Calendar year ends are useful notches in the continuum of time to reflect on the lessons and accomplishments of the past twelve months, assess the current situation, set goals and plan. It’s a good time to re-establish ground and take a quick breather before marching headfirst into a new year.
I’ve learned a lot about life through motorcycling experiences. Vulnerability makes them masters at teaching vivid, universal lessons about life. Misinterpret or ignore signs while riding and the immediacy and potential severity of the outcome are irrefutable. But the rewards from learning to recognize and overcome these challenges are matchless. Just like life.
Here the first 5 of 10 overarching Life Lessons that help me re-orientate my compass and get my bearings. Watch for the next 5 tomorrow.
Get Grounded: 10 Year-End Life Lessons from Motorcycles – Part I
- Vision. My eyes steer the bike. This fundamental skill pervades all others. I look in the direction I want to go because my eyes will certainly take me there. If I allow my eyes to focus on something other than the road ahead, that’s where I’ll go. Having a vision and keeping it in sight draws me towards it. There are many other demands that divert my time and resources. They may seem like a short-term priority but in reality, they’re not aligned with long-term success.
- Communication. Headlights, brake lights, turn signals and horn indicate my approach and intended action, especially if the change is sudden. Being visually conspicuous can catch the eye of other drivers and prevent a collision.
How I communicate with others is fundamental for maintaining healthy personal and professional relationships. This can be a life-long lesson, especially in multi-cultural, multi-technology and multi-generational settings. Communicating my intentions and confirming my intent is understood, goes a long way in collision avoidance.
- Decision Making. Sometimes I can’t see around the corner and I have to make a decision based on the best information I have. It doesn’t deter me from proceeding; I just need to learn how to manage the risk.Being prepared for the unexpected, remaining flexible, resourceful and creative all make for smoother transitions when the unexpected happens, as it invariably will.
- Weather. In a car I don’t think twice, but on a motorcycle, I take a keen interest in the weather. Wearing or carrying gear that allows me to adapt, increases the comfort, safety and enjoyment of my ride. Riding in inclement weather requires skill, confidence, physical and emotional stamina. Storms blow up in life too and my environment changes. Anticipating what’s to come, preparing for it and not taking it personally make it much easier to manage with minimal disruption. I often worry needlessly about something that never happens.
- Energy. Gas tanks have a finite capacity for fuel. Most bikes have an indicator to alert me that it’s time to fill up. Ignoring this warning sign for long enough will leave me stranded.I too receive warning signs when it’s time to fuel up. The problem is, they’re often less obvious and easier to ignore. As I become more self-aware and intuitively astute, I recognize the signs earlier and can take proactive measures.
What year-end/New Year practices do you use to reflect?