by Liz Jansen
When you’re out of balance on your motorcycle the feedback is immediate and the consequences potentially devastating.
- Make balance your first priority. If you can’t balance your motorcycle, you’re going to fall over. Sooner rather than later. It’s the first lesson in the Canada Safety Council (CSC) and Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) basic rider course. Maintaining a healthy balance between body, mind and spirit is essential to your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Disproportionate focus on one area of your life at the expense of another is hazardous to your health. If you don’t respond to physical signs and your intuition, you increase your potential for developing an illness or having an accident. Sometimes, you just need to put your foot down! Click to tweet quote.
- Keep your wheels balanced. Wheels that are out of balance present a safety risk, cause uneven and accelerated tire wear. Frequent riding through rough conditions such as construction, washboard roads or potholes can cause wheels to become unbalanced. Everyone goes through rough spots and encounter bumps on the road of life. During these times, it’s even more important to make sure you’re looking after yourself. If you notice signs ranging from excessive fatigue to physical, mental and emotional illness, it’s time to pull over and re-align your priorities.
- Look where you want to go. This may be different than where you’re going! This skill is key to staying balanced, especially at slow speeds. Allowing distractions to take your eyes away from your path will cause you to lose your focus. This is risky for many reasons, including maintaining stability. Staying focused on your goals, maintaining priorities and not caving in to out-of-scope distractions helps keep you in balance in life and work.
- Distribute your weight wisely. At no time is this challenge more evident than when packing for a trip and trying to methodically cram all your gear into two saddlebags. A lopsided load makes the bike harder to handle, affects performance and requires more energy from the rider. Being creative and keeping the weight, and center of gravity, as low and close to bike and rider as possible makes the weight easier to manage. Taking on additional responsibilities, whether you choose them or the Universe delivers them to you, can create stress, anxiety, fatigue and illness. Learning to recognize the signs, drawing on alternative resources and jettisoning that which isn’t necessary can alleviate stress.
- Learn the controls. Proficient use of controls is essential for maintaining balance, especially at slow speeds. Sudden application of brakes, coming to an uncontrolled stop or using the front brakes on slow speed turns will give you a crash course. Knowing your strengths and using them wisely keeps you upright. Understanding and reminding yourself that you control your own power builds confidence and allows you to grow. Remaining vigilant to disruptive thoughts and behaviors and the effect of external influences helps you maintain control of your life.
- Deal with change. The weather changes so you go into your luggage and remove or add to the gear you’re wearing. You pick up something along the way or agree to carry something for someone else. These examples show how easy it is to inadvertently change the load distribution, especially if you’re rushed. You’ve heard it often enough: Change is the only constant. The frequency of nature of the change, although potentially disruptive, isn’t the main concern. How you respond to it is and determines whether or not you remain balanced.
- Stop, assess and adjust your load. Wheel vibration or difficulty in handling the bike are indicators that you may be out of balance. Sometimes you need to stop right where you are, assess the situation and take corrective action before proceeding. Otherwise, you place yourself in peril. There are times you need to stop what you’re doing in life and evaluate the situation. You may need to make difficult choices on people and activities, making choices on who stays in your life and those that go.
Take the lessons from your motorcycle and apply them to balancing life and work. Check in periodically to make sure you’re managing all that’s asked of you, including mindfully caring for your Self.