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Success Is Like Riding a Bicycle

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People often say “it’s like riding a bike” –  meaning that once you know how to ride a bike, it’s easy and you never forget. Being someone for whom balance and coordination were always a challenge, my bike riding skills as a child were adequate, but never really my forte.

After a large number of years of non-bike riding, my husband and I bought two hybrid bikes to try out the ever-increasing cycleways. I felt that on a cycleway the chances of me being wiped out by a car would be minimalised. We started off with gentle climbs and mostly flat rides and then as my confidence grew, so did the hills. The first time I tried the Mana Domain to Pukerua Bay trail, I struggled with the climb up to Pukerua Bay. In fact, I struggled so much that when I reached a particularly steep part, I gave up and walked my bike the rest of the way.

Imagine my chagrin with myself when I realised I was only 100 metres from the top of the hill. As I flew down the hill, on my way back to the start, I promised myself that I would never give up at that point again. This trail is now my go-to bike ride for a good work-out. That part of the hill is always a struggle, but now that I know I am near the top, I always push through.

It's a bit like that when you start in a new role, and everything seems hard. Someone once referred to it as being like trying to drink out of a firehose. So much new information is coming at you and there is only a small amount that you are able to retain. Then, as you become more confident in your new role, the gush turns down to a trickle and suddenly it seems to be so much more doable.

So often when we are faced with challenges in our roles, we are tempted to give up. Yet more often than not, if we push ourselves past the challenge or barrier, we find that we were almost at the point of success.

If I only stayed on the flats with my bike riding, I wouldn’t gain the physical benefits and also wouldn’t have the thrill of flying down the hill after my climb. When I look back on my career, the challenges were my greatest learning experiences and in retrospect have helped me grow both as a person and in my career in a way that smooth riding would never have done.

So next time you are feeling overwhelmed by a challenge in your job, remember that more often than not, success is just on the other side.