An Update, Part Two

Oh, you guys. I’ve been waiting nearly a year to hit publish on this blog post.

bow-&-drape-custom-shirt

It’s a long one this morning but if you 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.

Where we last left off on the personal front, I’d somewhat recently left my job in digital media. 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.

soulcycle-chicago-instructors

I’M A SOULCYCLE INSTRUCTOR IN-TRAINING! 
**Update, 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 long time. It’s been a process of blisters, sweat, tears, confidence-building and 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.

soulcycle-sweatshirt

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 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 grown into this insatiable aspiration to inspire.

Simply put: SoulCycle is my lifestyle.

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[custom bow & drape beanie]

Here’s how it happened:

Nearly two years ago, I moved to New York to chase “The Dream” — you might remember that story.

At the time, I was working in advertising, so I figured that a good dream was to work at a reputable agency on popular 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. And I worked a lot, man. 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 — one wrong push notification was all it took to dictate my mood.

I’m not saying these are bad things — I love to work. Working actually makes me really happy. But we’ll get to that.

diy-sequin-beanie-hat

Throughout my exploratory love affair with New York City, I began to experiment with hobbies (beyond blogging). Jess suggested SoulCycle, and it was only a matter of time before I had to see what the hype was about. 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.

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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 live and buy nice things, here.

The ambiguity of what I wanted to do with my life stressed me out (even further), so I threw myself into the escapism of SoulCycle.

soulcycle-manifesto

My after-work hobby soon became a full-blown obsession and, not long thereafter, foundational to my life. At some point, it became almost spiritual. I was noticing the way I felt before, during and after a class. (Sweaty, 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.

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 haute mess of mental garbage in those hour-long spurts.

Looking back, it’s clear that SoulCycle helped me mentally and physically evolve into the person I’ve always wanted to be.

It’s not that I became a health-nut, necessarily –but I’ve grown into the understanding that you’re responsible for filling your life with as much positive energy as possible… (On a related note, I’m testing out 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 the community.

green-juice-now-shirt

SoulCycle shifted my entire life’s perspective, which ultimately spilled over into the content I create for corals + cognacs. I started to write about the breakthroughs I’d have in those classes — which entailed everything from inner beauty to being more mindful and yep, even the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my 20’s.

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, I realized, you give. Whether it’s words, advice, inspiration or compliments. You just give what you can.

This is where the idea was born that I could further manifest my passions — in training to (hopefully) become a SoulCycle Instructor.

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 a 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.

hallie-soulcycle-instructor

The ah-ha moment came in May 2014.

After seven years in online marketing – and many, many months of subconscious “Soul searching” – it dawned on me that I was done with digital. I was finished 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.

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.

soulcycle-chicago

I wasn’t admitted.

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.

bow-&-drape-sequin-sweatshirt

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.

hallie-wilson-soulcycle_2[custom bow & drape sweatshirt]

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.*]

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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.

soulcycle-hallie-wilson

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…

Love,
Hallie

find-your-soul

///

Lydia Hudgens Photography (as well as photos from my Instagram)

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.

159 comments

  1. Ahhhhh yay!!!!! This is so amazing! Soul has changed my life as well! Looking forward to jumping into one of your classes in spring ☺️

  2. Congrats Hallie! I think you will make an amazing instructor!

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now but haven’t commented yet (yes, I’m a bad lurker!) but your journey with this really connected with me…

    I was made redundant back at the beginning of January (Happy New Year!) but had been re-thinking my career for a few months prior (working in Marketing/Comms). Luckily I’ve landed on my feet quick quickly and now have a new job to pay the bills in the meantime, but I don’t think my period of ‘questioning’ my path has finished yet.

    Over the last year, I’ve fallen in love with a fitness programme and the weekend after I found out about my redundancy, an instructor commented on my performance in class and asked if I’d ever thought about being an instructor -it was such a well-needed confidence boost.

    The same week, I was catching up on your blog and read that you’d quit your job (and re-read the post about ‘taking a minute’.).

    I guess what I’m saying is that the combination of these events inspired me to really think about my work, and to feel OK for once about questioning it. Maybe I could do something else, maybe I dont have to stick to this career path. Maybe I can get off the corporate treadmill too!!

    I wish you all the best with the new adventures and look forward to reading all about them!

  3. THAT IS AWESOME!!! So happy for you!
    It’s because of your posts that I’ve been finding my way back to fitness and really enjoying it, so thank you thank you thank you(!!!) for helping me!

  4. Giiiirrrrllllll, i feel like this whole post just gave me INSPIRATION. I got so lost in it, then when it was done i sat here in my office realizing I need to make changes. I commented a couple posts ago about how amazing/fit you look! Any posts on healthier habits and what not would be great, too 🙂 now i will sit here and ponder what i want to be doing with my life for the rest of the day. I think you also need to take up writing a novel on the side or something, i seriously zone out when i read your writing and get so lost in it! Anyway, PROPS to you and CONGRATS!!!!

  5. Hallie! I am welling up with HAPPY tears at my desk (coffee in hand, of course) for you. Heart and soul shines through your words and I absolutely love reading about your transformation, and look forward to hearing more. It’s inspiring and so incredibly relatable, I wonder if I have some deep, deep thinking to do… thank you for sharing this story so openly!

    Super excited to take your class and to see everything in active practice.

    xxoo
    Linds

  6. This is so exciting and so INSPIRATIONAL. I am soooo pumped up for you – you’re going to KILL it as an instructor. Next time I’m in NYC, I’ll be signing up for a class with you. Seriously, you’re going to be the most motivating soul instructor evaaaaa. Go girl!!!!

  7. CONGRATS lady!! So happy for you, excited for you and in a weird way I feel proud, haha—knowing you and having seen you on some of this journey. The first time I was in a class & Parker pulled you up on the podium I had a feeling this was coming for you 🙂 Can’t wait to take your class…and hear all your killer playlists 😉

  8. My heart feels so full reading this post and knowing even a portion of what you’ve gone through to get to this, my god do you deserve it. Your happiness radiates in person and so beautifully in your words and I pray I find the day that I recognize exactly what I’m meant to do in life. Thank you for being a constant inspiration to me – I feel so lucky blogging brought us together and am honored to call someone as stellar as you my friend. CONGRATS again!

  9. YEAH GIRL! This is so inspiring! Cycling has changed my life too. I’ve wanted to become an instructor at my studio and this is the push I needed to make moves. GET IT!

  10. Hallie!! So exciting, CONGRATS!! We don’t have a SoulCycle here in Chicago yet, but I got hooked on spinning through Flywheel here and it is seriously my drug of choice. Way to go after what makes you happy, when I’m back in NYC signing up for your class will my first to-do. Fantastic writing as always and congrats again – you are going to be one killer instructor.

  11. Love this post. So proud of you, Hallie. I have loved reading your blog for so long, it’s so great to see people accomplishing their goals.

    Funny story – THIS weekend I’m getting certified to teach a weight lifting class that I’ve been taking for awhile now. Your journey totally captures how I have felt – so nervous to do it, but so thrilled about this opportunity at the same time.

    Thanks for sharing this and for being so inspiring!

    xx

    http://www.successonstilettos.wordpress.com

  12. This is a really inspiring post! Even though I’m not an instructor, I totally identify with your pursuit of your goals (I started my own company this August). Congrats!

  13. Congratulations! I loved reading this story, as I see myself a lot in it. We don’t have SoulCycle here and probably never will (again, #upstateNYproblems), but I’ve been spinning 3-4 times a week for two years now at my local gym, and it has definitely been an emotional release for me, almost spiritual at times – and yes, I’ve been right there with you with those ugly cries. I’ve made friends with other gym members and my favorite instructor has become one of my closest friends and confidants. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love your fight-for-it attitude, can’t wait to read about your new journey, and I’d love to take one of your classes if I’m ever in the city!
    PS – You have always looked great but you can definitely tell a difference in your body! Very inspirational! (…as I try not to eat all of the carbs, burrowed under three blankets on the couch while the windchill is -25 outside…)

  14. That is SO exciting!!! Congratulations! I love love soul cycle, it’s absolutely addicting and I cant get enough of it. I never thought I would like any form of exercise enough to actually rave about it to my friends and family non stop. Can’t wait to take your class!

    xx

  15. Amazzzing post and a huge congrats on your new adventure, Hallie! You look gorgeous and glowing. Fitness is my favorite hobby too, but I’ve yet to take a Soulcyle class. I hope to take yours soon! Best of luck. xo

  16. Hallie! This is so great! You’re going to be an amazing Soul Cycle instructor (seriously, how do you do it, it just about killed me). On another note, thank you for being this totally truthful, honest, awesome blogger. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences however bad or good they may be. It’s definitely inspiring. Good luck!

  17. Amazing, wonderful, inspiring. Am on vacation rethinking my life’s direction and this was the perfect post. Congrats, good luck and well done. You’re going to kill it.

  18. Congratulations! So excited for you and can’t wait to take one of your classes! Thank you for being always true to yourself. I look forward to reading your blog with every new post and this one made me super excited with the instagram tease!

  19. Ahhh congratulations!!! This is such an exciting new chapter in your life! I loved reading this and could easily pick up on your true passion for SoulCycle and everything it’s given you. Your powerful words and story reminded me of my own journey towards one of the things I wanted most out of life – to move to NYC. I was also rejected the first time I attempted the move (I wanted to stay with my current job) and pushed on until I got the acceptance. You’re so right – you CAN do anything with your life with persistence, resilience, and dedication.

    Congrats again!!!

  20. Now I know what I’ll be doing on my next trip to NYC, taking your class!! Congratulations on your new adventure! I have been feeling somewhat in a rut myself and seeing you achieve your dreams gives me some motivation and a positive push I need.

    Now, can we talk amazing workout playlists??

  21. This is amazing! I’m so glad you kept going for it and got it on the second try – sometimes things just need more time to percolate before they work out the way they’re supposed to! BUT I also agree with you – you can’t just wait around for your dream to happen, you have to go for it! Speaking of going for it, my trip to NYC this weekend convinced me I need to GO FOR IT and get my rear in gear to move there.

    Thanks for posting this, I needed to read it today!

  22. lurker coming out of the shadows!

    i have to say, recently, you’ve been GLOWING in photos….i have thought a lot about how damn good you’re looking. And not just healthy and as you said, 20 lbs lighter – but your face. Your smile. It’s really obvious you’re in a good, good spot. And you know what? I am ENVIOUS! I am going through a rough, in fact the roughest yet, patch of my life. I’ve been struggling to pick up the pieces and find that self-belief again. So I need to ask you…how do you come back from the ‘no’? The ‘no’s’ systematically destroy me and my self-worth…..gosh I’ve been so hard on myself, it’s almost embarrassing. but really….what’s YOUR secret? I crave and lust after that strength and inner peace people (you!) have and admire it so, so much.

    Basically, I’m on the edge of getting the f**$ outta town and doing some eat, prey, love crap. I’m that desperate to find myself!!! But girl’s gotta pay the bills too.

    I’d love to know more about the way you handle this and get over those no’s!

    I’m rarely inspired by most blogs, and if i’m 100% honest, a lot of these blogger ladies are so unrelatable…or not always transparent about life’s knock backs. But this? You know what…way to go. I’m inspired. You are a breath of fresh air! 🙂

  23. Amazing, Hallie. I had a similar experience with Soul Cycle when I moved to LA. I was never huge on fitness, but I knew that it was essential to my well-being, so I went by myself and tried a class, and I was forever changed. It became something so much bigger than just working out. If I was low on energy and just wanted to walk home high on endorphins with a feeling like I could do anything, I’d go to Soul Cycle.
    I just quit my job, moved out of LA, and started a blog. It’s exactly what I want to be doing, but it’s hard not to feel a little lost sometimes. Thank you for continuing to inspire me. Hopefully the next time I find myself in NYC I can take one of your classes 🙂

  24. Congrats, Hallie! I, too, have become addicted (and have found myself sobbing in class). Very very happy for you. I think I saw you at 63rd Street a couple of weeks back. It didn’t hit me til after you left.

  25. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I could not imagine a better motivator than you to sit a top a stationary bike and lead a pack of awesome cyclists. If I find myself in New York, I will make sure to pop in on your class!

    Also this post was inspirational, as a 27 year old, who still searches for her dream, it is nice to know that it can still be out there and I just have to keep searching.

    I look forward to hearing more about this amazing adventure.

    Xo
    Brittany

  26. OH MY GOD. This is amazing. First of all, I need that sweater. Second of all, you are the perfect embodiment of SoulCycle. I always try to explain to people what it means to be sitting in that room for 45 minutes and how an exercise class could possibly feel like therapy, and I feel like you just have to be there in the moment and sweating your ass off to realize your worth and what you’re capable of. I’ve written SO many blog posts in my head while I’m on that bike because it’s just such a rush of every kind of emotion.

    Proud of you, Hallie! Can’t wait to ride in your class if I’m ever in New York!!

    xx Sally http://loveandsparkles.com/

  27. YAYYY! So happy for your Hallie! I can’t wait to hear more about this journey. I’m feeling rather lost myself and am searching for what’s next and this post has definitely been the kick in the ass that I need to start exploring my options.

    PS Soulcycle is coming to CHICAGO! Woot woot! I can’t wait to try it.

    xoxo, Jen
    http://www.comfortably-chic.com

    • I’m SO excited for your studio to open. You will fall in love, girl! Looking forward to hearing what you think. x

      (And don’t worry — like I said, I’m 29. Everything happens to people at different points in their lives!)

  28. Congratulations girlie! Soul Cycle is an amazing place and community- congrats to you for becoming an even bigger part of it! If you can put in a good word for them to open in Boston (the studio close by now is outside the city…), I’d love ya forever!

  29. SO excited for you Hallie! I think this is so amazing. Congrats! I’ve never been to a Soul Cycle class, but I would love to try it some day.

    Nikki
    thefashionablewife.com

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  31. You’re amazing! So inspiring + a great way to put things. I literally just joined a gym yesterday and am taking my first spin class on Saturday. I’ll be channeling you (minus the ugly crying, hopefully) in there. Can’t wait to see you continue on your journeys.

  32. I have been following your blog since (well forever), and I had noticed a change in you… couldn’t put my finger on it. Now I know what is was! And this is so inspiring! thank you!

  33. Congratulations on this exciting new chapter! You can really tell how passionate you are through your words and it’s awesome to hear how you are pursuing and achieving your dreams.

  34. I fucking love this. And you’ll really need some more Pre now 🙂 I’m studying to get my personal trainer certification this year. I’m not entirely positive what I’m going to do with it, but your huge-ass set of balls is inspiring.

  35. You’re so inspiring! So much so that I took my first Cycle class this morning! I’m officially hooked! Congratulations on the new chapter!! xoxo

  36. Congrats Hal! You are so inspiring I swear every time I read a post of yours I feel lifted. I will never forget when I first met you oh so long ago, you were the best roommate I ever had! You filled me with positive energy when I needed it the most, made me laugh until i cried, and probably most importantly introduced me to the love of my life. I am so grateful to have you in my life! I need to see your face it has been wayyyyy too long!

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  43. Congrats!!! One of my favorite classes was when Becca shared her Soul story on her 1 yr. anniversary of becoming an instructor (very similar to yours).

    Although I have no desire to become an instructor that 45 (or 60 minutes if I do Soul Survivor) is my favorite part of the week.

    You are a true Athlete, Legend, Warrior, Renegade and Rockstar for following your passion and dream!

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  46. So happy to hear about your journey — your excitement and happiness is contagious! Love the authenticity in your writing. Currently listening to the desire map experience, and your story is such an embodiment of that. Congrats lady!

  47. What a great story! I just went to my first Soul class on tuesday and feel like this blog came to me at the right time 🙂

    I finished the class (YAH!) but barely! Felt pretty defeated (but lighter 🙂 ) and just want to make sure that is normal for the first class 🙂 Im going to try again on Tuesday and fingers crossed I’m a bit better 🙂

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  49. I just wanted to tell you how awesome this is. Best of luck in your new endeavor. I totally know how it feels to start a new chapter and move into a new direction in life!

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  59. Not sure how I missed this post? Just saw the link to this on Jessica’s personal Facebook page. I am SO proud of you! You looked great when I saw you briefly at Madison Square Garden in December. I did not realize that was Jessica was responsible for turning you on to Soul Cycle. Chicagoans will be so lucky to have you as their instructor. Hopefully we will be able to see you over the Fourth of July.

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  64. i just stumbled upon your blog and I LOVE it! I am definitely in a similar place in my life as you were experiencing. I cant wait to read about all your future success! I would love to be in this training program and believe that the journey to self discovery is all the more valuable to becoming an instructor truly living out the foundation that SoulCycle is built upon. Best of Luck!

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  67. This is the first post I’ve ever read from you, and I’m kinda in love. So inspiring! I hope to write a post like this about my own goals someday.

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  81. Hallie, I love everything about this post! I stumbled upon it as I was trying to get more insight to the audition process.

    I’m auditioning December 7th and am a bundle of joy and nerves ….do you have any advice you could share?!

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