I want you to think back to your first time riding a bike. This is something almost everyone reading this blog learned as a child. If I asked for stories, you would probably tell me whether it was your dad or mom who taught you how to ride. Whoever it was that taught you to ride didn’t actual do it for you; instead, they told you the concept, put training wheels on the bike so we could become comfortable, probably even walked beside you while you peddled on your own for a while. If you were like me, it took several times of your dad walking beside you and picking you up when you fell, then saying “We’ll try again tomorrow.” After a few days you finally got it and off you went. And your life was never the same.
About a year ago, I got an old motorcycle and took my daughter to a parking lot to teach her to ride. I walked beside her on the motorcycle and she dropped it. So I went over and picked it back up and got her started again. It took a few times to get her to balance the bike, learn how to work the clutch and brake, and remember when she stopped to put her feet down.
I remember when she rode her two-wheel pedal bike for the first time as a child. The first time she took off without me holding the back of the bike, it was a joy to see. If you have a child and you have watched this, right now you probably have a smile on your face just thinking of that moment in your life.
Now, imagine yourself as a parent and not being able to help your child learn to ride a bike at all. I know of a parent-child situation like this because the child had a unique disability – a form of autism that left him with some amazing cognitive skills but unable to figure out how to pedal a bike. Recently, the child (who is actually now a grown man) met a personal trainer at a fitness center and that trainer, through patience and perseverance, was able to work with the young man. In a matter of 15 minutes he was pedaling away on a stationary bike – something he had never been able to figure out in almost 30 years.
Today, I want to apply the concept of teaching your child to ride a bike to your life. We all have a desire for our children to succeed. If you are parent, you want your kids to succeed in life. I want my daughter to be able to ride a motorcycle. I know the talent is inside of her to do it, just like it was for her when I helped her ride the bike as a child. We as parents sometimes have a tough time bringing out those hidden talents inside our children. We love them but sometimes we have to learn to let them go; let them fall; let them make their mistakes. Some of the greatest things in life were created by learning from mistakes. We sometimes have trouble being objective enough to let go so they can make those mistakes.
So if you have been trying to keep the training wheels on for the safety of your one and only child, once they reach adulthood you must let them go into the world and fall sometimes. They will get it. I promise you. It was hard to watch my daughter drop that motorcycle. Yes I want to keep her from falling, to stay on the bike myself and let her ride behind with me driving. But someday I’m going to be gone and she will have to know enough about life to live on her own.
I also want to make a point about the trainer who took the time to work with this young man who had never been able to figure out how to ride a bike. He was a personal trainer at a fitness club and didn’t have any special expertise with special needs kids but he knew how to work with and bring out people’s natural physical abilities. He also knew how to help them persevere. The young man’s parents had given up teaching him to ride years ago and did not see it as possible. It took someone with fresh eyes, who had an easier time letting go, to bring the skill out.
As a coach part of what I do, is working with people, getting to know what they want to overcome. Looking inside to find the talents, and relate that with training, and exercise to bring out the talent to reach the desired achievement.
Imagine your world if you were living your dream, what does that look like? What have you struggled with that has kept you from that childhood dream of who you wanted to be? Are you ready to find that, and take action to make it happen?