what cycling to work taught me about business

I started biking to work recently. Its been an interesting process both mentally and phyisically.

The mental process i went through to do this gave me some tremendous insights into myself and my business dealings.

Lets start with with the why

I couldn’t find the time to get to the gym and be the father and husband i wanted to be. And because of that i was getting fat, and i choose not to be fat. I’m not against fat people, its just a personal choice….i’m not going into middle age without a fight.

The decision process

Much internal debate here, where do I start

  1. Is it safe / will I die doing this (there was huge press coverage at the time about cycling deaths
  2. Will I actually do this… was it another fad like my gym membership
  3. What bike … road, moutain, full suspension, cost, … woah how much????
  4. Time – do i really have time to do this??
  5. Logisitcs – where do i put the bike at work and at home, how do i shower etc…

Tentitive steps

  1. i bought the cheapest bike i could – after all i still didn’t know if it was for me
  2. i tried out the route during the holidays¬† – less cars and minimal embarrasment if i couldn’t make it up the hill
  3. I road 2x in the first week, Monday and Friday…. i was exhausted by both… but it felt like progress

The result

  1. I’m not pathological – i ride 3-4 times a week…
  2. I leave slightly earlier in the morning but offset shower time at home with shower time here
  3. I take the 2nd hardest route home i can find, its a mother of a hill (there is one worse), and i ruthless about it. That blow-out is my exercise and I have always loved exercising really intensely
  4. I appear to beating the fat…
  5. I fit all this into my normal hours
  6. I am off-setting parking and petrol against the cost of the bike.. When i’ve paid off the that bike i might consider an upgrade, but untill then its still hasn’t earnt its keep

The learnings (personally and in business)

  1. There is always a tonne of reasons not to do something, in fact there may even be extensive research saying you shouldn’t. And we can always rationalise away the opportunity… that is easy.¬† Saying yes is the hard part
  2. All the reasons you had to say no become trivial when you get going…. I look over the list above and am embarrased they almost stopped me doing this…
  3. Starting something new brings its own energy and momentum. You have to push it along but eventually it will pull you too…. I’ve said before that i believe business is about momentum
  4. It took a mental ‘flip’ for me to seize this opportunity. I needed to see that I could fit in this exercise into the same commuting slots i had available… When i look at my days, they always appear busy, but when you look beyond the item to the what there are quite a lot of slots for you to fit in new initiatives…be they exercise, business or family releated.¬† The next time you sit down for some mindless TV, flick the ipad to facebook or whatever card game… or in my case wander to the car to commute, have a think about what else you could do in that time… actually you need to be stronger than ‘think’… time is like cash, you allocate the budget differently and get different results
  5. Start…. sometimes you won’t be able to work out all the details / logistics untill you are underway and that is ok… i’m inherently a problem solver, so addressing and optimising gaps becomes part of the process…. learning like children do (experiement)
  6. I initially used a whole bunch of tracking and mapping apps… i needed them to show improvement and keep me motivated when i was still half pregnant on the idea…. now though… i hardly use them. It’s my new normal i guess, but i can see when i take on the mother of all hills, i’ll be back. I will want to know how my times improve for a bit.