I love getting to ride my motorcycle.
For years, I had been asking my wife for one. On it, there is a sense of adventure.
Adventure is a really big Value for me.
It’s also why I like camping and outdoor sports.
So I went to my wife about a year ago and gave her an option: a motorcycle or a once a month camping trip.
We have three young kids at home. Being gone one weekend a month to go camping wasn’t really an option. And so, after years of asking, I finally got a motorcycle.
I ride that thing all time. Sometimes I make excuses just to go for a ride. I’ll do whatever I can to spend a few minutes on it everyday.
Much like riding a bicycle, there’s a trick to riding and avoiding obstacles.
Much like we are taught in learning to drive a car, bikes and motorcycles work the same way. If you’re looking just at the front end of your vehicle, it’s too late to do anything about obstacles in your way (other cars, potholes, dead animals, etc…). On a motorcycle, I was taught the 30-20-10 rule.
Be generally aware of what’s in front of you thirty seconds out. What cars are coming? Where are the obstacles? What does the road condition look like?
Be actively planning for anything that’s twenty seconds out. Serve to avoid potholes, brake when you need to, change lanes.
Ten seconds out your course is pretty much set. If you haven’t compensated already, you’ll likely hit what’s in your path without drastic change. Prepare to hit a pothole at sixty (it’s not fun by the way).
Great leadership works much the same way. Having a plan that looks ahead is vital to know where you’re going. What are your goals a year from now? Five years out? Ten years down the road? While those goals may not play out exactly like we have on paper, we can have a sense of where we are headed and what adjustments need to be made along the way. If we are caught unprepared, we’ll wreck our life, family, business, and other important aspects of our life.
Like on a motorcycle, minor adjustments before the problem hits means that less drastic change is necessary. It’s dangerous to have to swerve your motorcycle flying sixty down the interstate. It’s also dangerous to be unprepared in leadership and swerve to avoid major obstacles like burnout or emotional unrest.
Too often, both in leadership and on a motorcycle, it can lead to a crash. But there’s one trick to help avoid the crash.
In a crash, we have this natural tendency to want to look at the street. We look down. Looking down with our head forces the rest of our body to move down. That accelerates the downward movement. Soon, the inevitable happens, we crash, exactly where we were looking.
Instead, look up, find an object up and away from you and steer towards that. It has a chance of pulling you up and saving you.
I remember this point well, when I was teaching my nephew to ride his bike. Wobbly, he was swerving around the parking lot and headed right for another person on their bike. Scared, he stared straight at them. Inevitably, he leveled out, crashed into them at full speed, and crashed on the pavement. He looked where he didn’t want to go, and ended up going there.
In leadership, there will be many things that compete for our attention. It’s important to keep your eyes on what you do want. Know where you’re going. Know how you plan to get there. Develop the tools and skills necessary to traverse the unexpected bumps and potholes of life. Our ability to navigate and steer our life where we want to go will shape the future impact of our leadership. How well are we leading those around us?
On a motorcycle, the only way to stay safe is to plan ahead, know where you want to go, and constantly monitor your situation. Making minor adjustments along the way and keeping our eyes fixed where we want to go, gets us safely to our destination.
Leadership requires many of the same skills and abilities. Plan ahead, make minor adjustments, keep your eyes fixed.
May we lead well.
Leave Your Thoughts: What are your leadership goals for the next year?