In February 2018, I self-published my first book, Run My World: How I Empowered Myself Through Fitness. It would not have been possible without the support of incredible friends, mentors, and role models, and now I’m highlighting some of the amazing people in my life that run their worlds.
Empowered (wo)men empower (wo)men, so now I’m raising a glass to some of the best people I know. I’m so grateful to share their stories — I promise you’ll be even more inspired to run your world!
Mary’s note: I met Conor when [solidcore] first opened, and I wanted to be his best friend. I still want to be his best friend, but I’ll gladly accept that most of our IRL interactions take place on the 156 bus on the way to work in the morning. He is usually sitting in the back, videoing me for his Instagram story. I look up from my phone, see his beautiful, shining face, and my day is a million times better already.
But seriously. Conor has the most kind, thoughtful soul and is the type of hustler everyone should aspire to be. He’s hilarious, and you should follow him on Instagram right now. Like, right now. Be inspired to run your own world with a chuckle because you are that damn fabulous.
Name: Conor Janda
Current City: Chicago
Occupation: Marketing, Fitness, and Improv
In one sentence, what does it mean for you to run your world? I am true to myself as I go after the things I love.
Acknowledge Your Past: What’s one lesson from your past that has really influenced your life?: I got sober at 21 — an experience that gave me a strong sense of the brevity and preciousness of life.
Find Your Fit: What are your favorite ways to move and exercise? How did you find your fit?: I love dancing on bikes. That is such a stress release, but I also love [solidcore]. I am in there 4 times a week working out. It is so hard that my mind just focuses on moving slowly the whole time, so it’s a nice way to get out of my head. I abused cardio for a few years, and it was definitely a crutch I leaned on when I first started getting sober, but I’m working on getting more into strength training. Strength training is a challenge for me, but I am learning to celebrate and embrace it.
Fuel Your Body: What is your favorite meal to fuel your body? What is your favorite meal to fuel your soul? Have you had any struggles with your relationship with food? How do you try to fight/challenge the cultural standards around dieting and disordered eating? I love sweet potatoes and Greek yogurt with eggs to fuel my body, and I love Pizza Hut to fuel my soul. I never eat that anymore but I should. When I was a kid, my dad would ask where I wanted to eat and I always said, “Target!” There was a Pizza Hut Express at Target.
I’ve worked through disordered eating since 8th grade. I can only speak about my own experiences, but I don’t know that it’s the kind of thing that will go away. I just learn to work through it and keep it in check. I think getting sober at 21 deeply strengthened my relationship with and understanding of myself. My disordered eating became significantly more manageable after getting sober.
I challenge myself every day and work through the emotions associated with disordered eating that I know tons of people experience, but to be completely honest, I don’t think I do challenge the cultural standards around dieting. I think they’re broken and flawed, and I am here to push through those standards with anyone that wants to, but I don’t know that I challenge them as much as work through them. Recovery from alcoholism or disordered eating (for me, at least) sometimes might seem like this shampoo ad where I am running on the beach with the wind in my hair laughing and smiling, but they both take work everyday that isn’t always pretty. Maybe I challenge standards by acknowledging that.
Practice Mindfulness: Do you meditate? If so, how? How do you try to be mindful on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? No, I need to. I like movement too much. I need to just go sit on a pillow and be. Who wants to come?
HIIT vs. LISS: Tell us about your work-life “balance.” How do you manage planning/productivity while being a straight up hustler? I love everything I do. Truly. I wake up everyday and feel like Chicago is my playground. I moved here without knowing a soul immediately after college and worked at a job I hated for a year. It’s taken me awhile to build this beautiful playground, but I’m finally in a place where I don’t feel like I am balancing work and life as much as integrating work with life. I am passionate and energized by all of the things I do. It took a lot of failure to get there, and I am anticipating a lot more (as any hustler has experienced), but I am ready for whatever comes.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: What have you done in 2018 that is most out of your comfort zone? What is something you really want in 2018 that you’re a little scared to do? Tell us a travel experience that pushed you out of your comfort zone. I was laid off from my job earlier this year, which I didn’t see coming at all. I was 23, unemployed, and living halfway across the country from my family. I remember sitting there right after it happened and feeling this bizarre sense of security that I would make it okay, something I didn’t used to feel when faced with a setback. The setbacks add up, thicken your skin, and turn you into the person you’re meant to be. I don’t think everything happens for a reason, but you always have a hand to play.
Shine On: What accomplishment makes you most proud? What’s a big, hairy audacious goal (BHAG) that you’ve been contemplating and want to speak into existence? I am most proud of balancing work, improv, and fitness coaching. I had none of those things just 13 months ago. Each part of my life is so important to me and has introduced me to such a range of special humans and experiences. I want to write a sketch show. That’s my BHAG! Shit, now I have to do it.