Everyday Heroes

I was thinking recently about where my inspiration comes from on a regular basis. It’s an intriguing question because I know that I get a lot of forward energy from inspirational people and experiences. As I contemplated the question, I was struck immediately by the simplicity of who came to mind.

Paul Pendleton, the guy who leads my favorite spin class—he inspires me. I am a dedicated road cyclist and so I spin indoors as part of my training regimen. And I suppose I spin with Paul 5-6 times per month. He’s very good at his craft, but what he’s best at is inspiring his audience.

Paul knows all of the names of his regular spinners. He connects with everyone during the class by exhorting them by name as he shouts over the music, “killer pace, Sheila” or “way to get after it, Brian” or “great work, Phil”. And his sound track is literally kick-ass—great music that is heavy on back beat and screaming guitars and is the driving energy behind his classes. But what sets him apart is what he says to us all, collectively, as we spin through what is always a tough workout:

“This is who we are and what we do. We didn’t come here to be comfortable. We’re here to get stronger, leaner, faster, more fit. You gotta exit the comfort zone to do that. Discomfort is temporary—staying comfortable and giving up is forever.”

And… “You made the choice to be here today, a choice to get better—to change your body, change your mind, change your life, change the world. Make sure you get what you came for.”

And finally, at the end of the workout, he thanks everyone for their effort and for their ongoing commitment to pursuing a healthy lifestyle

As you might imagine, Paul’s classes are packed, often over-booked. Why? Besides the great workout, music and camaraderie, he gets it. It’s personal and it matters, being inspired. And he delivers. Paul’s a regular guy, by the way, meaning he’s got a day job besides spinning instruction. He’s simply one of those everyday heroes, people who consistently inspire us to get better just by how they show up.

So, a question--where does inspiration come from in your life? Who are your everyday heroes, the folks that inspire you to be your best self?