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SW's JOURNAL

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WHAT IS YOUR STAGE?

Samantha Wills

With my friend (and Soul Cycle Instructor extraordinaire!), Mantas Zvinas.

With my friend (and Soul Cycle Instructor extraordinaire!), Mantas Zvinas.


Don’t post to teach or preach, post what YOU need to hear/read, because I guarantee you that someone else is feeling the same way and needs to read it right now.

You have a story to tell. It's unique and authentic. It's yours.

Don't post to teach or preach, post what YOU need to hear/read, because I guarantee you that someone else is feeling the same way and needs to read it right now. 

Social media is a polished highlight reel. Don't get me wrong, I love an artistic latte flat lay, outfit of the day, or an enviable vacay inspo as much as the next person! But how refreshing is it to read some realness along the way?

The question 'what is your stage?' came to me on Dec 1st last year. I was in New York City, on my birthday, spending the morning riding in a Soul Cycle class, under the instruction of my friend (and fav SC teacher) Mantas Zvinas. As it was my bday, Mantas tapped my hand and motioned to his bike, under the spotlights on the podium at the front of the room. I jumped up and quickly clipped into the bike facing the class of 60 riders, listening to Mantas' instruction, (but having to reverse the left and right motions so I was mirroring the class). I was nervous as shit, but after nearly 350 classes, was filled with adrenalin to be on the podium (no Mum, not that kind of podium).

Mantas introduced me to the class, between tap backs and sprint instructions, and said some really nice things about me, (none of which I can remember now, as I was so focused on reversing my left and right) but the thing with Soul Cycle, is that whilst each teacher has a different approach, all offer up inspiring words and thoughts for the soul.

When I found Mantas' class, I came for the ass-whipping workout, but stayed for his message. It changes frequently, depending on what he's reading or has experienced personally. Sometimes it’s something he is reflecting on, or simply something inspiring that he felt compelled to share.

As the lights dimmed on the final hill push of the class, and I sat on the podium bike, I closed my eyes and wondered; if I were a Soul Cycle teacher, and this podium was my daily stage, what message would I bring to the class? What would I speak about for the 45 minutes for which people pay the cost of a vital organ, to be on a bike to sweat their butt off and to top up their soul? 

Afterwards I sent Mantas a pic of our Polaroid with a note thanking him for his kind words, and for allowing me to share his stage. 

The paragraph I opened this article with is one I read in a book by Rebecca Campbell, 'Light Is The New Black'; Don't post to teach or preach, post what YOU need to hear/read, because I guarantee you that someone else is feeling the same way and needs to read it right now. It really made me appreciate the power in sharing your story with transparency and vulnerability. In the early days I would rush through my story, assuming no one really wanted to hear it, or that I was boring them, or they didn't really care for what I had to say. It wasn't until people started approaching me afterwards, asking me to elaborate on something I'd skimmed over, or telling me that it had really inspired them but that I spoke too fast, and could I tell them again. 

Mantas' stage is the Soul Cycle podium, with an actual Madonna mic. (I know. I'm jealous also!) 

Sometimes I have the opportunity to do corporate speaking and share my story, and my stage can be anything from a boardroom to an arena. Sometimes my stage is Instagram.Sometimes it's this very website.

What is your stage? And how are you using your time at the microphone?

The more we can share our vulnerabilities, our experiences, our shortcomings, and the more we can peel back the perfect filters and the overnight success stories, the more we connect. And when people connect, there is a shift; a shift to empowerment, and a shift towards building communities that rally and support each other - and I think that is a really beautiful, and empowering thing. 

Post and talk about what you need to hear. Write vulnerably and speak slowly. Your words will impact people you didn't even know were listening/reading. -SWx


SOUL CYCLE (And obviously if you're ever in NYC, book a ride with Mantas! He is the best and will give one if the best/most hilarious workouts of your life, all the while challenging you to push the boundaries you have built around yourself - Thx for it all MZ. Forever indebted to you – SWx)