Having a path, a way forward is important. If the path is clear and you stay on the path, life is easier. It’s when you veer off the path that distractions, rough patches, and roadblocks can become problematic. Getting back on the path is often difficult – more difficult than if you had never left it. The re-entry can be bumpy as well – as many small business owners can attest to post-pandemic.

On an early morning bike ride this morning, I came off the greenway trail on my bike. I didn’t notice that it was steeper where I attempted to get back on the path. Down I went. To make matters worse, the guy riding closely behind me ran over my neck. So here I sit icing my neck, looking like Apollo Creed from Rocky had some boxing practice with me, wiggling a loose tooth with my tongue, and sporting a post-fall full-on headache!

If only I had stayed on the path. Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you:

– veered off the planned path you mapped out for your career

– postponed your education because of finances, a lack of focus, or motivation

– made an unplanned detour due to a tragedy in your life

– delayed the opening of your business because of COVID-19

– ended a relationship with a co-worker or friend because of a disagreement or conflict

– lapsed in your promise to stay sober or enter rehab

– failed in honoring a promise you made to your spouse or children

– made a poor decision early in your life that resulted in an unpleasant or unplanned path

Whether you are a biker, business owner, or manager of a team or family, I would urge you to:

1) Have or learn about the proper tools. Without my helmet, I’d be in the hospital or maybe worse. Wearing biking gloves would have prevented bloody hands and knuckles.

2) Plan for the unexpected. Travel with a first aid kit and a few bike tools. If you ride long enough, you will have some accidents.

3) Never ride alone. Your biking buddy or friends can not only push you when you are dragging but they can also pick you up when you fall.

4) Recover quickly. As soon as you know you are okay, get back on the bike. The harder your fall, the more likely you won’t want to return. Do it anyway. You’ll be glad you did.

5) Own your fall. I could blame my fall on the darkness, the guy riding next to me, the city for having a high edge on the pavement, the skinny tires on my bike, etc. Own your mistakes, learn from them, and move on.

6) Take a pause. I likely won’t be on my bike for a week or two. Sometimes it is good to take a pause to rest or reset.

Just because you chose or were forced to take an unpleasant or unplanned path doesn’t mean you have to stay there.

Your past mistakes don’t have to dictate your future performance.

You CAN get back on the positive path – whatever that might be for you.

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