What an Early Morning Bike Ride Taught Me about Business

My 24 year old recently took up cycling.  So, when he invited me to join him for an 11 mile ride through Cades Cove, a spectacular place in the Great Smoky Mountains, I couldn’t wait to go.

I’d made that ride many times as a kid, so I was pretty sure I could still handle it. I did warn him, though, that he would likely be much faster than me.

And he was – except when we reached those long steep curvy downhills.

In fact, just coasting downhill, I usually picked up enough speed to zoom right by my oh-so-athletic son.

Even if his bike was a veritable sports car.

And even if mine was the equivalent of a 10 year old minivan.

It helps that I am, ahem, a bit heavier than he is. I coast well. :)

I’d pass him with a grin and a wave, feeling – for just a moment – that lovely exhilaration that comes when we fly down a hill on a two-wheeled rocket.

Remember that feeling? You’ve had it too, somewhere along the way.

It’s that sense of ease, power, and sheer joy that comes when you put something fantastic into motion –

-and it just goes.

With ease.

And doesn’t that happen in your business too?

Aren’t there days when you know you’re on a roll? Days when you have to pinch yourself because things are falling into place so quickly and easily?

Aren’t there days when new ideas and new clients and new money and new opportunities drop into your lap so fast you can barely keep up?

Yeah. My clients have those days too. 

And they feel exactly like they’re flying downhill on their bike.

WHAT a ride.

But you know what happens next. :)

For me at least, it didn’t take long before I had to shift from flying downhill, to walking UP.

Try as I might, some of those hills just took the wind right out of me. I’d have to hop off, then push my bike up their steep curves, huffing and puffing all the way.

That part? Exhausting.

So all the way around the Cove, I worked at finding a sustainable rhythm. Not too fast downhill. Not too slow uphill. Stopping and starting and stopping and starting as the land beneath my tires required different things from me.

And that, too, is how your business goes.

You zoom through a great product launch, only to lose a favorite client right after.

Your list grows rapidly as people discover you; then your website goes down with some mysterious virus.

The money starts flowing so you can finally breathe; then your car dies and the repairs eat up all that extra income.

That’s just life, some of you will say.

Perhaps.

Or perhaps it is your opportunity to learn how to ride those hills, and find your sustainable rhythm.

One of the hardest aspects of being an entrepreneur is developing the skill of resilience.

It’s learning how to set up your business so that you can keep going, when things get really steep. (Or when things are happening so fast you need to test your brakes!)

It’s everything from setting aside a rainy day fund to raising your prices.

From getting enough rest to hiring the right help.

From careful planning to adapting to changing circumstances.

And all of that matters.

So this is a huge part of how I help my clients, as we talk through what they need to become resilient in their work. Because those are the skills that will keep them going, no matter how tough the terrain.

It took me the entire ride, but I finally figured out how to adjust my gears and my breathing and my speed.

By the end, I finally learned how to adjust my approach to the changing shape of the road beneath my wheels.

And by the end, I no longer had to walk.:)

How about you? What do you need to get in place today, to help you get through the next steep stretch?

And how will you celebrate, when you’re flying downhill again…

…with ease?


Photo Credit:  Wendy Pitts Reeves

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