Chasing the pack
There’s only two ways to see this view: from a car, or … well, from behind sweat [and tear] stained sunglasses. I wasn’t in a car.
This road may look flatter than the Kansas landscape, but never judge a book by its cover. My coach had wrangled up a gnarly group of athletes recently for one of her fav mountainous rides and, in this photo, we were literally climbing through, and out of, our collective Pain Cave. A mere 41 miles of riding took us through 4,000+ ft of elevation and I was lucky Lesley was in the pack ahead of me here — if she knew i had the energy to take this photo I dread to think of the consequences.
But once again, in my salty grime and lactic acid induced state of hurt, I found interesting parallels between entrepreneurship and this winding, rising road we climbed.
1. A constant desire to stay with the pack. In cycling, there’s definitely deliciousness in sticking together (despite the inherent risk in riding so closely together). This juxtaposition of staying with the pack (for the benefits of energy saved) and breaking away (using saved energy to win the race at strategic moments) happens all the time when you’re building a company. When do you ignore the competitors and do what you know is right, what you’re good at, and leave the safety of the ‘slip stream’? If you are starting something from scratch, whether inside a company or a new company outright, you are leaving the safety of the pack and hopefully, have a well of energy to suck on for the haul up the mountain.
2. When you’re learning, or getting stronger, it’s good to stay with the pack. But finding the right pack to be with is key. The balance, in business or in sport, is to find the group or people that challenge you in the ways that help you grow. Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference – especially if you’re climbing. I mean a hill, is a hill, is a hill. It’s hard. But do that hill in your hardest gears, and then out of the saddle for 25 minutes, and you’ll find yourself training with a different group of people right away. Same in biz. The trick is finding the right pack – and learning from and “training” with them. And whether its competitors in business or in sport, it’s not the size that matters.
Onward and upward. Always.