The Most Important TED Talk You May Ever Watch—Do NOT Miss This!

If you have not seen this TED Talk yet, what are you waiting for? It is the third most viewed TED Talk ever (I believe it’s over 20 million). If you don’t have time right now (it’s 18 minutes) make space in your day today. Do.Not.Wait.

You might ask, “But Jennifer, he’s talking about businesses like Apple and Tivo and big movements like Civil Rights…what’s it have to do with teaching indoor cycling?”

…only everything!

While you are watching this, keep repeating to yourself the following:

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.


Now, I’ve got homework for you…

Those who have known me for a long time are probably familiar with my ride called How Big Is Your Why, which I first presented at WSSC. It’s a tremendously impactful journey ride that helps our riders uncover their Why, their most compelling reason why they are in your class (or why they have set a particular goal), and in the process, inspires them to be even more committed to coming to your classes and to their goals.

But now, I want you to run yourself through this same filter outlined in that ride. Why do you do what you do? Why do you spend so much time on your profiles and playlists? Why do you get up early, or take up your evenings, or drive all over to get to your classes? Why do you spend so much money on music? Why do you challenge yourself to be better at coaching, at presenting your classes, at delivering your “product”? Why do you pay for conferences, workshops, for an ICA membership, or for books so that you can learn more?

I’d be willing to bet, for most of you, it’s not for money (although there may be a few of you who think that’s why).

Second question…

How do you talk about your class? Do you tell potential students that you are the best DJ, or have the hardest class, or that they’ll burn the most calories, or that you’re the most technical, or the most fun?

Back to the first question…

Think again about how you talk about your class, and now try to reframe it to include why you do what you do.

My goal is to set instructors on fire, so you can truly find your mission and inspire more riders. A by-product of this is that you’ll likely fill your classes, and perhaps make more money, but as Simon Sinek says in his talk, that is the result.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Stay tuned to ICA over the next few months! =)

Enjoy this TED Talk and please leave your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. Amen! Had not seen this…so true on so many levels, including spin. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Why Spin and why lead others in Spinning? For the freedom and empowerment that being fit gives (not to mention the happy mind & body, too). I want to be fit to participate in any adventure that comes my way and Spinning is the vehicle that gets me there.

  3. My WHY is because I want people to love spinning like I love spinning.

  4. Very powerful. It is the WHY, why we teach. It is the passion you feel helping students reach their goals.

  5. Thanks for posting this. Just loved listening to him talk about something so inspiring to everyone. It definitely related to what we do as instructors. I believe I can inspire my classes to want to come back for themselves because they will know why I do what I do.
    I will be thinking about this as I go in to teach from now on. Kathy

  6. I am so glad you shared this video with us and posed the questions that you did. I do what I do because of the great feeling I get when all the work comes together in a class and the participants do what you ask them to do not because they have to but because they want to. I believe that people’s lives can be changed and improved upon by exercise and our society as a whole can benefit by the improved health and fitness of it’s members. When things get tough and challenging I will remember the “Why”, tell people what I believe and why am I am leading group fitness classes. Thank you

  7. I had watch this before !! yes it i get talk and makes a lot of sense

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