Just Like Riding a Bike

Josh BikeLaura and I moved to a new home when our children were small. It was the perfect place to learn to ride a bike. The flat driveway led to a gentle slope in our grassy back yard. Son Josh was ready to remove the training wheels from his “baby” bike and take another leap into boyhood.

After some effort, Josh wasn’t getting the hang of it and he’d become very discouraged. “Papa,” he said with a wet-lipped pout, “I don’t think I can do it.” “You’re just thinking too hard, Josh.” I responded gently. “You can do this. Let me show you why you can.”

I went to the garage and brought out a lid from an old paint can. Showing it to Josh, I asked how many brains it had. Intrigued, he told me it had no brains. “Correct!” I exclaimed. “Now watch this.”

I proceeded to roll the lid – on its edge – right down the center of the driveway. It travelled perhaps 30 feet before falling gently on its side. “See?” I said, “Without any brains at all, that lid rolled right down the driveway! It can roll a long way without even thinking. Let’s try the bike again, but this time, don’t think… just roll!”

On his very next try, Josh glided all the way down the hill without any help. He was ecstatic as he rode, and so was I… until I realized I’d not yet told him how to work the brakes.


So what changed for Josh? His perspective. That’s all. It was all he needed to move forward. This is a vivid memory for both of us, and a powerful truth for you: A change of perspective can really get you rolling.

So here’s an exercise for you: Pretend you’re a startup company, armored and ready to go to battle in the marketplace. But first imagine that your real current company is the bad guy – a well-established competitor. Work with your staff to identify what that company does well. Then berate it for what it doesn’t do well or doesn’t do at all. Look for holes in its armor – chinks into which you could stick your sword.

Look for its weaknesses; plot to take advantage of them. Seek ways to conquer that company (your own company) and bring it to its knees. Be merciless!

Lastly, gather up all the ideas. Identify two or three which would be the easiest to initiate, while at the same time being most deadly to that competitor.

Then trade places again with the bad guy.

You now know where your business is most vulnerable. You know how a competitor could most easily attack you. And best of all, you have powerful strategies to protect yourself and to move forward.

You see, this exercise is just a change of perspective about your company. But this change of perspective may be the one thing you’ve needed to really get rolling. So get rolling!

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