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Life on the Bike: Finding Fulfillment in All of Life’s Seasons with Bevin Prince
From living in NYC as an actor, to moving to small coastal town life in Wilmington and starting a business centered around community, Bevin Prince has done it all, seen it all, and had to process a lot along the way. Now she's creating the spaces to help others process what life throws at them and find joy, fulfillment, and community along the way. For this episode, she's sharing a peek into the journey and her advice on how you can find peace and fulfillment no matter what season of life you're in.
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Bevin Prince was an actress living in NYC. She found cycling and fell in love with it, so when she and her husband moved to the coastal town of Wilmington during COVID, she saw a gap she knew she needed to fill. She wanted to bring people connection and community in a time where it was needed most, so she got a loan, bought a tent and 25 bikes, and opened Recess, a high-intensity cycling studio that just moved into their brick and mortar location a few months ago.
Stephanie: The thing that I love that I've heard you talk about so much at different events and on podcasts is that you were really passionate about building community at a time when people really needed that. So talk a little bit about what that means for you and what happens. It's not just an exercise class or just a fitness thing, this is so much bigger for you.
Bevin: It feels much bigger. It was my intention when I started this to build an all inclusive community that is a representation of the way I want the world to be - kind and nonjudgmental and a space to make choices and decisions and maybe learn something about yourself and heal and grow and dance and just play. It was really what we set out to do, and I'm so incredibly proud of what we've done because it is a really safe space, and it's pretty dark in there, and even when we were in the tent, it still felt really safe in the sense that you're safe on the bike. We're really tough on ourselves and having the safety of the bike underneath you allows you the space to really learn and see what your thought patterns are like and what your process is like. And then in that safe space we can make really small decisions that over time bleed out into the rest of your life and help you make really big decisions and become a more confident, kinder version of yourself. We've really attracted people that are like minded in that way, and it's just the sweetest, most loving space. Don't get me wrong though, you're going to get an amazing workout too. It's not easy by any means, but you get to take it at your own pace. So it's less about judgment and more about consistency over perfection, right? It's just become a really incredible space for people to just come together and be human.
S: I love these women in my life who are really the whole package and doing such incredible things with their lives. So since you were an actor and that does have a lot to do with appearance and now you’re doing something that is still so public facing, what would you say to women on what to tell themselves? What’s the mantra when you’re in that place?
B: I think in terms of any career or craft that you do that requires the validation of others or the acceptance and clearance of others, it can be really, really difficult. And I wasn't getting feedback 90% of the time. So what I realized is, I was making myself miserable. I completely hated the process and it was because I had no way to self validate. So that's why I removed myself and went to grad school. I knew I needed to create some sort of toolbox, some sort of gauge for myself that allows me to walk away feeling proud or deciding how what changes I need to make to move forward to feel proud. So I worked really, really hard in finding little gauges along the way that I could use in order to self validate, even when the answer was no, knowing that it was completely out of my control.
S: I love that so much. Speaking of owning a business, are there things that overlap across the industries that you were able to take from that and now use to grow your business?
B: Yeah, definitely. I think being forward facing and my communication skills are pretty strong at this point in my life due to the fact that I did spend so much time studying humans and what we do and how we move react and just trying to really listen and respond, as opposed to being in my own head and generating my own false story. So I always say teaching fitness is really a big game of improv. It's just about being wholly present, listening, watching, observing, sensing, and trying to comment on what is actually happening in the room. So that's been something that's really helpful. I think my work ethic from obviously long hours on set, lots of rejection, lots of no’s.
I’m so persistent and until I hear an absolute no, I'm going to think there's a chance, so I'm going to keep doing whatever I can to make that happen.
Those are kind of the big ones.
S: Where have you found your people? Unemployment numbers are as low as they’ve been which is great for the average American worker, but when you’re trying to hire amazing people to help you grow this business, how have you found them?
B: My ride or dies, Callen Bush and Emily Lawler, I found at Cafe Del Mar, which is a coffee shop next to tower 7 that used to exist during COVID. I know that I'm someone that my gut is usually right on track and I met them and it was just the way they communicated to me, remembered our names and coffee orders and wrote little notes on them. So I pulled them aside and they were willing to come on board with me. And not only have they lived up to every single thing that I've asked of them, they have superseded it and have become partners of mine, not employees. They are smart and their skill set is broad and they are eager and anxious to learn. So I just really trusted my gut on the way that someone treats someone else. I kind of believe how you do anything is how you do everything and watching them in that space I was like, “Oh, this is going to work.” So they’re co-COOs of the company, and bottom line at this point is that if the company makes more money, they make more money, so there’s an investment for them now. As far as our instructors, I fought for one instructor, Carolyn, and she wasn’t sure about it but she came over and now she’s our lead instructor. She's kind of set the bar and everybody else has kind of just been there to rise with her. I think it’s just about choosing like-minded people. My husband taught me the importance of being really clear on your mission and staying really aligned with that. Our mission statement of what we're doing is very specific and clear. You understand what you're getting into when you join this company.
S: I know you’ve talked about losing your husband and that he really helped you grow this business, and I know these classes help people so much with processing their feelings and what they’re going through. Do you have any advice for how you’ve dealt with things and with the internal dialogue and mindset while you’re in that grieving process?
B: First things first, give yourself some grace. There's no rule book for this and everybody's experience with it is completely different. There's no timeline. You don't need to be doing something at any time. You don't need to be cleaning out drawers at any time. Give yourself some grace and allow and trust that you will move forward as you should on your own timeline. For me personally, I had a really difficult time understanding why. Like why him, why me, why was I still here. And I was at a wellness retreat sitting in a Reiki session and I started to kind of understand that I don't need to understand that Will's soul's journey has to be somewhere else now. Whether or not you believe that is up to you, but I believe in order of things. Will’s soul’s journey needed to go beyond this plane, and for whatever reason, mine is still here. I don't need to understand what that reason is, but I need to be open to experiencing whatever is next for me and left for me here. Whatever it is that I need to experience and do, I’m open to it, and I think that was a huge shift for me because with that comes a little bit of acceptance. You don't have to like it but accepting it allows you to say, okay, let's go. There was no other option for me but to be here. I was always going to be here, but it doesn't feel as dark consistently with that acceptance. It feels kind of like, “Okay, I'm going to keep playing this game. I'm really going to play. I'm not just going to ride it. I'm going to play.”
S: As we’re wrapping up, when you think about an inspiring woman, who comes to mind and what about her is inspiring?
B: It is my sister, Michelle. I call her Mickey. She is fiercely loyal, has an insatiable thirst for curiosity. She is constantly seeking out ways to elevate herself and elevate those around her. She is one of the smartest people I've ever met. And because of that, her sense of humor is so quick and It's the absolute best. She has always been my person, like my absolute person. She has her own company and has done all these great things, these accolades we could list out, but I think really what makes her so incredibly special is her empathy and her ability to listen and hold space for people. She's just it. It would take me two days if I sat here and listed all the things I love about her, but she's constantly growing, constantly working on herself and encouraging those of us that are lucky enough to be in her orbit, to go along with her, and to just see where it takes us in whatever direction and completely judgment free. Just the biggest, biggest heart ever. And, yeah, she's my best friend.
S: Final thought: you’ve been in big cities and our small charming town and you’ve been around some of the biggest names and wealthiest people… when you see truly happy, fulfilled people, what do they have in common? What’s the thread where you know that regardless of money and status, they’re living a life of meaning and purpose?
B: So this is almost an unfair question for me because I was literally just talking to a friend about a study that was done on the pillars of a happy life. So I don’t remember who wrote the article so this is just me paraphrasing what I took from it. The first is community, which I think is huge - having people to share with, sit with, and experience all the little joys of life with someone who is like minded. Another one was finding something that you do, whether it’s just an hour or two a week, where you just lose track of time. It could be playing pickle ball, doing a podcast, just chatting with your girlfriends. It doesn’t matter what it is just something that is fun to you where you lose track of time doing it. I don’t remember the other pillars from the study, but those two really stuck out to me.
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