Instructor Rises Up in the Face of Adversity

Shirin Beckett is a longtime ICA member and advocate for keeping it real and inspiring her students. She has a very loyal following at the studio where she teaches in Southern California, and regularly fills the room to capacity. On Thursday nights, she teaches a 90-minute tempo ride. Two weeks ago, the class had a waiting list. Shirin arrived to the studio early and started getting ready for the class, as students were beginning to file in. She turned on the stereo, and…nothing. No sound. No music. No mic. The girl at the front desk was doing everything she could to try to help figure it out, and was even on the phone trying to contact the owner for assistance. To no avail. Class was about to start and Shirin had to make a decision.

She went for it. She taught the entire 90 minutes without music and without a mic. Twenty students, a full class. One brand-new student who had never ridden with Shirin before.

That scenario might make many instructors rattle in fear, or perhaps even show their frustration and anger to their students. Even if they did proceed without the music, that frustration would filter its way through the entire ride.

What would you do if you had to teach a 90-minute ride without music?

If you were Shirin, you would smile, and offer the students an opportunity of a lifetime. She likened what had happened to their own training; it was what she taught them on a regular basis: take every challenge as an opportunity and see what you can do with it. I follow Shirin on Facebook and I saw some of the comments that were posted not only on her page, but on the page of Pedal Spin Studio in Claremont, California. Shirin knocked the socks off her students with this experience! I asked her if she could describe in an interview how she inspired her students to stay committed and engaged, so much so that they applauded at the end of class and gushed their appreciation the next day. Would you like to know how she did it?

Listen to this interview with Shirin. The next time you are faced with this kind of challenge (because if it hasn’t happened to you yet…just wait), just remember what Shirin did, and you will have no other option but to inspire and succeed!

>>Click here to save the MP3: Audio Interview<<

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I want you to see what some of the comments were. The first screen shot below is from the studio’s Facebook page, and the second two are from Shirin’s Facebook page. See what these students (and the studio owner) are saying. In the interview, Shirin reads an e-mail she received from one of the students the next day.

Shirin, my hat goes off to you!

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  1. Outstanding and very inspiring:) Thank you for sharing all aspects of this obviously wonderful teacher. Shannon

  2. Great work Shirin and great comments!

    Honestly, stuff like this happens to me a couple of times per year… no mic, missing ipod connector cord, forgotten ipod, dead battery, no power in the building, power failure mid ride, broken speakers, broken speaker cables, over the past 10 years I keep thinking I have seen or experienced it all but real life has many permutations.

    I would encourage other instructors to plan on spending some time teaching without music or a microphone. For me I was challenged by a Spinning Mentor to do a planned full class without music or a microphone, and it was a career changing experience.

    From the experience I gained confidence in my ability as an instructor, realized that connecting with students was possible without a mic or music and above all it gave me some freedom that from that point in time when the room or life deals me some bad cards I know I can always rely on the basics of connection, voice, rhythm to get me through.

    In fact when I presented to become a Ed-Rep for Krankcycle I had to do several classes without a microphone or without music, since I had been regularly doing it (on accident) a few times a year for 10+ years, it was simply another day at the office.

    I would encourage other instructors to take the plunge and do a class or two sans-music or sans-mic just to get the experience.

    I think the one room-curve-ball class that I couldn’t really “zen” my way through was when a maintenance crew was testing the fire alarm system for an entire class. That one was rough!

    Again great work! Thanks for sharing!

    bryon black

  3. I started spinning with Shirin 3 years ago and have not looked back. One of the many things I enjoy about her class is her interesting international music selections. Every song is timed/matched to the pace and intensity of the ride and it is always different. The fact that her ride is timed and carefully planned around music makes it even more impressive that she was able to pull off the amazing “quiet” ride. She is a wonderful instructor and inspiring person.

  4. I’ve been riding with Shirin for almost 3 years. I went to her with wear and tear on my knees from boot camp. She coached me while I recovered. She is amazing, an inspiration and a great motivator. She knew exactly what I needed to do for my recovery. I was at the point where I was running, kickboxing and spinning 6 days per week. Unfortunately I fell down during bowling and suffered a very bad knee sprain. While being home for a month all I could think of was getting back to Shirin’s class. She is once again coaching me to get back to my normal activities. I was very fortunate to be in her Thursday no music class. It was an amazing experience and one of the best workouts I’ve ever done. Every one of her classes is unique. Her enthusiasm for her class and her students is amazing. My entire family is are huge Shirin fans.

  5. GOOSEBUMPS!! Love you, Shirin! So blessed to ride with you for 3 years and to have been there that night. Not only did Shirin have the hurdle of the sound system failure to triumph over, but she had to see to it that the class energy stayed high and motivated through this set-back. But as you said, she has built up a tremendous trust with her riders. I have often sat on a bike in her class not feeling “up to it” but with only one commitment in my heart – “Just do whatever Shirin says and it’ll be ok”. She has never steered us wrong! She is intent on seeing us all succeed in all of our individual goals and is constantly telling us “when faced with a hill you have 2 choices, one – to climb, or two – to climb”. She leads by example. That is how you build true relationships with your riders.

    Such an inspiration to see a full class at the beginning AND at the end! The energy of the whole team, the breath, and the sound of the fly wheels creating wind was more than enough to keep us going!

    Bravo, dear Shirin! 🙂

  6. Wow! Shirin – this is truly extraordinary, and so inspiring! Your students are so lucky to have you as an instructor – Kudos!!!!

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