Business Lessons Learned on My 200 Kilometre Bike TrekPosted by Jessica Oman
Every year I participate in the BC Lung Association Trek for Life and Breath – a 200 kilometre cycling trip from White Rock to Chilliwack – and back. I do it for the physical challenge, the fantastic cause, and the sense of togetherness that can only come from the shared experience of riding up a 21% grade hill at the end of the first 100 km.
Okay, so my ride is nothing like Natalie Sisson’s recent 4,000-mile trek across Africa – but it’s still a tough go! Putting our bodies – and our minds – through something like this requires a level of strength we don’t often test in our businesses. It’s too easy to become complacent when we could be doing a lot more to make our companies everything they can possibly be. It’s a bumpy road, and a long road, but we can get there.
It’s Harder than it Looks
I don’t train much for this ride. But this year, I was really out of shape, and dealing with a foot injury too. I didn’t think it would really matter. But I felt my muscles protesting just 10 kilometres into the first day, and knew it would be tougher and more painful than I’d imagined. Still, I was all in, and there was no point in stopping. In business, it’s important to know that you shouldn’t quit at the first sign of pain. Don’t give up the first time things get hard. Chances are, you’ll come out the other end just fine.
You’re Not Alone
On day two, it was windy. Really, really windy. I was riding about 6 km/hour slower than I typically do, with the same effort. It was SO frustrating. I yelled and cursed the wind for slowing me down. It was so important to remember that everyone else on the ride was experiencing the same obstacle, and we would all get through it together. If you’re up against a strong force when you’re working on your business, don’t be afraid to ask for help and share your experience with others. Chances are, someone else is experiencing the same thing, and will appreciate the opportunity to talk about it. It will be much easier to overcome those obstacles together.
If at First you Don’t Succeed
My sore feet kept me from finishing the first day’s ride. I only made it 75km before I was limping through the check point, and had to get ice and a ride to camp. I felt like a complete failure. But when I got out of the van at the finish line, the cheerleaders whooped and hollered joyfully while I hobbled through the gate. There was no reason to feel like I had failed. Resting the foot was just what I needed to complete the second 100 km the next day. So, if you try something new in your business – maybe a new product, or a new market – and it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It means you needed to be ready to embrace the next challenge.
In the three years I’ve been riding in this particular event, I’ve raised over $1700 for the BC Lung Association. Donations are still being accepted until October 1, 2012 – if you can help the cause, just click to donate.