Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Everything I Need to Know.....

One of these days I'm going to write a book.  Partially stealing from a book that's already out there it's going to be titled "Everything I've Needed to Know I've Learned From Motorcycling."

Writers will often tell you that the secret to a great book is either extensive research, drawing upon a life rich in experience, or both.  Up until a few years ago I was convinced that I was loaded with both. Sometimes we just don't know what we don't know.  We hear that from riders who come into our advanced training courses.  The past three and a half years have been like that for me when it comes to leadership skills.  Like I mentioned in the last post there is so much to be learned about life by studying motorcycles and riders.  I've been lucky to have a front row seat in an intensive study program.  Along the way a legend in the world of motorcycle safety has been an inspiring mentor.

That's the reason for the revival of this long dormant blog.  There is so much to share.  Treasure should never be buried and hidden.  The greatest value comes if it's allowed to enrich lives.  I humbly offer to share what treasure I have gained with you all.

Here's a sneak peek at some of the nuggets.  

It's not about us.  The real rewards come from helping others to grow.  True leaders create circumstances where people can thrive.  Then they get out of the way.    Given the chance and inspiration, people whom we never suspect are capable of it will step up to become Superheroes.  

Speaking of surprises, sometimes we can actually be our most creative under stressful conditions.  This is a cell phone photo of a burning motorcycle. The flames are really that high.  I've just increased the intensity of the color for effect.  My creative moment?  I suddenly realized that BMW is actually an acronym for "Bring More Water!!"

Life has a way of maintaining balance.  Kind of like how chocolate is Nature's way of balancing out vegetables.  If we often end up looking good....well, be careful.  When things start going our way and life's moving along like a well-oiled machine.........

 ........you know what's coming next.  We're going to be dished up some "bad-feather days".

Big-picture perspective is something we should never lose.  It can make all the difference in the world between coping successfully or having a psychotic episode!  Not only does it help us with living, this is also a fantastic strategy for conflict management.  I get a lot of practice in this area on Mondays and Tuesdays when the "flaming arrows" from disgruntled students who call in.  The buck stops with me.  

Then there are times when we just have to stop and enjoy the moment.  I allowed myself to become so immersed in work because I love what we do that balance was lost.  An avocation that became a vocation. Fortunately, a very cherished friend has been patiently teaching me to be open to these moments and simply "be".  We miss so much by focusing on the destination to the exclusion of enjoying the scenery.  Having a friend like this is a priceless treasure in my life.  Sometimes we forget what a powerfully healing effect gratitude can have on us.

There is so much more.  How critical it is to have empathy.  The immense strength in clarity.  No matter where a person is in life or riding, sometimes the most powerful question is "what do they need now?".  Need navigational beacons?  Try these:  What's the problem?  What's the scope?  What's the objective and how do we know we've reached it?

Need motivation?  Try this:  "Talk don't cook rice".  Ever find yourself faced with a big task that seems a bit overwhelming?  Suddenly we have this urge to clean out a closet, detail the bike, or sanitize our kitchen.  None of which are really productive and the task is still there.

Yes, there will still be riding tips.  Good physical skills are critical to have.  Life, however, like motorcycling is mostly mental.  Or, to quote Yogi Berra:  "Half of this game is ninety percent mental".

Hope you'll come along with me and enjoy the journey.

Miles and smiles,


Monday, September 07, 2015

Bringing the Life Back

The door to this room opened with a reluctant creaking of long unused hinges.  So long dormant that they'd forgotten their purpose and were now loudly protesting being called into action.  Have you ever noticed that there's no place as cold and unwelcoming as a room that's long been vacant?  The warmth and life spirit stirred up by human activity has slowly seeped out of the myriad of tiny escape routes.  For a while there's hope that life will return but it fades over time as the emptiness remains. Eventually hope is abandoned.  Instead of the Bluebird of Happiness flying in the door the Chicken of Depression sits on the windowsill and stares morosely into the gloomy dead space.

Fortunately, it doesn't take long to bring a place back to life.  My intent is to throw open the windows to let some fresh air in.  As the room sees the light of day for the first time in years there's a dull gray cast to everything.  The sun's light, long absent from this room, shows that it's the reflection from a thick layer of dust and cobwebs.  It will take a bit of work but this place will soon be as vibrant and alive as it was before.  At least that's the plan.

It's been both a long three and a half years and time that's passed quickly.  Every day has been full but looking back it's gone by in a blur.

I'm still with TEAM OREGON though my role is slowly changing.  I've learned a lot in these years.  For example, it's possible to get to the point where one has no life outside of motorcycling.  For some that's a sweet dream come true but there's also a hidden curse.  One better understands the tales of sailors being pulled along by the sweet song of the Sirens only to find themselves so caught up that it becomes difficult to escape.

Another thing that's been revealed is that motorcycling is a microcosm of life in general.  Just about every phase of a person's life has a parallel in a rider's journey and progress.

Over the next while I'm compelled to share what I've learned.  Hopefully you'll find it a rewarding journey.

One thing that's been a blessing and has kept me from being totally consumed by motorcycling is my photography.  I like to think it's been steadily improving over the past few years.  A lot of that credit goes to Bobskoot.  (Rest in peace, my friend).  Bob generously shared his experience, knowledge, and encouragement with me when I was getting started. This last photo is a composite I put together as a tribute to Bob.  Find what symbolism you will in it.  You're welcome to share your thoughts on it here.  In fact, I'd appreciate it if you would.

Miles and smiles,