Always Fall to the Right

Profiles of everyday superheroes

Maggie was cracking me up. She wants to take her physical training (and her business… and her parenting) to the next level. But first she has a battle to fight with ‘clipless’ bike pedals.

maggie tri.jpg

When we spoke about this, I laughed and told her, “I went over the curb just 50 feet from where I’m sitting.” In training for my first triathlon, I needed to get over one of MY biggest fears: locking my shoes onto my bike (clipping my feet into clipless pedals).

If I hadn't landed on the grass that first time I went over the curb, I might have thrown the whole idea down the drain. Falling over on a bike was something I hadn’t done since training wheels. And it was scary then! If I biffed as a grown man, I don't know if I ever would have tried those stupid pedals again.

Maggie is pushing herself to get over her fears.

Her superpower: Bravery.

Today, it’s the decision to raise her prices. Then she can shape her business the way she has always imagined it.

But first, the bike.

“At the beginning I couldn't even move. I was completely paralyzed. Then I rode around in the cul-de-sac. I immediately fell. And I fall to the left. I can’t help my instinct is to go that way. I always fall to the left which is kind of scary because when you're on a road you should really try to fall away from the cars which would be to the right.”

Maggie Frank-Hsu is an email strategist and copywriter who works with moms who are entrepreneurs. She combines her expertise in writing and strategy to help business owners turn their subscribers into people who love to get marketing emails.

Maggie Frank-Hsu is an email strategist and copywriter who works with moms who are entrepreneurs. She combines her expertise in writing and strategy to help business owners turn their subscribers into people who love to get marketing emails.

“Two years ago, I was out doing a training ride and I was going really fast when I hit like a hole in the ground and both my tires popped! That was bad. It just hurt, really hurt a lot and I got really scraped up. But I was fine! So I don't know why I'm so afraid of falling now.”

“When I was a kid, I was never athletic and I was really afraid of being embarrassed for being unathletic, playing kickball and being really terrible at it. I don't have hand-eye coordination, you know, but now if I focus a little bit, I’m fine.”

“I remember when I was seven I really wanted roller skates but I could never learn how to do it, I was too scared. My mom bought me the skates and she took me around and around the block and I just couldn't let go of her hand. I just couldn't do it.”

“I did learn how to ride a bike but I've never learned how to roller skate.”

“I have like a lot of experience with not being able to, like, take that leap. When you put your foot in the clipless pedal and then you just gotta go! You gotta start pedaling. You can't really wait until you're ready, you know, because you're not. You can't stop once you start….”

“When I decided to do triathlon, I was in really good shape already. It was like over a year after I had my first child and I had been doing this boot camp with these moms. The trainer just made me really feel good about myself. She had like three kids and we're all doing it really early, like at five o'clock in the morning. I just felt like I was really ready for the next level.”

“Those races are pretty intimidating, you have to get there so early and there's all these like weirdos that do it like, every weekend and then there are people like you and me mixed in.”

How did you handle all those new, scary part of running a triathlon?

“I did the Carlsbad Tri in July of 2016 and that involves straight up jumping into the ocean and swimming. I think it's a thousand meters. I could NOT bring myself to get in the ocean and swim. I had opportunities to practice with groups and stuff but I just couldn't do it. I waited until the day of the race…”

“…and I did it! It felt like a huge achievement.”

“Now, every time I have to unclip, it's like doing it again, it's like jumping off a thing, again.”

So what was it like to figure out the pedals?

“That first time, the whole two hours was painful, it was not fun! No part of it was fun. I kept thinking, ‘I just really don't want to do this! I can't believe I'm gonna fail at this! I can't believe I can't do this!’”

“And even when it was over, it didn’t feel resolved. It was still not clear to me that I could do it.”

“So I'm sitting in the driveway with the bike the next day and I only had a half an hour so because… kids. I don’t have all day anymore to do my own thing. I only had half an hour. And so I was like, ‘well, I can't just sit here!’ I was telling myself, ‘I just really want to put the old pedals on.’ I just kept like having these conversations with the voice, you know, the failure voice, instead of being like, ‘what's wrong with you?’ and beating myself up for not believing in myself, I had this other voice that was acknowledging that ‘I’m really fucking scared, I really hate this’ but I didn’t let it make me get off my bike and stop.”

“It's similar to these other aspects of my life, especially around business. All last year when I was pregnant, the whole nine months, this was me, just almost quitting doing business, like every day. To stick with it for that long, it's really crazy. I don’t feel like quitting anymore.”

“So now with something like the clipless pedals, I can look back at these other things that I've accomplished and I can see that they follow the same arc. First, it seems impossible. Then it's just really hard. And then it's fine. And then you're really good at it.”

“On my second time out with the clipless pedals I wasn’t completely paralyzed but, you know, I wasn’t thinking anymore. It was important to have a goal in mind of how I wanted it to be. It helped to envision doing a long ride and being like perfectly adept. What really helped was to be like ‘okay, now you're riding down the street, you can see the next stop sign’ and telling myself, ‘you're going to have to stop, so just focus on smoothly stopping, you know, and just focus on this, okay?’”

“‘Do this 10 times, okay?’ Then, ‘You’ve done it 10 times and it's smoother now, you know, and now you can go take on the next thing.’”

“I know exactly how I want my business to look and what I'd be doing. So…“

“Now that I did the clipless pedals thing, maybe that means I can do anything.”


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Robert Zeitlin