Monday, 7 September 2009

I've Sold My Motorbike

I've sold my motorbike. Something I thought I'd never do. I bought my first bike 10 years ago and fell in love with biking, the speed, the camaraderie, the adrenalin rush, and being able to get miles away from it all in less than an hour. I've been to Spain, to Andorra, to watch Motorcycle Grand Prix (twice), to the Ron Haslam Race School (3 times), and all over the North of England and Southern Scotland.

And that's the problem, I've done everything I want to do on a motorcycle. I've learned to ride a motorcycle quickly, smoothly, and safely. I could learn how to ride it quicker, but then I'd be taking too much of a risk for my liking. I could go further away to rural France or the Alps, but I don't like to take a holiday without my family. So all my boxes have been ticked and it's not stimulating in the way that it used to be.

Although I still enjoy riding a motorbike, especially my KTM, curiously I found that enjoying it just wasn't enough. You know when you buy a new album and there's a song on the album that you just love, so you play it again and again, and one day you find that although you like the song it no longer gets your heart racing or your emotions buzzing. Well motorcycling has become like that for me. Good but not great. Enjoyable but not stimulating.

In the process of coming to this conclusion I've learned something about myself. I need new challenges, I need to be constantly learning and improving, and once I've reached a satisfactory level of competence with something, it's time to move onto something new.. All of which left me with a problem. I need a hobby, something that gives me some “me” time: time when I can relax and do something simply for the fun of doing it. So I've taken up golf. “Fun?” I hear you say. And yes it is a rather different kettle of fish to motorcycling. But it does give me many of the things I look for in a hobby: it gets me into the great outdoors, it does involve some exercise (although I won't get fit playing golf), and most importantly it's really challenging. So far it appears to provide more limitless opportunities to learn and improve than motorcycling, because learning how to become a great golfer does not involve crossing a line into life threatening risk-taking.

Now given that my articles and blogs are supposed to be about business, what are the lessons I've learned relative to business. Well since becoming more aware of my inherent need for learning and stimulation beyond enjoyment, I've turned my attention to ways in which I can transform my business and the results are really exciting. I've come up with a new to structure the commercial relationships I have with my clients, I'm repositioning the work that I do so that it produces more tangible results, and I'm developing some sound and workable ideas for two new businesses.

So my conclusions are, if you want to enjoy your work more, become more engaged in your work, and produce better than ever performance, make a change. Change your strategy, change your organisational structure, change your management-style, acquire some new skills and put them into practice, take on some new responsibilities, or simply do that thing you've been putting off for too long. Because if you want something you've never had, you won't get it by doing the same things you’ve always done.