Getting Inventive in Lockdown: How to Develop Something Meaningful

Pato Cervantes holding up a weight

New month, new motivation, new mantra: This month, we’re interviewing someone inspirational. “If I can, you can. If you can, I can!” says Pato Cervantes, a Mexican fitness trainer living in Hamburg, Germany.

You can probably imagine how someone like Pato feels when all the gyms are closed. Empty. Uneasy. Aimless. 

But our coach doesn’t let this take away his passion. What did he come up with to keep his customers focused? How did the first lockdown affect him? What did he learn and what tips does he have for you?

How did lockdown change your life?

A lot! What I missed most was the community—I was training 40 people on 40 bicycles several times a day. Then suddenly everything changed. Everything closed. Everything was moved indoors. 

I had this feeling in my stomach and questions were running through my head. How long will this go on? What should I do? Should I go back to Mexico and be with my family during the pandemic?

Instead, I decided to stay. 

“Just breathe,” I told myself. “Just be. Surviving comes first.” This attitude helped me to assess the situation better. I was able to adapt, regain control and then plan my next step.

Many people around the world followed along as you took your next step. How did that happen?

Yes, that was incredible! It was mid-March, 2020. After two weeks of being in shock, I put together my home gym–I ordered a lot of great equipment! 

But even as a fitness trainer, I lacked the motivation. I thought of my friends, my neighbors–every household was doing their own thing, many people even completely alone. ”How can this work, when so many people are isolated and alone?”, I asked myself. 

And that was the ignition: community! Bringing people together again with something that’s good for everyone. All we need is 30 minutes of good humor, music, and exercise in the fresh air! So I put notes through the doors of the houses on my street. I took music outside and I got started!

The appeal was great: On TV and on social media, we saw housemates, families, and older people train together on their balconies—and they were having a blast. What effect did this have on you?

People who hadn’t moved a muscle in 15 years started to train. Families and neighbors joined together. I got goosebumps when they laughed and clapped during the workouts. I am very grateful for that. It’s what makes me happy! 

A great realization for me was what I can achieve on my own. I was able to get to know myself a bit better and grow stronger in this uncertain time. 

And a small bonus of all this: I could go outside today and ring 80 doorbells on my street and every single door would open. This sense of community means everything to me.

How did things catch on from there?

I started getting requests from other streets in the city, asking me to come to them. But I remained loyal to my street. So the people from other districts started coming to our neighborhood.. The balconies were full, and eventually, the street was too. That’s when I realized I needed an online presence. 

That’s what I needed to allow me to share my workouts and the wonderful atmosphere online. No matter where in the world you are! I also wanted people to be able to get to know me better. That was my Jimdo moment—I created my own website. 

And that was all in the first lockdown. You also offered your first online course, Soul-Tribe, in March?

Yes, exactly! And I’m not an IT geek at all. Fortunately, it was really simple. I just created the website, learned as I went, and finally, I realized “Hey! You can build your own website on your own!” The connection with PayPal and the payment process were also very quick to do. Super simple for my customers and for me.

You also launched a fitness app recently. What exactly does it offer?

I’ve put together a 14-day program that is designed to be well-rounded: Meditation, workouts, music, and a daily workbook I wrote myself. 

There’s a lot of love in it. I imagined how my customers are doing and what they need now. More peace, more happiness, more gratitude. More mental strength, more physical strength–these are the pillars of my program. I want to bring people a little closer to my lifestyle and give them a better quality of life. 

It sounds like your idea unfolded naturally, in just a few days. Is that true? 

The process actually took several months. In the beginning, I had no idea how to reach people online. Fortunately, my cousin helped me with my marketing and social media strategy. I built up a community on Instagram, posted daily videos, and prepared people for what was to come. That’s when things started to pick up.

There are some impressive testimonials of your workouts on your website. What’s the general feedback of your program?

It’s… wow! Many people tell me they never knew that meditating was so easy. Or that they didn’t realize how much small daily habits can change their whole life. The beautiful thing is, once you make small positive changes to your daily habits, there’s no going back. This feedback shows me that I’m on the right track.

Many freelancers are currently experiencing something similar. What would you say has helped you to identify and take advantage of new opportunities for you and your business? 

I think you need more than just having a goal in mind. I believe that you can do anything you put your mind to. Have a good think about what you’ve got to give. What’s the meaning behind what you’re doing? And how does it benefit others?

This is what helped me to develop something meaningful in the middle of lockdown. And you can do this too. When you develop something, whatever you put into it is what you’ll get out of it. So, decide what you want to do, and then do it!

In the footer of your website, it says: “We’re all one. If I can, you can. If you can, I can.”

That’s my mantra. I firmly believe in that. We are all one. If I can do it, so can you. And if you can, so can I. 

Thank you for the interview, Pato! 

For more inspiration check out Pato’s website and Instagram

Despina Borelidis
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