don't stop myself now, this post will be waaaaay too long, so let's pop forward a dozen years...at another time I'll tell you more about those amazing days with Johnny G and my phenomenal peers.)
In the past 12 years, I have been inspired by some of the most amazing people, coaches, athletes and instructors that I've worked with or trained. Many of the other Master Instructors I worked with I looked up to as mentors. I have had the opportunity to inspire thousands of people at conferences to go beyond self-perceived limitations and to realize their potential as coaches. I have written several important continuing ed programs and articles for MDA, most which brought the outdoors indoors. I have traveled internationally. I have done trainings at tiny little clubs in the countryside with 10 bikes on up to very large facilities in metropolitan cities with 65 bikes. I've experienced facilities ranging from amazing personalized boutique clubs and studios in the suburbs, to high-tech gyms in corporate fitness or university facilities, to large major chain clubs.
I certainly haven't done it for the money (my husband even jokes that I practically pay for the privilege), but the personal rewards have been countless, endless. Spinning gets into your blood. I LOVE Spinning. I LOVE the mind-body aspect of Spinning. I LOVE the fitness and health it's brought me, and has allowed me to bring to others. I LOVE being a Master Instructor. I LOVE inspiring others. I LOVE the people I've met.
However, in the past several years, I've been approached with several opportunities in indoor cycling that I have had to turn down because of my loyalty to Spinning.
Concurrently, in the past several years I've been attending seminars, reading books and joining coaching programs on entrepreneurship and building a business with the intention of growing my bicycle tour business and potentially creating an online business for bicycle tours in Europe. During this time I was exposed to the wonders of social media such as blogging (hence, this and other blogs I started), Facebook, Twitter, forums, podcasting, and more. It's truly amazing the opportunities that are out there if you look, and if you aren't afraid to learn, explore and grow.
I learned about how to develop a niche market, rather than go for the BIG market. I learned about promotion and PR and internet marketing and eBooks. I even wrote my own eBook which has been very successful and well-received, and I have some big plans for additional ones. It's such an inexpensive learning tool, a great way to reach people with excellent information.
Long story short, I have a deep desire to do something for myself. I also have an MBA from way back when, and perhaps that's been stirring inside me to do something more for myself. It's not just about the money (but a greater income doing my passion will be nice). For me, it's also about self-actualization. It's TIME for me to move on. It's TIME that I at least try some of the things I've been learning about, and take advantage of some of the half-dozen or so opportunities that have been presented to me.
In order to do so, I had to become a "free agent". By taking off the partisan hat I can "reach across the aisle" so to speak and inspire and touch many other instructors as well.
Sooooo, you will not lose me! I just won't be attached to Mad Dogg Athletics and Spinning. But remember, you can take the girl out of Spinning, but you can't take Spinning out of the girl! It's firmly implanted in my heart, in my soul. I hope to leave doors open with Spinning for potential projects in the future, as they continue to grow and lead the industry as they always have, and always will. My plan is to complement the Spinning program.
I have three opportunities that I will be working on immediately (and three others in the next 4-8 months). One of them is so exciting I can't wait to tell you about it! Go here and listen to the podcast about ICI PRO, which will launch soon.
I will be changing the name of this blog soon. I will still be giving you great information, but I'll be spending more time over on the ICI site. You will discover when you listen to the podcast, that there will be a portion of the information that will be on a paid site, so you as an instructor can grow even more and really find that spark of inspiration. This too is a very inexpensive way to reach even more instructors.
I am also hoping to come out to your club to present Master Classes. Please contact me for more information on how I can do that.
Thank you everyone for your comments and emails, and mostly for your patience lately as I focus on my personal life and moving. I am very, very excited for the future, and I look forward to sharing even more with you!