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.”
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.”