Work Life – Cycling Balance

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I had a very refreshing conversation with a potential employer a short while ago.  Not long into the interview it was reveled that he’s a gung-ho triathlete.  We spent the next hour yammering on excitedly about out sporting passions and not a breath about work itself.

This was something that was completely foreign to me as I’ve spent my whole working career trying to hide that I’m a competitive cyclist.  When I was living in Canada a fringe sport like cycling was not exactly highly regarded.   Playing a mainstream sport such as ice hockey was no problem and everyone at the office always wanted to know how my games went and how my team was doing.  When it came to cycling however there was no absolutely no interest and nobody could relate (only the same lame joke “did you stick something in the other guy’s wheels and win the race?“).  Therefore I completely swept my cycling life under the carpet and I’d either downplay it or not speak of things like big races I was taking my vacation time to go on.

Australian society places a much higher level of importance on nearly all sports and cycling is by no means on the fringe.  However, I still always carried the feeling that most people in my work life regarded my cycling as a childish pass-time and had no understanding of the massive role it plays in my life.  In my last job I was pushed hard and had to travel occasionally which I found exciting, but once my cycling started suffering significantly, my performance at work quickly dropped off as well.

The conversation with my potential boss came to this conclusion:  it’s all in the way you package your passion to your employer. There’s no way that any of us want give up cycling for a job, so why even pretend?  You need to be upfront with your employer that cycling is something that keeps you happy, fit and focused.   Besides keeping us healthy, it provides us with a great deal of emotional capital that leads to increased productivity.  Many studies have shown that happy people are more creative, solve problems better and more quickly, are more self confident, and enjoy higher levels of leadership influence.  In other words, people who have passions outside of work (i.e. cycling in our case) are happier and perform better on the job.  Passionate people spend a great amount of time thinking about what they’ve accomplished, how achievable the task ahead is, and how capable they are of achieving it.  If people have one passion, it’s likely that they’ll be strongly driven in other areas of their lives as well.

If you position your cycling to your employer in terms of how it helps you be more effective on the job then it’s more likely that your cycling and work can co-exist.   If your boss does not respect this then you probably won’t last long in the job anyway.  Perhaps don’t scare them off by telling them that you ride 20hrs a week and need Friday’s off, but setting the boundaries early on and openly letting people know what you’re into will enable that enthusiasm shine through to your work.

Studies have shown that once your essential needs are met, more money doesn’t make you happier.  I can tell you from experience, if my cycling needs aren’t met no amount of money can replace that.

TGIF!  Enjoy your riding this weekend.

P.S. Go Saints!


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