Cycling is one of my favorite activities. Mounting the seat before sunrise, before the city stirs, the quiet before the morning and the storm. The cool wind rubs your face, the head is free of any distractions… Off road, you’ll meet animals, orchards, smells and scenery, the cool, clean air fills your lungs. If you’re biking in the city, you’re bound to be enveloped by the smells of freshly baked goods as all around you the city stirs – first the trucks bringing in fresh produce, then the early risers, rushing off to beat traffic.
Morning cycling, to me, is my alone time. It has been for the past ten years. It’s my time to think about the previous day, the tasks ahead, my clients and the challenges we face together. It’s the time to look into where I can and need to improve, a sort of lesson-learning process on the go, always producing greater value for the startups and accelerators I work with.
Just like cycling, facing these thoughts is no easy feat. It’s a challenge that forces you to stay focused. I mentor, consult and work with startups from all over the spectrum. Some might think of it as problematic, but after 9 years of mentoring I can safely say that approaching a company with no prior experience in the field is – for me, at least – an advantage, and I say this with more than 25 years of international marketing management experience.
Some cyclers love riding downhill. I’m the opposite: cycling uphill is a challenge in and of itself, and each time I set a new personal record. In those moments, when everything gets tougher, your muscles ache and there’s not enough air to fill your lungs – that’s when you get the best solutions, those eureka moments, a fix to a problem I was struggling with when I first gripped the handlebars that morning. It’s incredibly satisfying to get that catharsis, just when things are at their most difficult.
The best thing about getting to a meeting after a bike ride (or any workout, really) is that you’re focused, energized, attentive. You’re prepared, you’re pumped. You are able to give answers to questions after mulling them over during the ride, instead of relying solely on gut feeling (although there’s nothing wrong with gut feelings, as long as they’re not your main driver). Your clients see before them a person who’s prepared and the session is inevitably effective. There’s no wasting of anyone’s time, only forward thinking, and this gives the client the peace of mind – you’re in control.
Those are my two cents on biking and effective meetings. Everybody wins.