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How Brent Set a Big Goal — And Reached It

hicago instructor B LOCEY talks about how he just reached one of his big life goals — and what kept him motivated along the way...

Congrats on completing your licensing exams for architecture! What interested you about studying it?
The first memories I have of knowing that I wanted to study/practice architecture are from my childhood vacations to visit my grandparents in Vero Beach, Florida and seeing all the amazing beach homes around them. At the end of their cul-de-sac, there was an open beach front lot and every time I walked to the beach I would imagine what kind of home I would design and how my family would enjoy the space inside and out. Year after year the land remained undeveloped while my plans for it grew more detailed. And then out of nowhere, on a spring break visit in high school, I noticed a house had been built and after years of dreaming what it could be, I found myself really disappointed in the end result. That's when I knew I had a passion for residential design.

What were some of the challenges you faced while studying for this degree?
Anyone who studied architecture in college or has friends that did understand that it is a crazy culture. If I had to summarize it in one phrase it would be “all-nighters.” I definitely didn't realize when I decided to study architecture that I would be spending many a late or even sleepless night in the design studio water coloring or computer rendering a semester's worth of one design program. There were certainly times I would question if the lack of sleep was worth it and if this was the college experience I wanted, but after each completed project I took a step back and realized I did enjoy the challenge and if anything I certainly knew the meaning of hard work.

Why did you decide to become a SOUL Instructor?
I've always loved coaching. Throughout high school and college I coached the swim team I grew up on and quickly realized I actually was more fulfilled by helping others achieve their goals than I had been with my own athletic accomplishments. After graduating from college, I started coaching on a USS swim team and also had stints as a high school and AAU basketball coach. Keeping my love of sports and competitive drive alive while also having a positive impact on others was something I wanted to keep in my life even as I worked for an architecture firm. After working and riding at SoulCycle in NYC for a couple of years, I moved back to the Virginia/Washington DC area to work for a firm but also oversee my design for the renovation of my parents’ house. Once SoulCycle opened in DC and caught on like wildfire, I started to ask myself if I could translate my love of fitness and coaching into being an instructor. I reached out to Garrett Schlosser, whose killer classes had been inspiring me, for advice and to hear his story and he couldn't have been more supportive. In fact he told me they were having auditions in two weeks and to "just do it!" I still had a ton of questions/concerns, primarily how I could possibly juggle being an architect and an instructor, but I really did feel a calling to at least give myself a chance to see what could be. And the rest is history and I couldn't be any happier!

And what motivated you to complete your licensing exams?
It was extremely important for me to complete my licensing exams for a couple of reasons. First, I believe that if you start something, you should finish it. There were a number of reasons why I originally wanted to get my architecture license and had already put a ton of time, money and effort into the process. And even as my life took a different turn towards the fitness world, I knew I would really beat myself up if all of that effort was for nothing. The second reason is because my family made me promise to them that as I took a chance on a new career with SoulCycle that I would complete my remaining exams. I am extremely blessed with the amount of love and support I have received from my parents and grandparents, especially by allowing me to study architecture at Notre Dame. So as much as I wanted to complete this for myself, I definitely wanted to make good on my promise to my family and reward their investment in me.

But you're staying at SOUL to lead the pack, yes?
OF COURSE! I had lots of riders congratulate me after I posted about completing my last exam. They were all so nice but also said, "They'd miss me" and "Good luck with your next step.” I quickly told them that they are stuck with me on the bike and I'm not going anywhere. As much as I enjoy design and would like to stay involved in some capacity, I am ALL IN on SoulCycle and have absolutely loved being able to lead the PACK.

How did you find the time to balance studying with leading the pack?
Honestly it was one of the bigger challenges I've gone through to find time to study all while teaching two to three classes a day and working with personal training clients. I was on "lock down" for two months and free time didn't exist. There were plenty of times that I have would rather been out with friends, watching a movie, or even sleeping more but I knew that this was a small window in my life where I needed to be extremely disciplined. I actually opened up to my riders about my "one big thing" I was going after at the start of 2017. I told them I had lots of resolutions and goals for the year but I couldn't focus on those until I completed this first one. In challenging them to possibly prioritize their first goal of the new year, I kept myself accountable in my studying and preparation because I knew I didn't want to let my pack down.

Where do you find inspiration?
During our final project presentations in the architecture program our jury would always ask us what our precedent for our own design was. Basically what historical buildings and architects had we researched to inspire our own unique design. I still use this starting process whether designing a house or composing a SoulCycle class or fitness workout. For my design work, I pour through my small library of books and magazine clippings, follow and other blogs, and go for beach walks or neighborhood drives to see what catches my eye and inspires me. For my SoulCycle classes, I often think about all the instructors I took as a rider, the senior and master instructors who trained me, and our awesome team here in CHGO to consider what they are doing to inspire and connect with riders and how I can use those ideas in my own way that is still true to coaching philosophy. There are amazing examples of people who have done and are doing great things that we don't need to copy, but should recognize and use to inspire our own unique interpretations.

What's your best advice for someone trying to complete a goal/trying to push through setbacks?
Surround yourself with people who care. If you are trying to complete a goal having a support system of friends and family not only keeps you positive, but also holds you accountable. Whenever I was exhausted or didn't feel like studying I called my parents who always filled my cup back up and reminded me of the promise I made to them. My college roommate and best friend had stayed on me, sometimes with tough love, about getting my license to finish what I started. Having them and so many others in the back of my mind as I hit the books each day fueled me. I think a caring support system is also important if you are trying to push through a difficult time or setback. Sometimes we think about "needing others" as a sign of weakness but in fact we are stronger and can more easily move forward when we rely on the people we love. Remind yourself that you have family and friends who would do anything for you and lean on those people in times of need.

Catch classes with BRENT at North Shore, Old Town, The Loop and Southport! Want to ride? Grab a series HERE and book a bike!

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