“They’ll be ridin’ against the wind”
— Bob Seger
I was cycling today when the idea struck me that cycling is a lot like leading.
It started before I even left my house, when I looked out the window and saw the tops of the trees blowing back and forth in the wind. It wasn’t going to be the best day to be out there. But I knew that this would be my last chance to ride this week before I had to travel again.
Analogy #1: Sometimes a leader looks out and see’s that the conditions for business aren’t very favorable … you have to lead anyway!
I took off with my head down and my iPod cranking, pushing me to pedal harder as I headed directly into a 15 mph wind. It wasn’t 10 minutes into the ride, somewhere in the middle of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” that my iPod died. From that point on the only thing I heard was the wind blowing through my helmet and past my ears.
Analogy #2: There are times as a leader when you have no choice but to go it alone. There is no one is there to cheer you on or pat you on the back. It’s just you and “the deal” or “the decision” and you have to rely on yourself and your ability to finish.
As I settled into my pace I thought to myself … I love this … I love the opportunity to test myself in less-than-ideal conditions. That’s about the time the wind shifted directions and the rain started to come. First a drop here and there and then a few more. It was coming down just enough to be a nuisance but not enough to quit. I kept riding and reset the goal for 10 miles more than I had originally intended to ride.
Someone once told me that how you do anything in your life is how you do your life. If you’re rock climbing and it gets tough and you quit … that’s probably how you navigate through life. You quit. If you’re leading and something goes wrong and instead of owning it, you look around and start pointing fingers and blaming others … than that’s how you do your life! You blame others for your misfortunes or circumstances.
Analogy #3: How you lead is how you do your life! Make sure you lead the way you want to be remembered by the people you are asking to follow you.
And lastly, remember this … for all the times that you have to pedal directly into the wind there will be times when you will have the opportunity to ride with the wind. A chance to sit back and coast for just a little while … that is until the wind changes direction and it’s time to hunker down … again!