I need to get in better shape. I would like to lose about 30 lbs, but I have two problems: I love to eat and I hate to exercise. Puts me in quite a conundrum. I have two friends who are both bikers. I am not talking about black-leather, bad-attitude type bikers (though I am friends with a few of those as well). The bikers I am referring to are those usually clad in spandex shorts and foam helmets. For months they have been trying to convince me that I will love to exercise and even eat better if I only spend $3,500 on a new road-bike and another $950 on accessories. Hmmm.
Today, I decided to give it a try. I am in Santa Monica, CA for a workshop and had a down-day. While my wife is home wrestling with our four children and losing her mind, I had absolutely nothing to do. Thanks to the Yelp app on my iPhone, I found a cycle shop near my hotel that rents $3,500 road bikes for much less than $3,500. I drove to the shop, was fitted for the right bike, received some brief instruction, donned a foam helmet and was on my way. My goal was to lightly test things out, see how a bike of this nature feels, and take in some of the sights here in L.A. I rode up to Rodeo Dr., over to Sunset Blvd, down to Bel Aire, and back down Santa Monica Blvd. It had been about 2 hours and I had put on approximately 20 miles. Time to head back to the shop. Considering I hadn’t been on a bike since my invincible (and healthy) youth, I was feeling pretty good at this point. Using the GPS on my phone, I plugged in the address to the cycle store (or what I thought was the address to the cycle store) and was a little shocked to find that I was still about 12 miles away. Oh boy. No problem. I am a beast! I can take it! Off I peddled with my goal in sight. A little over an hour later, I was more than ready to be done. I rounded the corner to what was supposed to be the bike shop. You guessed it, the bike shop had moved. It did not take me long to realize that I had put the wrong address in the GPS. Have you ever seen an overweight, middle-aged man cry in public? After a little research, I got the right address, put it in, and almost fell over; 9.6 miles BACK THE WAY I HAD JUST COME! I had ridden within a block of the cycle shop 50 minutes ago! At this point, I was not enjoying this whole biking gig. By the time I got back to the bike store, I was exhausted, sweaty, and so sore I could hardly walk. I had not ridden a bike in 20 years and I had just put 42 miles on in the hills and busy roads of Los Angeles. Needless to say, it has required a hot shower, 4 ibuprofen, and a full-body massage before I felt ready for bed.
A phrase my parents used to tell me comes to mind here– too much of a good thing is not a good thing. The first two hours on that bike were pretty good. It was exhilarating, freeing, and I felt good about myself for ditching the car and getting active again. Nearly 3 hours later, I was feeling much different about things. Though it was not intentional, I had overdone it.
As business owners, we sometimes overdo good things. We might get excited about a new strategy and then take it to the extreme. Recently, I read several case-studies that convinced me that my employees would be more productive working from home. Since it would also save me from upgrading to a bigger office, I jumped in with both feet. I soon found that I should have put a toe in the water first (possibly send one or two home for a long period of time and monitor the progress). Some employees can work from home without constant supervision and do wonderfully; most cannot.
Yes, I tend to study things out pretty completely, but sometimes struggle with pulling the trigger. When I do pull the trigger, however, my weakness is that I fire both barrels simultaneously. Several years ago, I had a fabulous idea for a new business. I was going to provide a service that no one else was providing. I was going to rent out audio book CDs through the mail. I did my research (casually ran the idea past a few friends), laid the foundation (set up my website, distribution chains, and market strategy), and summarily dumped $100,000 into start up costs. Three years later and beaten, I sold the business and the remaining inventory for a fraction of what I had in it. My mistake? I had jumped in without fully testing the market. I put on my swimsuit and dove in when I should have put my toe in first.
Whether it be a new policy or procedure, a complete change in your business’ direction, or a new business entirely; do not overdo it. Take it easy and drive your idea around the block first. Don’t end up four hours from home in extreme pain before you realize you should have done things differently. Happy biking and…
Go create some value!
Dustin Harris is a multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children.