Three Life Lessons on Balance from Riding a Bicycle

Do you remember how you learned to ride a bicycle? Were you one of the lucky ones that learned easily? Or is the memory so terrifying that you’ve blocked it out of your consciousness (like me)?

Regardless, the process involves several stages of learning, some of them at the same time. (Or if you were like me, learning all of them all at once). Not having the privilege of raising children, I’ve never taught someone how to ride a bike. But in researching this, I turned to the nerd’s best friend (Google) and there are millions of results for “learning to ride a bike”. Most of them seem a LOT easier way to learn than the trail-and-error method that made me block out the whole “learning to ride a bicycle” process. To add to the terror, that was the days before helmets, so I guess I’m lucky to even be alive.

  • Sitting on the bicycle while stationary and with feet on the ground
  • Being able to straddle the bicycle and walk
  • Scooting the bicycle forward using your feet
  • Coasting on your bicycle by lifting your feet
  • Stopping the bicycle with your feet
  • Using the pedals
  • Turning
  • Steering towards a goal (and away from obstacles)
  • Uphill / Downhill
  • Traffic
  • Riding over rough terrain
  • And through all of this — falling, getting up, almost falling, and trying again

As you were reading the list, were you reliving all of those little victories at each stage? Either your own and/or the children you have taught?

So here’s a question – what’s some common threads through all of those stages? Surely there are many – persistence, learning, increasing complexity, starting simple, immediate feedback – but there are three I would like to highlight:

  1. Balance

Read back through the list above. Did you notice how “balance” is integral, and yet intangible? It is one of the keys to riding a bike and yet it’s not a thing that you can touch, it’s not something you can take a picture of – you can see the effect but you can’t see balance.

Isn’t it the same way with Life Balance?

We can see the effect of a Life that is out of balance, we can point to people that seem to be in balance (although you never can see an entire life, only God can do that), we inherently feel when we are closer or further away from “our” balance. But in the end, since it is intangible, all we can really empirically measure is the effect.

  1. Wobble

Maybe you haven’t thought of it before, but inherent in the idea of Balance (whether bike balance or life balance) is the fact that we are never actually perfectly vertical – we are always making small adjustments forward or back, left or right. As we get better, we learn how to adjust sooner and quicker, so it looks and feels like we are closer and closer, but there is always some wobble. And as we encounter new challenges, we have to learn new adjustments, learn how to react quicker, learn how far we can be away from vertical and still recover.

  1. Knowing the Goal

When riding a bike, the first goal is not to fall over (especially if you’re not wearing a helmet), so you have to know what “upright” is — you have to know what it feels like to be perfectly straight, and how far you are leaning and how to adjust and change appropriately to get back to vertical.

When it comes to Life Balance, do you know what your “vertical” is? This is sometimes called your “center”, or your “center line”, or your “plumb line”. For most people, this is much harder to determine your Life Balance Vertical than the physical act of “standing vertical” or “riding vertical”. There are many reasons for this: it’s different for different people (so it’s harder to teach), the effects are less obvious to others (and easier to hide), and we often encounter rough life terrain before we are ready for it. This is a prime area where a Life Coach can help you.

What thoughts does this bring up for you? Please share in the comments below. Here are some thought questions to get you started:

  • How is Life Balance hard for you?
  • Since we are always wobbling, how can we give ourselves grace when we are out of balance?
  • What are some small steps that you have taken to determine your plumb line?


Live your best life ever. Download the FREE Align Your Life Inventory: A Quick Check-Up With God here: Align Your Life.

By |2018-11-21T12:56:52+00:00November 29th, 2018|Categories: Articles|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dale’s passion is to help business leaders live with heart, integrity and significance. Heart leads to real connection and trust, which is the basis for all relationships and especially for cohesive teams. “Nothing worthwhile was ever done alone.” Integrity ensures that you can be trusted over time. “Say what you will do, and do what you say.” Significance keeps you focused on the eternal, not the worldly. “Store up treasures in heaven.” Dale’s diverse background began in the technology world with a BS degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin. After several years of technical work, he progressed into management, then consulting, then leading consultants, and finally executive management, at companies from startups to multi-nationals. Becoming a born-again believer mid-way through that journey and being mentored by a business executive, Dale saw the integration of faith and work as an inspired and necessary goal. The meteoric rise of a technology startup where Dale was the Executive Vice President in the early 2000’s brought success for a while, but the equally spectacular implosion due to poor team dynamics sent Dale on a quest to understand teamwork and leadership. From John Maxwell to Jim Collins to Stephen Covey to Patrick Lencioni, Dale has read, studied, and trained with the best. Dale was able to put that training to good use a few years later when he sold a multi-million dollar Managed Services engagement at a large energy company, displacing the entrenched incumbent. Dale built the team, which has been in place for over a decade even though Dale has not been involved with them for several years. While this story was unfolding, Dale has served in the church as a life group leader, study group facilitator, deacon, and head usher. Dale has also served on mission trips to Costa Rica and on various boards and committees. In early 2011, Dale was able to start bringing these somewhat separate faith and work threads closer together by becoming a Certified Professional Life (2013) and Leadership (2016) Coach through the Professional Christian Coaching Institute (PCCI). Since mid-2011, Dale has been coaching business leaders around issues of heart, integrity, and significance. God has given Dale the gifts, talents, insight, and experience to facilitate diverse groups of business leaders while integrating faith and work issues. Dale is single and lives in McKinney Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas.

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