If a bike tire is out of balance, you can’t go faster, farther, or harder or you will wreck your ride. Mountain biking the entire Colorado Trail taught me a big lesson about balancing my career to keep from getting wrecked.
Bike tires rely on spokes to keep them balanced and “true”.
An imbalanced career is like a bike tire that isn’t “true”; it’s imbalanced, unsafe, and keeps you from finishing well.
Our careers change, which is why we need to evaluate our careers with each new season.
It’s better to fix an imbalanced career now and be delayed than to go a long time on an imbalanced career trajectory.
There are five spokes that balance your career:
The Work you do
The Company you work
The Compensation you earn
The Team you work with
The Relationship you have with your boss
Take the time to grade each “spoke” of your career with a green light, yellow light, or red light.
Get feedback from those closest to you to find where the balance is present or missing in your career.
I blew a tire on the Colorado trail and made a big mistake
This summer I mountain biked the Colorado trail with a group of guys. It’s a high-altitude, backcountry trail that stretches from Durango to Denver (485 miles). Twelve days on the trail, ten days of which were riding. Lots of pushing, carrying, white-knuckling, just a brutal ride and an awesome experience.
We were cruising along, forty miles from the finish, and we hit super sharp rocks. It’s the type of terrain where your tires wag and you have to be careful. The sidewall of my tire gets cut so my friend Alex and I stopped to fix the tire.
The problem is, I was lazy. I tried patching the tire, inserted a new tube, and didn’t get the tire all the way on the rim. If you’ve ever seen a tire, whether it’s a car or a bike, then you know that you’re not going to go far with a wonky tire. Even though I knew my tire was off, I was tired and thought I could push through a poorly placed tire.
I ended up having to pull over, redo the tire completely, and get the tire back in line to get back up to high speeds and finish well. No more shortcuts. No more “good enoughs”.
Rebalancing your career
It got me thinking: when things are out of line, they may be fine at slower speeds for a shorter period of time. It’s a whole ‘nother issue when things are out of line and life is going faster and faster.
Eventually over time, an imbalanced career gets worse over time.
On a bike wheel, you have spokes that are under equal tension. A balanced tire is “true”. A “true” tire helps balance your tire evenly as pressure and demands are shifted over time and distance. When our lives, in particular our careers, are out of balance, when they’re not “true,” you can only tolerate being out of “true” for so long.
In the podcast I outline how to evaluate each spoke of your career to find true balance. I’m also working with my team to create a Career Evaluation resource to help with re-balancing your career. My hope is to give you the questions, insight, and opportunities to re-evaluate the pressure, demands, and fulfillment of your career.