Thought-Provoking Concept: What Would Your Students Say About You if You Were to…Go Away?

In the wake of the two recent tragic losses in the indoor cycling community, I’ve seen many friends of Jeff’s and Jim’s post thoughtful reflections and reminders on Facebook such as the following:

Life is short and you never know when it will be your time, so enjoy the moment!

Don’t wait to tell those you love that you love them.

Life is precious—use your time wisely.

These are wonderful messages that hopefully give you pause to reflect on your own life. But are you willing to take the scary step and reflect even deeper on your impact on the world? Are you willing to ask the most challenging question of all, and then take the steps to make sure the answer to that question is in line with your philosophy?

What would people say about you in your eulogy?
How would you be remembered after you die?

This kind of reflection, and the steps you take to make sure you live a life you are proud of, will help to deliberately steer the direction and altitude of your life. You can also use this kind of introspection to steer the direction of your coaching in your cycling classes. Imagine what your students would say about you if you passed away (heck, you don’t even have to die—perhaps you just leave them after many years and simply stop teaching there). If you’ve read much of what I’ve written over the past few years, you would know that I’ve often expressed how I believe that being an indoor cycling coach is much, much more than just someone barking out orders or leading a class or being a DJ and entertainer. You, as an instructor, have the opportunity to change lives.

I believe this is the case much more with Spinning® / indoor cycling classes than with most other group exercise formats. Personal trainers as well have this amazing potential.

So, ask yourself…what would your students say if you left this earth? Would they say:

He had the best music ever!
I lost 10 pounds in her classes.
She yelled harder and made me work harder.

Or…would your student say something like the following:

I became a student of Jim’s at OmPower during a difficult period in my life, and his teachings have been beyond invaluable to me. He helped me so much. Before I met Jim, I’d attended many indoor cycling classes, and my tendency had always been to let my body take over and my mind space out. Jim’s teachings changed all of that. Jim taught us to embrace the physical discomfort of working the body hard; not to fear it, and not to turn away; he taught us the discipline of keeping the mind present, and focused only on the moment at hand. He taught us about motivation, and how to immerse ourselves in the sensations of cycling, he taught us to match our breath to our pedal strokes using cadence and music as our tools, and there were moments when I sensed that the entire class was breathing as one. He taught us, in a special class that he led right before Christmas, that is indeed possible to achieve a peak heart rate by cycling to a spastic version of Silent Night. He taught us how to maintain focus when distractions are present; to be alert and ready to react if necessary, but inwardly calm. I will forever be grateful for these life lessons, and I will miss his special wisdom dearly. My heart goes out to Jim’s family and close friends.

These are some of the most beautiful words I’ve seen written about the impact of an indoor cycling coach. They were written by  a student of Jim’s named Sally. There are many wonderful comments about Jim in the blog post in his honor, but Sally’s words really struck a chord. (Click here to read this one along with the others in the comments; they are all wonderful tributes.)

These are the words I’d like to know my students would say about me. But in order for that to happen, it’s up to me to make sure I educate and inspire them in every class.

How about you? What would your students say? Would you like to have a more powerful effect on your students? Then you can change the direction and altitude of your coaching; just make the choice to do it now! Jim would be happy to know he inspired you to do so.

The following was posted on the Facebook page of OMpower Cycling and Yoga, where Jim Karanas taught in San Francisco. Let us continue his ripple:

Jim Karanas:

An inspiration to us all…
He showed us a world of purpose, passion, and infinite possibilities…
He showed us that training far reaches beyond that of physical exercise and enters into the realm of spirit…
We are all blessed to have known him and trained with him…
And now, to honor him, we are all gifted with the task of carrying on that spirit and continuing his “ripple” into this world.

Eonia soue mnimi

“Eternal be your memory.”


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