My Bucket List Trip
I took off 4 weeks in June and July this year. I got on the back of my husband Paul’s motorcycle and traveled over 5,000 miles across the country and ½ way back. Paul rode over 8,000 miles on this trip. We learned a lot.
I pushed my fears aside, made the decision to go, created a plan, and took action to make it so. The trip was phenomenal! A journey I will never forget. There were so many highlights.
Before we left Paul and I created a private Facebook group of about 200 family, friends and colleagues. Each day on the trip I posted a 750 word blog and some choice pictures of what we experienced that day. I was so happy to be out there experiencing the country and the culture of all the different states, meeting lots of interesting people and also feeling connected with everyone at home. Knowing I didn’t have to save up the stories to tell later but I could tell them along the way and everyone was up to date.
Some people are believers of completely unplugging but for me, this approach of staying connected really worked. It gave my mind a bit of a break from work and got me into the act of living and experiencing joy in the moment. It also helped me to process all that we experienced during the day. Now I have a record.
Mother Road Rally: 2,488 miles
We took a tour, starting in Chicago, at the beginning of Route 66, and traveled it across 8 states with 60 other motorcycles (around 80 people altogether) to the California coast. It took 12 days and we ended on Santa Monica Pier with about 50 people left in the group. It felt like an enormous accomplishment.
After that we (my sister and brother-in-law were with us) were on our own for another few weeks driving up the coast of California and visiting some National Parks on our way back to Colorado.
But I want to tell you about the Mother Road and what I learned on Route 66 about leadership. The Mother Road Rally Master, George, (75 years young), led the tour on a Honda Goldwing with his wife Annie. George has been leading this tour for 14 years now.
The Rally Master
George was a fantastic leader and a super nice guy. He had a very unassuming personality and yet everyone followed him and we watched his every move. When George put his helmet on, you better be ready to go.
When we first arrived, George went around and conducted a short video interview of each rider and their partner if there was one. George focused on who he had in his group and took the time to get to know each of us. In the months leading up to the ride he sent out emails to touch base, set expectations, introduced us all to each other and pointed out cool and unusual things we had to look forward to. He was not self-promoting in any way.
After our interview with George I asked how he got everyone going and ready all at the same time? This is what he told me. He said, “Well, I listed all the start times on the schedule you received in your packet. So if we are going to be leaving at 7AM, we’ll start lining up the our bikes at around 6:30. At 6:55 I’ll beep my horn once which is your 5 minute warning to get your gear on and start your bikes. At 7 sharp I’ll beep my horn twice and then we go. In the beginning I used to wait for the stragglers until I realized that every day I was waiting for the same few people. I never wait anymore. You’ve got to teach a straggler on day 1 not to be a straggler or they’ll miss the train.” Then he looked at me and smiled. He didn’t have to say it but his look said, don’t be a straggler.
15 Leadership Lessons
Here are 15 leadership behaviors I witnessed in George that you can apply to any leadership opportunity you may be in charge of in your life:
- Plan ahead and be consistent with doing what you say you are going to do.
- Reward the people who are on time by starting on time.
- It’s okay to be separated for a little while. George would always pull over at some point for others to catch up.
- Don’t share every little detail so that you can surprise and delight your followers with special stops along the way.
- Life is not a race. It’s about the journey not just reaching the next destination.
- Regardless of the weather or obstacles, push on through and stick to the schedule as much as possible. Allow people to leave if they can’t keep up or have other important destinations to reach.
- Hydrate, eat well, go to bed early and take care of your physical body so you can enjoy the ride.
- Be kind to everyone you meet.
- If you hit an obstacle, like rain, hail or grasshoppers on the journey, don’t stop! Keep riding so you can get through it faster.
- Take care of your bike and your tools to avoid unnecessary delays. Always start the day with a full tank of gas.
- Implement the buddy system so you have someone to look after and someone looks after you so no one gets lost.
- History has much to teach us so stop and visit museums along the road.
- Have a system of communication (CB) so everyone knows where to go and where to meet up.
- At the end of the journey, celebrate and reward your followers with prizes and food.
- When your followers praise you, be humble and give credit to your team.
I had such an amazing trip and I loved seeing this great country. I also learned that people are pretty much how you expect them to be. If you are bright and friendly, they reflect that back to you. If you are cold and aloof, that’s what you’ll experience.
I highly recommend going on an adventure like this is you get the chance. This is one major bucket list item we can cross off the list but alas many more items have now been added.
And one more piece of advice: make sure you have the right tools to get the job done. Like a cooling vest while your riding through the Mojave Desert at 115 degrees. Listen and learn from people who have gone before you. It helps lower your uncertainty even if where you are headed may still be uncomfortable.
All my best,
P.S. If you are interested in hearing me speak more about my adventures and how it applies to leadership, book me to discuss speaking at your organization. http://Maureenrg.youcanbook.me
P.S.S. If there is fear holding you back from achieving something you’ve always wanted to do, book a call with me! I can help. http://Maureenrg.youcanbook.me