I learned everything I needed to know about life in kindergarten, and I learned (almost) everything I need to know about my career riding a motorcycle.
Actually, I ride a scooter. My scooter, a light blue 2009 Genuine Buddy 125, with an impressive 125cc engine, is registered as a motorcycle. (Think scooters can’t go very fast? My Buddy 125 can get up to speeds of 70 miles per hour and get 85 miles per gallon! )
I’m an avid scooterist, riding year-round in Colorado, and riding my scooter is a lot like successfully navigating my career. Riding safely while sharing the road with other vehicles is a lot like working in a corporate environment.
Here’s what I’ve learned about riding and my career success:
Take the road less traveled.
Riding on roads with less traffic allows me to relax and enjoy the ride. I don’t have to fight for my space on the road and there’s often fewer traffic stops, though the actual riding distance may be longer.
In your career there is more than one path to success. Not only do career goals vary from person to person, so does the way to get there. There is more than one way to get where you want go in your career. Consider alternatives paths to achieve your goals. You may be surprised how far you can go by taking advantage of on-the-job training, professional associations, networking, and volunteering for new assignments and projects at work and other non-traditional paths for career development.
Know where you’re headed.
When riding a motorcycle it’s useful to map out a route before you get on your bike and ride. Plan your ride around road construction, rough roads and find the best route to your destination.
Ask yourself some questions about your career. What are your professional goals? What do you want to achieve in your career? If you haven’t decided where you want to go, you’re not likely to achieve career success you want.
Look where you’re going.
One of the first lessons they teach in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course is to look where you want to go. You guide your bike in the direction of your eyes, so keep your head up and go where you’re looking.
The same lesson is true in your career. Look up. Be aware. Watch for opportunities and take advantage of them; be engaged in your career success.
Scan the road ahead.
Smart riders scan the road ahead for changes in the road. It’s important to know what’s ahead of you before you get there so you can adjust your path as necessary.
In your career you can keep your head up and your network engaged so you are alerted to opportunities that may present themselves. Position yourself for maximum career success and adjust your position as needed.
When I’m riding my scooter I’m sharing the road with other vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. It’s important for my safety to ride courteously and not try to pick a fight with other vehicles because my life is on the line. How I ride is far more important than how others are driving.
When you’re interacting with others in your career, be courteous! Your career is affected by your professional relationships. You don’t have to respond in-kind to bad behavior, and a courtesy is good for your reputation.
When you hit an obstacle, stand up.
When riding a motorcycle and you hit an obstacle in the road you stand up on your bike to avoid being thrown from it. A rider uses their legs to absorb the shock.
If your career throws an obstacle in your path, rise to the occasion. Be the individual that takes responsibility and discovers a solution or solves a problem. A business setback is the perfect opportunity to learn and grow.
What career lessons have you learned from your everyday life?