An NYC Bike Messenger Turned SoulCycle Instructor On Managing—And Staying Calm—In Chaos

Kym Perfetto spent 5 years in one of the most hair-raising jobs in the country, as an NYC bike messenger. Her tips for staying calm amid chaos, even if you're about to get doored by a taxi (literally or figuratively).

Editor's Note: This video is featured on our list of the most valuable, blunt, and slightly unconventional business lessons of 2013. Click here to see the full list.

If Kym Perfetto looks familiar it might be because you saw her in last year’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt film, Premium Rush. She played a bike messenger in that adrenaline-fueled romp, and was also the bike-riding body double for star Dania Ramirez.

It’s no overstatement to say Perfetto lived the part, having worked as a bike messenger herself for years before recently moving on to a full-time career as a fitness guru, leading spin classes at SoulCycle and hosting her own video fitness series.

But it was as a messenger that she learned that skill vital for almost any modern workplace--how to manage chaos.

“Breathe and stay calm in the moment,” she says. “Because if you get nervous, you make mistakes, and that literally can be a matter of life and death for a messenger.”

Kym Perfetto

Staying calm in the moment can be tricky for those with multiple phone lines, multiple email accounts, and a pile of work that needed to be done yesterday.

It might help to think that no matter how many people are vying for your attention at once, it’s a Zen garden compared to Perfetto’s old workplace.

“If you can remain calm in a world of honking horns and running pedestrians and baby carriages and taxi cabs, then you can probably remain calm through anything.”

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7 Comments

  • Fancy Dan

    “If you can remain calm in a world of honking horns and running
    pedestrians and baby carriages and taxi cabs, then you can probably
    remain calm through anything.”----Not to discount riding in city traffic. I've been doing it for over 20 years. It's just that there are a lot of tough jobs that people do with a lot of stress and people screaming at them from all directions and loud noises are part of the daily routine. In the most difficult ones it's not just your life you're trying to protect it's the lives of others as well and there are situations where your mistakes could take the lives of others.

  • Delgusri

    while discussing 2nd point of Managing Time. i am unable to understand..... as i am poor in listening fast English...

  • Guest

    She said: "The one thing about messenger-ing is that you can't leave work unfinished.  You can't just say 'oh it's 5 o'clock, I have 4 packages in my bag, but I'm going home'.  You have to manage it, and you have to get it done by the deadlines or else you're fired."