You Steer Where You’re Looking

My good friend, Mike recently took me mountain biking on some of the trails running through the foothills above Boise. Before this, I mostly rode my bike on the street and on the local greenbelt. It became quickly obvious – hills are a game changer.

We rode up until I couldn’t go any farther. The sign that we had reached this point was me losing my breakfast out on the trail. Hills are also the ultimate weight-loss plan.

Once I was done throwing up, I started looking forward to the downhill portion of our ride. Less pedaling, more coasting. Definitely not as strenuous as the uphill.

But I quickly discoverd it was harder mentally

We were riding on single track trails. They’re only two to three feet wide. They curve. There are blindspots. There are rocks on the trail and there are trees on the side (which meant you had to roll over a root every now and then).

I had to keep my eyes on the trail…constantly.

Mike told me a story about another ride he took with some friends . They were coming down a single track they called “barbwire.” It was aptly named because there was a barbwire fence running down the length of it.

Mike said, “You will steer where you’re looking. You have to focus on the trail. One of my friends turned and looked at the barbwire. He ended up in the barbwire.”

Ouch!

Since our first ride, I’ve gone back out and practiced. I’m getting better and able to go farther (higher!) each time out. But no matter how much I improve, I still have to focus intently on the trail…especially on the downhill portions.

It’s so easy to get distracted when things appear easy. It’s during those moments in life where I find myself coasting that I take my eyes off the path. I’m distracted by the things that can’t hurt me if I stay on the path. But if I look at them too long, I end up right in the middle of them; tangled up in a place I don’t want to be.

I’m reflecting on Mike’s words to me: You will steer where you’re looking. It’s great advice for mountain biking. It’s even better advice for life.

Let me ask you this: What are you focused on today to make sure you stay on track?

 

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Ian

    Fantastic analogy. I’ve grown up riding mountain bikes and motorcycles and I am now trying to find my way in the business world, and this struck a chord for me.

    • tim milburn

      Appreciate the comment Ian. Glad you found it helpful.

  • Lynn Degele

    What a great visual image, Tim, I’ll remember the analogy of the barb wire, I hadn’t thought of it like that before! Not an easy thing to focus on the trail when there’s something as treacherous as the barb wire on the periphery of your vision, but even more important to focus on what we want, on our goals.

    I am beginning to see this for myself more clearly every day, to realise that my past is my past, and I need to look ahead, and visualise what I want to achieve. To not allow myself to be sidetracked by my worst imaginings (or that critical inner voice telling me to be overly cautious and analytical when trying out new ideas and making changes), which can take me off-course.

    Thanks for another great post.

    • tim milburn

      Lynn. Awesome comment. Thanks for adding even more great insight to the post. Thank you for affirming the message. Best wishes to you as you avoid the “critical inner voice” (we all have those).