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3 Things Mountain Biking Helped Me Learn About Business

One of my favorite things to do is mountain bike. I am fortunate to live near one of the best mountain biking locations in the country, Brown County State Park in Nashville, IN.

During my last ride, I was struck with the similarities in riding and my experiences with business. I wanted to share these comparisons with you, as I have found them to challenge me both personally and professionally.

Keep the Momentum

As I spend more time riding, I find myself getting faster with more and more power. At some point, these gains plateau and to increase your performance you’ve got to focus on “The Big Mo” and harness it to your advantage. In the 1960’s Big Momentum or “The Big Mo” was used to describe behavioral momentum on a larger scale, where this momentum was considered the driving factor to success. Mind you that a lot of energy has to be exerted to arrive at a good clip and to keep that pace through the obstacles, you have to learn how to use your gears and your body’s momentum at just the right combination. If you’re able to harness your momentum it will provide you with the ability to run a line that will carry you through and around obstacles as opposed to over them. When I have attempted to go over obstacles I tend to fall more often or the need to drastically reduce my speed. The bottom line: it takes a form of aggressive momentum that requires extra energy up front increasing overall speed and preventing early fatigue.

This principle also applies to how you view your marketing efforts. It will take several passes to arrive at a steady clip resulting in enough power to produce steady, predictable results. Furthermore, investing with a responsive marketing team, the marketing power created is stewarded in a way that will carry onward with unbeatable momentum.

Clear the Head Trash

About a year into mountain biking, I had my first big fall that resulted in a dislocated shoulder. Fortunately, I was able to get back out on the trails 3 months later but something was different. I found myself second-guessing, being more cautious with every move, out of fear of injury. That annoying head trash  “…uh oh, this isn’t going to be good” or “I told you that was a dumb move” clouded my ability to ride confidently and with joy. In those 3 months I had lost biking confidence and self-esteem.

In mountain biking, there are numerous obstacles that present themselves along the path. Gnarly roots, jagged rocks, steep descents and sharp turns can easily throw you off your bike (just ask my shoulder…). You see, any expert will tell you that if you approach any of these obstacles with the slightest bit of hesitation your chances of making it through with two feet on the pedals drastically decreases. So, ironically if left untreated that annoying head trash could actually be the primary cause of another fall.

Have you ever been burned by marketing and then applied that experience to the next opportunity thus clouding your ability to make a decision? Negative self-talk can creep in on a daily basis and, if given merit, could easily throw anyone off their path.

Be Mindful

On the trail you are laser focused on the 15 feet ahead of you, scouring for obstacles that might throw you off course. In a moments notice you must shift, break and react to the evolving terrain without a second thought. One might think that this intense level of focus could become exhausting; however, compared to being constantly distracted I have found this experience to be extremely therapeutic.

Bring your attention to your present experience. Too many times we set things on autopilot and wonder why they didn’t arrive at our desired destination. Progress requires mindfulness and persistence. I’ve talked with many business owners who have been frustrated with a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to marketing services. This type of approach will surely flat line at the first sight of an obstacle or an unexpected turn in the business.

What I have learned from mountain biking, has translated to other parts of my life and career. Know your path, keep your momentum and be ready to respond!

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AUTHOR

Curt Merlau
Curt Merlau
Vice President of Sales

Curt Merlau is a Vice President of Sales within Valve+Meter Performance Marketing. He brings to the team a passion for transformative growth from his experience with strategic development acquired as a leader in the non-profit sector and his formal training in educational leadership. He and his family reside in Bloomington.