This past October I finished my fifth 5-day, 525-mile bike ride from Memphis, Tennessee to Rosemary Beach, Florida. Over 60 men participated.
We get up each day, eat (a lot), share a morning devotional and head on our way. We stop for water and food every 60 to 90 minutes. Then we arrive at our daily destination to sit around and eat (a lot). We laugh, enjoy each other's company, go to bed and do it all again the next day.
As you might imagine, you find some time to think when you're on a bike for six to eight hours a day.
What stuck out the most this year may not seem profound but I believe it is....
We make it to the beach every year.
Breaking it down even further, we also make it to our hotel every night. And we make it to every next rest stop throughout the day.
Our success rate is 100%. We achieve all of our goals.
How is it that we are able to so consistently do so? Especially considering the challenges that must be overcome to do it. Namely, riding 80 to 120 miles per day and managing all the logistics that go with it.
Furthermore, why do so many organizations and individuals struggle to achieve far easier goals while our cycling group is able to achieve ours consistently, every day, every year?
Based on my Ride2Rosemary experience, I've identified 3 reasons why goals don't work.
1. The goal isn't big enough.
Achievers must be challenged. If they aren't, they'll lose interest and find another way to tap into their competitive spirit. Maybe on a bike! It's why many people daydream about hobbies while "getting through" their workday. Lack of a challenging enough goal can create complacency. Also, the size of the prize needs to be commensurate with the size of the goal. When riding for a day, the idea of food and fellowship with friends in a hotel parking lot can be very compelling. And the idea of my family waiting for me at the finish line at the beach on Day 5 is a game-changer in the challenging moments.
2. The goal isn't clear enough.
When teams don't have clarity on what they're really trying to accomplish (either because goals are vague, constantly shifting, or because the leader doesn't seem fully committed), the individuals on the team begin pursuing their own personal agendas. People can't and won't follow ambiguity. On our bike ride, the goal is crystal clear. Get from Point A to Point B. Then, Point B becomes the new Point A and....repeat. There is a known number of miles that must be covered on each segment and an understanding of when the next nutrition stop is. This allows everyone to both plan and persevere to the end. What's built into our ride by necessity is one of the hardest parts of leading teams to achieve goals, creating the necessary checkpoints along the way. But, teams need frequent finish lines and wins to keep them motivated on the journey.
3. You're trying to accomplish too much on your own.
New riders without a lot of group experience sometimes struggle to stay close enough to the cyclist in front of them. It's understandably a little nerve-wracking. You're basically following 18 inches behind the guy in front of you blindly, trusting him to point out any obstacles in the road and to not make any sudden stops. So, it's easy to want to hang back. The problem is, because of a drafting effect, you are 20-40% more efficient when you're close. The extra effort expended by not taking advantage of the group effect can mean the difference between personal success or failure. Yes, working with others to achieve your goals requires trust, humility and patience. But the famous proverb still holds true..."If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Actually though, in cycling, you can go faster and farther together. The slow part is learning how to ride together. From there it's amazing what you can accomplish on fast group rides!
What's one thing you could do to make your goals better?
Interested in making sure you continue to grow? We are too! Schedule time with Bob to start your journey today!