I recently had the opportunity to marshal for the BC downhill mountain bike race. I was positioned at a very difficult bend that included a jump and it was one of the two trickiest sections of the course. It had a 6 foot drop that you couldn’t see from the entrance. It was so steep in that area that I had trouble walking up and down and had to hang onto trees to accomplish the trek.
It was fascinating to me how each of the riders approached this section. There were over 100 riders, some were very new to the sport while others, the elites, were easy to identify. Some came down with such confidence, as if it was a walk in the park. Others took a side entrance, easier to deal with, but took longer affecting their time. The riders that went over the jump with no hesitation had obviously done this many times and had the confidence to go into a blind jump knowing they had the skill to master whatever landing presented itself. The riders that took the easy way were the ones that had not had the time on the bike necessary to know, without a shadow of a doubt, how to attack it and conquer it.
So what is the real difference between these two types of riders? Is it all skill or is it all experience? I think most coaches would say it is a mix of skill and time on the bike.
It’s the same in business. You may be a skillful business person, but you didn’t just wake up one day with no experience and become that way. You spent the time in the trenches, learning from mistakes, falling, and getting back up and through perseverance you became what you are today. The important thing to remember is that those you revere in your field didn’t start the journey yesterday. At one time they were just like you, new to the industry, field, or process that you are trying to master.
So what are you lacking in your business experience? How can you be better? Is it “time on the bike” or is it research? If you are not approaching with confidence, analyze what you are lacking and go get it.