Nothing is static. Dealing with change, whether welcome or not, voluntary or imposed, is the norm. Yet there are times when the activity level reaches an unusually frenetic pace and it’s difficult to maintain balance. When riding a motorcycle, you know that every ride is an adventure. Often, you’re not aware of its nature until you’re in the midst of it.
On or off your bike, knowing how to maintain balance through times of change is a survival skill. It’s no time to take on the victim role. You’re the only one at the controls so how effectively you navigate through change is a testament to your preparedness, perspective and choices. You must be an active participant.
9 ways to stay balanced while dealing with change
- Be Prepared. Accept that change is going to happen. On a bike, you stay up-to-date with scheduled maintenance, do a pre-ride check to make sure there’s nothing obviously wrong and make sure your load is evenly distributed at all times. It makes handling in unexpected situations much easier. I believe every rider should take at least one skills course every year, and definitely if there’s been a gap between rides of longer than a year. With work, no matter what your calling, continuous education is a must for staying current. That way, when there’s a change in circumstances, you’re in a much better place to deal with it.
- Trust yourself. Irrational fear can make your confidence take a hit. Assuming your bike is in good shape and you’ve got the skills, acknowledge those fears, which are only trying to keep you safe, remind yourself of your strengths and focus on your destination. It often takes a steady hand and a steady voice to calm your self. That’s how you grow – and stay upright.
- Stay focused. Whether it’s a rear-wheel skid, unexpected gravel or a curve, keep your eyes on where you want to go. The bike can feel unsettling under you but staying calm and focused is essential for maintaining balance
- Take an active role. On a motorcycle, you’re the only one at the controls. Survival depends on your choices. Why is it any different when you’re off the motorcycle? Engaging in the change, even if it’s tough, gets you through it safer and with fewer scars.
- Remain vigilant. Even though you may have started your ride with a well-packed, balanced load, you may have added or rearranged things along the way. Change will accentuate any imbalance or overload. Be cognizant of the additional load you accept and how you manage it.
- Minimize the volume of change. While change can be thrust upon you, and many things happen outside of your control, choices prior to and during the change influence your capacity to deal with additional disruptions. Leave yourself a buffer – or be prepared to jettison something.
- Maintain momentum. Unless there’s an immediate hazard, keep going. You may need to slow down temporarily, but keep your hand on the throttle and your eyes ahead. Otherwise you’ll get mired down, making it even harder to get going again.
- Stay connected. Every rider knows the strength of the riding community and its penchant for helping out, wherever you are in the world. Relationships help build resilience. Knowing you’re supported gives you peace of mind, and goes a long way towards staying balanced through the rough spots.
- Embrace it. It’s going to happen. On the road, it takes the form of a detour, unexpected conditions or a mechanical breakdown. If you fear change in anticipation of possible consequences, you’ll make decisions from that place of fear. Enjoy the present. The moment is fleeting.
Although potentially disruptive, the frequency and nature of change isn’t the main concern. How you prepare and respond to it, determines how you emerge from it. Making wise choices all along helps you advance through it.