Mentorship and Bicycles

Updated: Jun 23, 2019

If you have never read any of Seth Godin’s books or blog posts, you are missing out big time. He has written numerous bestsellers including Linchpin and Tribes. Today I want to expand on a short blog post of his. Below is a section of his writing.

The other day, a speedster on a bike passed me as I rode along the bike path. For the next ten minutes, I rode right behind him, drafting his progress.

Sure, there’s an aerodynamic reason that this works - there’s less wind resistance when you ride closely.

But the real reason is mental, not based on physics. Drafting works because, right in front of you is proof that you can go faster.

By Seth Godin

I love this analogy of his because it can easily relate to both the business world and the your training environment.

Someone once told me that you never want to be the strongest guy in the weight room. Now, maybe your goal is to be stronger than everyone else at your gym but as soon as you obtain that you lose a visual representation of what you could be. You can do better.

I like to relate this post to the importance of finding a great mentor for this exact reason. Not only does a mentor impart wisdom to you that comes from experience that you haven’t had yet, they can also be who you want to become down the road.

While getting my undergraduate degree, I found out that my professor was heavily involved in powerlifting and had won medals (and continues to do so) on the international stage. This was quite a surprise to me because up until that point, it seemed that everyone who taught in academia only ran marathons and the guys moving massive amount of iron in the weight room were only meatheads. This guy knew a great deal about the science behind advanced conditioning practices yet was also incredibly strong. Without knowing it, he showed me that you could do both. You could nerd out over exercise science topics in class and then go pull triple bodyweight.

Luckily, I have gotten to know him better over the years and he has directed me to more people like himself. Thanks to his mentorship, I now know numerous people who have a strong scientific mind and an even stronger deadlift. Every time I see any of these guys, I am reminded that I could do better, work harder and get stronger. For me, I am just fine drafting off of them. It’s only helping me improve.

I encourage you to find great people in your industry. Watch what they do. Pay attention to their work ethic. Take note of the habits that make them successful. Grab your proverbial bike and draft behind them. If you strive to be as great as they are, you may one day look behind to see bikes drafting after you.


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