Leading the Service Industry Blog

Guest Blog: The Art of Motorcycle Riding

by Mary Kennedy Thompson on June 10, 2016

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Back at the turn of the century my Dad invited me for a motorcycle ride to the Grand Canyon. He invited me under the auspices that he had a brand new motorcycle he wanted to test and thought it would give us special time together. He was right. What I did not know when I accepted his invitation was he had another motive for the ride.  He had a lesson to share with me and the motorcycle was (pun intended) the vehicle for that lesson.

His motorcycle was equipped with helmets that allowed the driver and passenger to talk with one another so for five hours he shared his wisdom and reminded me how important it is to take in the view and consciously decide where I wanted to look. We ended the ride at the Grand Canyon arriving a few minutes before the sun began setting.  I was in awe of the beauty all around me. Then my Dad invited me to sit on a bench with him to watch the sun set as he finished his lesson.

He told me that life is like riding a motorcycle. Your bike – like your life – will go where you’re looking. If you’re looking in the wrong direction you’ll get fixated on the wrong thing and likely crash. This is particularly true when making turns on your path. Nine times out of ten the bike is capable of getting you around the corner but you must look where you want to go. And he said you must learn to look as far down the road as you can because the best riders are not surprised. Instead they anticipate the road and the turns. The best drivers also are constantly moving their machines down the road to the best driving conditions.

He had taken me on the ride because he thought I had been looking in the wrong direction and he was right. At that time in my life I was focused on negative things and had forgotten about looking where I wanted to go.  His wisdom and mentoring helped me refocus, find the right road, and look in the direction of success. I also learned that day that in our lives we may know someone who needs to be handed a hard and heavy brick. We see this with  some on our teams, in our families and with close friends. We can throw the brick at them likely causing harm or we can hand them the brick carefully and with kindness in a way they can best accept it. That day I was handed a brick with love and care.

I share this story with you as a reminder that as we ride our motorcycles in life our focus will make one of the biggest differences in the quality of the ride.

R – Really successful people have mentors in their life to help them grow faster and stronger

I – I grow best by looking in the direction I want to go and looking as far down the road as possible

D – Driving conditions on the road require us to navigate toward the best road possible

E – Everyone we mentor will be best served when we hand them their bricks with care and kindness

I encourage you to find a mentor for one place in your business where you need improvement or to look on a different direction. It’s also important to offer to mentor someone where you are strong.  Are you looking in the right direction? If not, changing that is the most important thing you can do today.

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Mary Kennedy Thompson

Mary Kennedy Thompson has a long history with the Dwyer Group and now serves as the company Chief Operating Officer. Mary is an expert in business, franchising, leadership and plumbing!

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