There's something inherently exhilarating about the roar of an engine, the wind against your face, and the freedom of the open road. However, to grasp this sense of freedom, I had to conquer my fears and embark on the journey of learning to ride a motorcycle. Little did I know, this decision would become a metaphor for overcoming fears, embracing challenges, and gaining confidence in my career and life.
Embracing the Fear: "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway"
Learning to ride a motorcycle was daunting from the start. The thought of maneuvering a powerful machine through busy streets, around tight hair pin bends on high mountain passes, on motorways, ferries, through tunnels etc. all filled me with a mix of excitement and anxiety. The phrase "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" became my mantra, urging me to embrace the fear and dive into this new adventure. This phrase, so relevant to motorcycling, resonates deeply in our professional lives too. It's about acknowledging our fears, yet not letting them dictate our actions.
The Journey from Incompetence to Competence
As I started my journey, I quickly realised how much I didn't know. This transition from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence was humbling. I was aware of my lack of skill and knowledge, but I was determined to learn and grow. This transition mirrors our evolution in any career. Initially, we might not grasp the full scope of a job or task, but through learning and practice, we move towards competence. And that uncomfortable stage of being consciously aware of our incompetence is super important – this is where the magic happens as we realise the gaps we need to fill and go about doing just that.
Riding in Good Company: The Surprising Connection
When I first passed the big motorbike test I booked onto a trip to Croatia and back. Completely naïve and ignorant of how challenging this would be. I was on a bike truly not fit for purpose. And I booked through a tour company but to do this on my own – no guide, no group, just me. Luckily by sheer coincidence, the tour company did have a group travelling on the exact same dates as me to the same destination. And lesson number one came from that – I don’t need to do things alone, I can integrate with a group of strangers, and I benefitted so much from the support, lessons and community that brought.
Riding with groups of strangers, often an older male demographic, was an eye-opener. The camaraderie and support within the motorcycle community shattered any preconceived notions I had. Surrounded by experienced riders, I felt a blend of intimidation and encouragement. On that first trip I made some of my closest biker friends for life, from all around the world – and have travelled with them many times since. I learnt so so much from people so generous and patient with their knowledge, helping to grow my confidence as I picked up new riding skills.
Building Relationships: Unexpected Connections
One of the most unexpected and delightful aspects of motorcycling was the relationships formed along the way. The shared passion for riding brought together a diverse group of individuals, fostering bonds that have truly transcended age, profession, distance and background. Despite our differences, we connected on the road, appreciating the freedom and thrill that riding provides.
This unexpected camaraderie mirrors the connections we can build in our careers. Sometimes, stepping out of our comfort zones and engaging with diverse groups can lead to surprising and fulfilling relationships. Motorcycling taught me the value of being open to unexpected connections and embracing diversity.
Conclusion: Revving Up Confidence on Two Wheels
Learning to ride a motorcycle has been a transformative journey. The initial fear gradually gave way to confidence, and the challenges became stepping stones to growth and opened doors to the most incredible adventures and experiences. Like the twists and turns on the road (which I used to hate, and now I may not love, but am okay with), our careers also present unpredictable paths. It's about manoeuvring through the uncertainties with courage and determination.
Remember, sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway, understanding that the fear will fade as you gain competence. Embrace the journey, be open to learning, and revel in the relationships that unexpected adventures can bring into your life.
Ride on, fearlessly, and let the journey guide you towards a more confident and fulfilling life.