If you have ever been in a lunch and learn series of mine, it was probably based on John Maxwell's book "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership". In that series, I typically try to make it a point to talk about the Law of Navigation and the Law of Timing. Sound familiar?
Law of Navigation: "anyone can steer a ship but it takes a leader to chart the course."
Law of Timing: "when to lead is as important as what to do and where to go."
As most of you know, I am new to the sport of cycling but just recently rode my first century ride (105.5 miles). This accomplishment was HUGE for me and afterwards I felt like I was on top of the world. My theory was that If I was in shape enough to ride a 100+ miles, I could do anything! Two weeks after the big ride I signed up for a ride sponsored by my bike club. My friend and I were planning to ride the metric century which was 62 miles...In my head, that was nothing compared to the 105 miles that I had done two weeks prior. I thought, "I got this! Nothing to worry about."
When training for the 105 mile ride, I was vigilant to learn and prepare ahead of time. I charted my course. I sought out advisors that had ridden the course before and asked for tips from them. I made sure to sleep, eat and hydrate properly the week prior. I made sure that I had all of the right gear, food and snacks that I would need for the ride. I was ready! I made sure to abide by the Law of Navigation.
The week before my 62 mile ride, I did none of the above. In fact, I did the opposite of above. I had a long busy week of work and hadn't slept well. Then on Friday, the evening before the ride I insisted on going to dinner with some girlfriends in which I consumed a "super healthy" dinner of creamy habanero prawns, chicken nachos, a Moscow mule and ice cream for dessert! Again, I justified to myself that two weeks prior I had ridden 105.5 miles and if I could do that, I could do this!
Boy was I wrong! The night before the ride I didn't sleep well. Unprepared, I packed the morning of the ride and to my surprise it was raining that morning. I hadn't prepared for rain and didn't bring my rain coat, waterproof gloves, shoe covers or my arm sleeves. I also didn't realize that my supply of protein bars and breakfast foods had been depleted. In these moments, I was feeling under prepared, cold and a bit frustrated. I even apologized to my friend saying, "I am sorry if I am grumpy right now. My sister always tells me I am not fun to be around when I am tired, cold or hungry."
When I arrived at the start of the course, I was chatting with another biker about how we planned to ride the 62 mile course. I told him that I had heard through the grapevine that the course was flat and assumed everything would be fine. I would just power through it. Mind above matter right?
The kicker of this story is that I didn’t know this ride had multiple courses. A HARD 104 miles and an EASY 62 miles. Guess who didn't do their research? Let me tell you, there is no worse feeling than climbing 4000ft when you are already tired and expecting a flat course. While struggling up the hill, the biker that I had chatted with at the start line passes by me and says "you told me you were riding the flat 62 not the hilly 104". WE WERE ON THE WRONG COURSE!!! By the time we made it to the second rest stop at mile 24, my friend and I had both BONKED. In biker terms this means we had run out of energy. Due to the nature of the weather, poor planning and preparation we both decided to take a SAG car back to our cars. That day we admitted defeat and the road won.
After reflecting back on my experience that day, it made me think a lot about the Law of Navigation and the Law of Timing. As leaders, we need to pay attention to the "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" because when we ignore them like I did, they begin to work against us. Since that ride, I had spent a good amount of time thinking about what went wrong or how some of my decisions led to the undesirable outcome. I am just thankful that neither of us got hurt and decided to walk away before either of us did.
The big lesson that I learned from this experience is that sometimes as leaders we need to STOP, evaluate risk and take the time to make a decision about moving forward....The Law of Timing. In this instance our best decision was to walk away and call it a day. I always make it a point to try and learn from all of my experiences...good or bad....so that I can be even better the next time around!
My challenge for you this week is pinpoint a recent experience of yours and spend some honest time reflecting and learning from that experience. I would love to hear newly found insight!