The poorly guarded secret about me is that I spend most of my time outside of work riding motorcycles, for me there are few things more productive than a full tank of gas, a good road and a great playlist.
- Have the courage to defy the odds. Nothing great in life comes by chance or even by raw talent, it takes time, hard work, determination and a willingness to embrace your fear. It was 35 years ago that I took my first motorcycle safety course at CLC. Seven motorcycles and hundreds of thousands of miles later, I send a mental High five to that younger version of myself that had the guts to saddle up the first time. It takes a lot of effort for things to look effortless but there are few things more empowering than riding a 900 pound “big boy “ bike competently.
- Often the best things happen when you take the unfamiliar road. While the destination is often the most rewarding, it is the journey that is most satisfying. As a Navy wife, I had little say in where I was going, but when I opened my heart to the possibilities, I was blessed with amazing experiences and few regrets.
- You are not the only one on the road- Be aware of the impact you have on others- both positive and negative. Be gentle with those who frustrate you. Be patient with those who pluck your last nerve. But also the more you are genuinely curious about people and their stories, the more enriched you will find yourself to be.
- Look where you’re going because you are going where you look. Wherever you are putting your time and attention is where you are heading. Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want. Keep your head up and keep your eyes in the direction you want to move.
- The easiest way, is not always the best way. It took me 14 years to complete my college degree and my resume looks a lot like a game of frogger- but it best served my family at the time. My youngest son is on the Autistic spectrum and because of that I made some difficult decisions around my career. It wasn’t easy. But At 26, he is an award winning photojournalist with an exceptional ability to capture emotion with his camera lens and the source of great joy to me.
- As long as you are moving forward, you will be fine. Focusing on the past is not productive and in the case of a motorcycle, not safe. There is no reverse on a motorcycle or in life. Take a deep breath and roll the throttle- you’ll stay upright.
- There are two types of riders- those who have laid a bike down and those who will. Laying your bike down is scary picking it back up and getting back on is scarier. My daughter Aeysha and Son Terrance followed their father and grandfathers into the military. They represent less than 1% of the population that took the oath to defend this nation. They have seen poverty and hardships- death and destruction. And yet they remain kind, compassionate and in service. They know, There is no success without failure or fear.
- When Life throws you a curve, lean in. –Things won’t always go the way you hoped but they will always keep going. Embracing the hard stuff is what makes the rest of life easy.
- Maintain your equipment. 30 years ago, I quit smoking. It remains the hardest thing I have ever done. They say you only live once, but I believe you only die once- you live everyday. You owe it to the yourself and the world to give it your best.
- Surround yourself with people you know love and trust- your life depends on it. My moto family are amazing people who I literally trust my life with. I am thankful everyday for each of them.
- Enjoy the ride.– Laugh from your belly. It cost nothing to be kind and compassionate. My challenge to you is the next time you think- someone should do something about that- remember- You are someone. Pick up the litter. open the door. Run for office. Write the check. Become an active participant in your world.
And Finally, Check your mirrors. I am ridiculously blessed to have a life filled with wonderful people who reflect all that is good in life back to me. One of those people is Dana Behnke. She is one of my oldest and closest friends. She loves me enough to have donned an itchy black polyester bridesmaid dress that despite my best sales pitch that she could always just “shorten the hem” I’m confident she never wore it again. She is the model of how to live, love and laugh.
I am no where ready to permanently put down my kickstand- in fact, I more fully understand the value a full tank a gas and an open road to keep balance in my life. And a when you ride a motorcycle, you become very in touch with the importance of balance.
Wherever you going- be safe.