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  • Business Lessons Learned From Distance Cyclists

    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein, letter to his son Eduard, 1930

    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. – Einstein, in reference to the Theory of Relativity

    The recent winner of the Tour de France, Chris Froome said that the toughest part of the race and what set him and his team apart as the dominant force in the 100th tour was being great formidable in all areas of racing, particularly the climbs and time trials.  Not that unlike business owners, competitive cyclists train by setting small obtainable goals for daily rides and increase their endurance for the actual race by gradually increasing miles throughout their training.  The training culminates into preparing them for the actual race day where everything will count in determining which team rushes to the finish line first. Finishing ahead of others and beating their own time is what motivates them.

    Competitive cyclists set goals for themselves (in terms of distance and times for their ride) and they seldom stop before completing their goal. If a cyclist decides before a ride she’ll be riding for 26, 52, 78, 104 miles, that’s the distance she’ll ride barring an injury that prevents her from completing that goal.

    The distance she decides to ride may be equated to a project and its deadline: There is a set goal and time in which the cyclists set ahead of his ride to complete the ride.  The same could be true of a diligent and accountable employer, the one who can assign himself a role, set a deadline to finish that’s faster than the average employee and he maintains the driven mindset that he’ll follow through no matter what obstacles are in his path.

    Marathon cyclists are also known for their endurance:  They are determined to finish and persist through joint pain, cramps, harsh weather, skin irritation, blisters and more to reach the finish line.  Business owners and top employees must also possess endurance. There are times every entrepreneur feels like throwing up his or her hands and saying, this just is too hard or it’s impossible, I’ll never make it.  There’s too many barriers to entry.  And the successful ones never give up!  They endure, persist and eventually come out on top.

    Marathon cyclists (similar to marathon runners) describe themselves as steady and focused. Always looking for how to improve their performance and to achieve a faster recovery.  Successful business owners must also remain focused on their company’s mission, set realistic yet optimistic goals and model consistency for their employees.  Similarly, the savvy employee will work on projecting an image of being reliable, consistent and someone who will follow through on her commitments.

    Business owners and employees all benefit from adopting these qualities:  Endurance, focus, commitment to meeting deadlines, increased speed and efficiency, cross training (knowing how their role affects others in their firm to create synergy) and working through difficult spots is all a part of the training regimen that leads to a business’s success.

    Beth Kuhel, M.B.A., C.E.I.P., Executive Leadership and Career transition coach, writes about leadership strategies, career advancement and improving the workplace for Forbes, Huffington Post, Personal Branding blog and has been featured in Business Insider, Entrepreneur magazine, Tiny Pulse, U.S. News & World Report. Beth’s weekly career CJN career column was sponsored by Weatherhead School of Management.

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