So often, people tell me they find networking to be an icky and unsettling prospect. There’s something about equating it with insincerity and treating other humans as a means to an end.

Ryn Bennett is a perfect example to blow that out of the water. We were introduced by a mutual acquaintance and, from the word go, I found a delightful and energizing conversationalist with values very much like my own.

Ryn is the co-founder of Proposal Industry Experts which is focused on making their industry more accessible, innovative, and inclusive; they’re a world-record-setting former Strongman competitor; they’ve been sober for over five years now, and they have some pretty rad tattoos.

This All Up in It conversation, though, it blew me away. Scroll ahead to find show notes to whet your appetite or just jump right in to see if your thoughts and challenges around humaning are anything akin to Ryn’s. I have a feeling they are…

Show Notes

  • As a human, Ryn Bennett, they/them, is coming to see themselves as part of a communal organism rather than the island they felt like for most of their life
  • Past Strongman competitor (2nd in their weight class in the nation in 2022!) which was empowering while also reinforcing their island mentality and the idea that they can control more of life than is real
  • Last year, moved from Colorado to Maryland and got sick which made training impossible leading to a sense of failure and loss of identity – a loss of feeling like they had it all figured out ie feeling in control of it all
  • As it so happens, they were given guidance in college to pick a career that includes a sense of control
  • In the gym, there’s a linear equation of effort to outcome. Learning to release that outcome-controlling perspective in the rest of life has been like standing on the edge of the cliff looking into the abyss
  • Imagining reaching milestones where it felt like life could actually start – like getting sober and coming out – only to realize this new landscape includes yet more things to navigate
  • There are times you just have to sit alone in the dark despite being communal animals; recognizing that this is a common human experience and that they can get through it has been big.
  • Ryn gave a TEDx Talk about doing the bare minimum based on the strongman training that moves in 2.5 pound increases; still, they find themself expecting to be able to do the emotional growth in much bigger, more perfect leaps. Watch it here:
  • Ryn said they want to “win therapy” – gah, do I relate! They said as they’ve learned to silence their inner critic, they’ve found themself seeking an external critic.
  • They referenced the book Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown (
  • We touched on the conflict between the narrative of self-care and how it’s actually modeled and monetized in our world; they’ve discovered sound baths and acupuncture are filling an important self-care need
  • Life, healing, growth… all take the time they take. As Ryn said, you can only get five years sober by traversing five years sober
  • Tools for navigating the difficulties start with practicing being uncomfortable without running away. Also what Ryn calls the Human Care Manual stuff like sleep, eating, drinking water, and exercising.
  • Ryn highlighted an organization that is local to them and national in relevance, the Baltimore Abortion Fund. BAF is a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance and practical support to individuals who live in or travel to Maryland for abortion care. We serve clients residing in all 23 counties of Maryland and Baltimore City. As of this recording, it is seeking members for its board. Find out more at

Find Ryn on LinkedIn
Watch Ryn’s TEDx Talk
Listen to Ryn’s podcast for proposal professionals, No Really Everything’s Fine

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