I’ve been thinking a lot about mountain biking and how it relates to leadership – or at least getting shit done at work. And it’s surprisingly a great metaphor –
Have confidence. Confidence in yourself, your bike (team), and your ability to learn along the way.
You have to trust that your bike (team) wants to stay upright (not mess up). It doesn’t want to go horizontal – it wants to keep moving forward.
You have to be open to trying new things, learning when to push yourself and when to dial it back, hop off and walk.
Mountain biking (and leadership) is about picking your line and adjusting on the fly. Look where you want to go, not at the obstacles in front of you. If you are convinced the obstacle right in front of you is the issue, you can be sure there is a much bigger or gnarlier obstacle just beyond it.
It’s about overcoming those obstacles using a variety of methods. On the bike there’s momentum, bunny-hopping, or shifting weight to maneuver over obstacles in the path. Momentum is almost always your friend. As a leader there’s momentum but also pivoting, keeping everyone focused, and moving forward.
Learn to be ok with totally wiping out/making a mistake. You aren’t going to always pick the right line, your wheel might get caught on a rock, you might get tossed off your bike into a puddle of mud. Take a minute to think about how you got there, then pick yourself and your bike back up and keep going.
Mountain biking is hard work but also a lot of fun and incredibly rewarding – as is being a good leader.
How do you see your favorite sport/hobby as a way to improve your professional skills?
See you on the road!