My dear friend Marisa has been my spin partner since the outset. She spurred my interest in the class, and after each workout we spend an hour or more hanging out over dinner. I love her approach to life – humble, honest, extremely kind, and positively cheeky with her humour. She’s one of the most endearing and lovable people I know.

We also work together and she is very much the heart of our team. Her genuine, self-effacing approach to things is disarming. She’s extraordinarily smart, thoughtful and rolls up her sleeves to get things done. And since work can feel like a giant make-work-project, having a Marisa on your team makes the whole thing a joy.

A Marisa at work becomes a friend in life. More than spin, we have regular dates, including ones with another dear friend, Jo. Together we comprise a complementary trio. Pragmatic and optimistic about the world, we share stories about the people in our lives, the things that entertain us, irritants and frustrations too.

Having lived in Toronto for 15+ years, I’ve dined out a lot and had plenty of delicious meals. But these days, I’m extremely fussy. Either I’m feeling penny pinching or I’ve taken to a food fad and am trying not to eat grains of any kind, or sugars, or some other nonsense. But with Marisa, dining out is a delight. She takes earnest joy in the experience and it’s contagious. When with Marisa I drop the fussy factor, and simply enjoy what’s plated in front of me. It’s liberating and just a better way to live.

Lesson #5: In Spin and in Life, be more like Marisa and enjoy what’s in front of you.