Growth / Clate's Corner

Riding the Line like an Athlete

Clate Mask

Updated: Oct 23, 2021 · 2 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

person riding a bike up a highway

Running a small business is a grind at times. It's easy to get stuck in a rut, doing what you're doing, missing the perspective, the reasons you're doing what you're doing. In the toughest moments, you may feel like quitting.

At Infusionsoft by Keap, we call this rut, this grind "Riding the line." Let me explain.

A couple years ago, our chief people officer, Hal Halladay, signed up for a long-distance bike race. When he got to the out-of-state course, he noticed it had a lot of hills. Big hills. This was a weekend event, so he couldn't just grin and bear it for a short period of time. He was committed to the race. He was in it for the long haul. 

As he rode his bike up and down long hills, he was just about at the breaking point. He had many miles to go before the race was over, many more mountains to climb. And he could see those mountains in the distance. He felt like quitting.

While resting and considering how he might quit, one of the other riders asked how he was doing and offered some advice. "Just ride the line. Focus on the painted line on the street right in front of you and don't look at the big mountains ahead."

Hal did that. It became easier to focus on the task at hand—and forget his pain. Then, later in the race, the rider offered more advice, "Now look back at what you've climbed." Hal was amazed at what he had accomplished. The perspective from atop the hills gave him the satisfaction he needed to look forward, see the hills ahead, and have confidence he could finish the race.

The journey of entrepreneurship can feel a lot like a road race. In order to win, sometimes you need to just ride the line. Other times you need to look back to see what you've accomplished. And still other moments require you to look forward at what lies ahead.

The trick is knowing when to practice these three tactics. 

SBS Idea of the Day: If you're tired and feeling fear, look back and make a list of what you've accomplished over the last year. If you're overwhelmed by how much you have to do, put your head down and ride the line. If you've lost some of your passion, look ahead and remind yourself of why you're doing what you're doing.

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