4 ways mountain biking mimics your day job

Take one guess what my newest hobby is; and it’s not bowling?

I have been interested in mountain biking for quite sometime. Even though Florida has no mountains they do have some interesting terrain where phosphate mining occurred at one time. However, it wasn’t until a friend loaned me his old trail bike after he purchased a new one that got me hooked.

And yes, you can roll out there with an off the shelf bike from Walmart for about $300 but I will attest, having the proper equipment makes a big difference. Therefore, it took a lot of research until I found the right deal and the right bike for me, but very happy with my new rig.

Yes, I have already crashed and burned once causing a broken hand but that was on the loaner; the silver lining, it also gave me plenty of down-time to properly search for the right bike however.

And that leads me to the topic of this post; how many times have you crashed and burned in your business life, what did you learn from it, and did the experience help you grow?

You have to walk before you roll

Trees, roots, rocks, sand, mud, hills, turns and sometimes critters are all objects you will encounter on the trail. Some of it is pretty benign and some of it is oh crap

How often in life, particularly in business do you have to deal with real obstacles and how do you handle them?

Since I have taken a hard fall once I am still somewhat cautious, especially on new, unfamiliar terrain; but at some point you just have to throw caution to the wind and let ‘er rip. That is where practice and training comes in because it will give you the confidence to take on more technical trails along the way.

How many of you practice for your job? Professional athletes train and practice all the time, they don’t just show up and play. How about you, are you really practicing and growing, or are you just showing up to play?

If someone is paying you to play (even if it’s yourself), don’t you think you should do all you can to be the best player on the team?

But it’s just a job…

4 lessons from trail riding you can use in business as well 

1. Confidence – the more I ride the more confidant I become. Each time pushing myself a little bit more, I find that confidence breeds confidence. The training and practice makes me better each and every time.

2. Perseverance – Yes, there are times I fall down, bang a tree, slip a chain; but each and every time I get back up and keep moving forward. If I decided to quit because of one setback what kind of message am I sending to myself? How many times are you willing to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on going?

3. Growing – It gets me out of my comfort zone; when you crest a hill and see the path go straight down with roots and rocks along the way, it’s your moment of truth because once you commit to it that back brake becomes virtually useless. Yes, it takes my breath away at times but it is a good kind of scary. Sometimes you need that good kind of scary, a feeling of accomplishment when you step out of your comfort zone, to grow and succeed in your business life. At times, it feels like you are jumping off a cliff as you try to build your wings on the way down.

4. Handling adversity – you fall down and break your hand, skin a knee, break a pedal, snap a chain, run out of water, get eaten by a gator, get stung by a bee; and a good chance most of those will happen at one time or another, just hopefully not on the same day. Your attitude and how you handle adversity in dealing with these minor situations could go a long way for preparing you when similar calamities occur in your daily life. Tough lessons at times, but hopefully a learning lesson if nothing else.

We’re talking about a bicycle here, right?

Yep, just a bike; probably your primary source of transportation at one time in your life. As I told my wife (while I was trying to convince her it made sense for a 70 yr-old guy to invest in a new trail bike at that age) I could have picked a much worse hobby like dirt bike racing or professional hot dog eating or something like that; at least it is mostly healthy and gets me outdoors.

There are many activities where parallel life lessons can be learned and I chose this topic as my case study because I did crash and burn and it would have been very easy to take up couch potatoing at that point. But as Andy Dufresne so eloquently said in Shawshank Redemption, Get busy living, or get busy dying; I think I’ll choose living, especially if it involves fun too.

What do you think; what activities outside of work are you involved in that parallels every day living you can draw lessons from?

Until next time…


10 thoughts on “4 ways mountain biking mimics your day job

  1. What a great post, Bill. Love the analogies we make with sports. I wrote one last year on tennis balls and business strategy. Funny how our minds are always linking daily work experience to what we write on the blog. Good stuff!

    • Thanks ma’am; Penn 1’s, right? I still need to get you a tube to pick up the balls.

      Now that I’m getting back to a regular posting, albeit only once a week, it makes my mind think like a blogger/writer.

      Good to see you, hope all is well.

  2. Running is my biking: it makes me stretch, grow and improve. My photography helps me to see things more clearly, literally and figuratively. My painting puts me in flow. And of course, mushing my sled dogs is my main form of transportation, especially today…just kidding! (but you should see the snow photos I posted on fb today…Spring in Canada eh) Cheers! Snowshoes

    • Easy now, I can only have one hobby at a time…

      I was on the trail Sunday and saw some interesting rocks I was going to photograph and send to you but it was too much of a hassle to get my camera out of my camel back so I kept riding; sorry I’m lazy like that……

      Hope you are staying warm, it’s nice today but will be summer tomorrow down here.

  3. Gee, I think I got ate by some mean gators when I was working! So now I relish in the serenity of peace and quiet unless some idiot plays loud music while passing by.

    Yeah I forced myself to get back to walking after my face down in the cement episode, but was very cautious for quite sometime. But I am much more careful where I step now. Don’t like being hurt, kind of a wimp. You are right it would be so easy to become a couch potato. Besides I think we get to live longer if we get out and do things.


    • Yes, there are some gators in the work place; beware….

      I don’t like being hurt either and this broken hand pretty much shut me down for 3 mos; it’s still not fully functional but I can still ride the bike, so ride on, right?

      My goal is to stay active as long as I possibly can; yes, I do think that is conducive to living longer….provided whatever you are doing doesn’t kill you first…:).

  4. I definitely don’t want to face any gators 😉

    Great story, Bill!

    You are right, we have to walk before we roll, and we have to fall before we walk 😀

    I think the best thing about my idea is that we all started with it. As babies, we fell. But, we tried harder (guess we didn’t know any better, huh?), and eventually we learned to walk on 2 legs.

    Same goes for biking…or any other activity.

    I remember when I used to bike (just regular ol’ bicycle..no mountain biking for me!). For a long time, I relied on 4 wheel bikes (regular bikes, but with 2 smaller extending wheels for support). I had tried to ride 2 wheels, but I failed miserably, every time.

    So, I wasn’t very keen on try again.

    My dad eventually removed those 2 wheels; That’s when I also stopped going out regularly for biking 😀

    Didn’t give up though…tried again (I was bored, so I decided to try). And for some reason, it worked.

    And biking became a whole lot interesting 😀

    • Of course as infants all we heard was no, no, no; don’t do that, be careful….:)

      Some people are less risk averse and don’t mind taking a few falls; I would like to be somewhere in between.

      Good to see you sir, hope your day is going well.

  5. Hi Bill, Mountain biking in Florida, huh? Perhaps next you’ll take up surfing in Colorado? I’m just sayin’…

    Great analogies to life/business. You really do go for the gusto both in mountain biking and business. I like how you didn’t let a (not-so) little thing like a broken hand get you down. Get right back up on that horse, er, bike (after healing and buying a new one, of course) and get back at it.

    I have often thought about how well racquetball trains me for life. My reflexes definitely stay sharper by having to deal with balls traveling my way at 100 mph+. You also have to go for the kill shot or else your opponent will. And placement rules over power. Every time.

    As much as you’re enjoying your shiny new toy, I hope you do stay safe out there!

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