Sarah Robb O’Hagan is somebody you should know. Newly appointed as CEO of Flywheel Sports, she is a super hardworking entrepreneur, executive, and activist who can now add ‘author’ to her growing resume. Her new book ‘Extreme You’ (out on April 4th) is a sort of how-to guide for becoming the best possible you that you can be. Why take it from Sarah? Even though she’s held amazing career positions for Equinox, Gatorade, and Nike, her path wasn’t always clear-cut. In fact, she was fired twice in her twenties. Now Sarah is sharing her advice for bringing out the extraordinary person that lives within all of us.
We chatted with Sarah to learn more about her journey and about ‘Extreme You’. Read on to discover how Zumba inspired her along the way.
ZLife: Congratulations on your book, ‘Extreme You’! Where did your inspiration to write this come from?
SRO: As a mom, I started realizing with great alarm that my kids were coming home with “participation” trophies from soccer and thinking that they were a winner just because they showed up. At the same time, as a leader and a manager in the workplace, I was having conversations with young people that would put time on my calendar to ask when they were “due for promotion”. I had this epiphany that both of these scenarios were connected to each other! Success doesn’t come just from showing up, yet we have been raising a generation to miss out on the joy of achieving something under your own steam.
I set out to research and find great stories of wonderfully successful people and what I learned is that success is really about discovering who you are, what you are passionate about, what you are great at and where you need support and help – and that is essentially what I call being ‘Extreme You’.
ZLife: Who is ‘Extreme You’ for?
SRO: For anyone who is striving to get more out of their lives. This book is loaded with inspiring stories and heaps of practical advice that you can apply right away.
ZLife: You talk about how you were fired twice in your twenties. How did you maintain a positive outlook and an inner drive during that time?
SRO: When you suffer a devastating and humiliating failure like that you lose a lot of self-confidence – you want to close the doors and shut the curtains and not have to face anyone. But I have always found in situations like that, that the act of being physical – sweating, exercising and using my energy and my body positively – really changes my mind set and fires me up to NOT give up!
I think the key is knowing that life is a journey not a destination. Whenever I experience bad times – and trust me there have been so many – I always remind myself that this is part of the process, and its forcing me to learn and to grow, and its taking me somewhere that will eventually be more positive.
ZLife: As the new CEO of Flywheel, how will you put all your past experiences into your new role?
SRO: I am SOOOO fired up to be back in the fitness industry! Flywheel founder Ruth Zukerman actually started her life as a dancer, so we have a big focus on music and the rhythm of the ride. I’m really bullish about our future. We have big plans to expand our offering beyond the studios we are in today, so watch for some announcements coming soon.
ZLife: Who are three people who inspired you while writing ‘Extreme You’? Can you give us sneak peeks into their messages?
SRO: First, I have to start with Beto Perez. I mean, how much do we love Beto and the success of Zumba? He had such wonderful insights on engaging the community to create great ideas together. He says, “You have to listen – to the brand and to your consumers. Look at what’s going on around you. EVERYTHING is co-creation.”
I love this quote from Bozoma St. John who is head of marketing for Apple Music: “We intellectualize too much about launching our careers, finding our paths. ‘Career’ just means falling in love with the thing you want to do and then doing it.”
Amrita Sen, the founder of BollyDoll and singer and artist, shared this great quote: “You don’t need to have a goal in mind. Just live your gift. Do what you’re good at even if nobody’s listening. You HAVE to DO something with your gift.”
There are SO many more inspiring quotes like this in ‘Extreme You’.
ZLife: Speaking of Zumba, our instructors are leaders and entrepreneurs in their community. What advice do you have for them for achieving confidence and being their best selves?
SRO: One of my best friends is a Zumba Instructor doing just that and I love watching what she does to energize those of us in her community! I believe that confidence comes from putting yourself out there. Even if you struggle to fill your classes when you first start out, that is a period to figure out what you need to do differently. Ask your class what they loved and didn’t. Sometimes it’s scary to get negative feedback, but if you frame it as something that you can use to propel yourself forward, it’s never so scary.
ZLife: You’re an incredibly busy person. What do you do to let loose?
SRO: I love me a lip sync battle or a cheesy dance party – and nothing makes me happier than a spontaneous epic dance off with my kids!
ZLife: What’s next for you?
SRO: I definitely have my hands full as we launch the book, but one of my big goals for the future is to use the learnings and methods of ‘Extreme You’ to help identify and bring along young talent that might not get access to the same opportunities as others. I’ve got lots of work to do but that is my big dream!
‘Extreme You’ will officially be available on April 4th, but if you pre-order it now, you will get a bonus workbook for free! Click here to pre-order.