Five Leadership Lessons from Mountain Biking

by Anita Torres, Passion Powered Leadership, for SportsMD.com

Anita, the Passionista, Torres

In my own personal growth journey, I never imagined how much I could learn by living one of my passions: mountain bike riding on nature trails. Here are five key lessons learned as a mountain biker that I have applied as an entrepreneur and business leader – and so can you!

1.     Be Prepared – My first time out on the trail wasn’t good. I showed up with my bike, but not enough water, snacks, or tools to help me get through the ride. Preparation is critical. Know where you want to go. Be clear on the goals you want to accomplish. Get your mind and body ready for the ups and downs. Set powerful intentions for the outcomes you want. Riding, like leading others, is not effective when you just “wing it.”

 

Unsplash/Tobias Bjerknes

2.     Invest in the Right Equipment – “Don’t even think you can hit the rugged trails with your $99 cruiser,” my riding coach said. Having the right tools makes a world of difference with speed, technique, and strategy for going the distance. Leadership is not just about the best software or the latest technology. It’s also about hiring the right people with the right mindset, skills, knowledge, and abilities for your organization.

3.     Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses – My riding got better after completing technical skills classes with a professional biking coach. These sessions helped me stay loose, maintain momentum, shift gears, and focus on the path. As a leader, there is power in asking for help and allowing others to share their strengths. Sometimes it takes working with an Executive Leadership Coach who can guide you to see which blind spots are getting in the way of your success.

 

Pexels/Dorothy Castillo

4.     Encourage Others Along the Way – In my biking tribe, there are all levels of riders. The term “No Drop Zone” is when someone is assigned the lead on the trail and another person is the “sweeper” who ensures no one is left behind. As a leader, you can create a no-drop-zone workplace, where all team members are included and supported. How diverse and inclusive is your workplace? What are you doing to encourage others along your leadership journey?

5.     Take Time Out — Riding through nature allows me time for some critical self-reflection on what I am doing in my business and in life on what’s working, what’s not, and the courage to make changes if needed.

In the press of day-to-day responsibilities, it’s easy to forget the bigger picture. Paying attention to lessons like these will help you become a better leader – even if you never get on a bike.

Anita, the Passionista, Torres, is co-author of the bestseller “Experts & Influencers: Leadership Series, compiled by Rebecca Hall Gruyter. As a Certified Executive Leadership Coach and Consultant, Anita guides entrepreneurs, business and corporate leaders to communicate simply, to engage teams powerfully, to create inclusive cultures, and to be leaders worth following using the powers of Passion in the workplace, Emotional Intelligence, and Conversational Intelligence®. Learn more at www.passionpoweredleadership.com.

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Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at jerry (at) jerrymilani (dot) com.

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