Check out this cool article that links life, success, and one of my favorite things - motorcycles - from Liz Jansen. Liz has put together a super interesting book called Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment that includes a collection of inspiring pieces from dozens of hip motorcycle chicks.
Survive and Thrive; 10 Life Lessons from Motorcycles
by Liz Jansen
Motorcycles and our relationship with them, have much to teach us, whether we ride or not. As Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment describes, “The partnership of rider and machine when they join together in perfect harmony is like observing a beautiful dance that gives birth to power, strength, balance and positive change.”
Vulnerability makes motorcycles masters at teaching us 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 are 10 areas of vulnerability through which we learn strength.
Our eyes steer the bike. This fundamental skill pervades all others. We want to look in the direction we want to go because our eyes will certainly take us there. If we allow our eyes to focus on something other than the road ahead, that’s where we’ll go.
Having a vision and keeping it in sight draws us towards it. There are many other demands that divert our time and resources. They may seem like a short-term priority but in reality, they’re not aligned with long-term success.
Headlights, brake lights, turn signals and horn indicate our 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 we communicate with each other is fundamental for maintaining healthy personal and professional relationships. This can be a life-long lesson, especially in our multi-cultural, multi-technology and multi-generational settings. Communicating our intentions and confirming our intent is understood goes a long way in collision avoidance.
Sometimes we can’t see around the corner and we have to make a decision based on the best information we have. It doesn’t deter us from proceeding, we 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.
In a car you don’t think twice, but on a motorcycle, you take a keen interest in the weather. Wearing or carrying gear that allows you to adapt, increases the comfort, safety and enjoyment of your ride. Riding in inclement weather requires skill, confidence, physical and emotional stamina.
Storms blow up in life too and our environment changes. Anticipating what’s to come, preparing for it and not taking it personally make it much easier to manage with minimal disruption.
In both cases, we often worry needlessly about something that never happens.
Gas tanks have a finite capacity for fuel. Most bikes have an indicator to alert you that it’s time to fill up. Ignoring this warning sign for long enough will leave you stranded.
We too receive warning signs when it’s time to fuel up. The problem is, they’re often less obvious and easier to ignore. As we become more self-aware and intuitively astute, we recognize the signs earlier and can take proactive measures.
A lopsided load makes the motorcycle harder to handle, affects performance and requires more energy from the rider. Prioritizing what you take, being creative, keeping the weight and center of gravity low and close to midline makes the weight easier to manage.
Taking on additional responsibilities, whether we choose them or the Universe delivers them to us, can create stress, anxiety, fatigue and illness. Learning to recognize the signs, drawing on alternative resources and jettisoning that which isn’t necessary alleviates the pressure.
Like our motorcycles when they’re stored for long periods, skills get rusty after periods of inactivity. Before hopping on the bike for that first ride of the season, it’s important to practice and get the feel of the controls again. Periodic skill refreshers correct bad habits we’ve picked up and prepare us for more challenging situations – and new adventures!
Staying current keeps us vibrant and marketable. Our world changes very quickly and if we intend to be engaged in it, continuous learning is part of the curriculum.
A motorcycle relies on its operator for instruction and direction. Without a rider, the bike just sits there. And without a bike…..it’s a long walk.
Strong business and personal relationships help us and our businesses thrive. We bring unique skills and attributes to any relationship, making us stronger and more effective together. An interdependent relationship is far more fulfilling than one where partners are independent or dependent.
While riding, we continuously scan our environment while concurrently receiving signals through our senses on road surface conditions, posted signs, traffic, weather and other potential hazards. We are gifted with additional sounds, smells and sensations we miss when traveling with a metal cage around us. Being open to inputs, allows us to make appropriate and necessary adjustments to prepare for the road ahead.
Other people act as our mirrors. While we may not always agree, listening to their feedback teaches us about ourselves. We make our own choices but often others see things that we don’t. Ultimately, listening to our intuition after it’s processed the inputs, is our best guide.
Routine inspections and preventative maintenance reduce premature wear, enhance performance and promote safety.
Body, mind and soul are no different. They need regular care and nourishment to function optimally and allow us to flourish.
Liz Jansen is an author, speaker, coach, adventurer – and motorcycle aficionado. Her book Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment draws on stories from a diverse group of fifty women to illustrate lessons of self-discovery and adventure. Liz creates events, retreats and workshops, focused on personal growth, leadership and adventure – and motorcycles are often included. She has appeared on TV and radio shows and written for numerous print and online publications, including her own website. Follow her on Twitter or Linkedin.
Print or kindle copies of Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment can be purchased at Amazon here.