Sometimes a Bicycle Ride is more than a Bicycle Ride

Feb 15, 2017

29 years ago, I started my company. I had been a leader of a large unit within a very large organization, so I had many skills in visioning and running an organization. But when I started my company, there remained things it took me years to discover and learn. Today, many individuals want to stretch their entrepreneurial muscles, and they will meet the same kinds of challenges I did regardless of their experience.

Today, they have a source of true insights, workable techniques, relevant knowledge, and sincere encouragement from a book called A Misfit Entrepreneur’s Guide to Building a Business Your Way by Ariana Friedlander.

Every now and then, you read a book by a young author whose writing shows enormous maturity. Friedlander talks about what it was like to begin her business and gives the reader a clear guide on how they can do it for themselves. She writes from the metaphor of a bicycle ride from the perspective of the rider, the bike, and the journey itself. Each chapter builds on this metaphor and follows with questions for readers to explore for themselves. But don’t think of it as just a guide. It’s much, much more.

Friedlander includes stories from her own life experiences that supported her own journey and quotations from her journal entries that expose her thought process as she lived the creation of her own business. These are meaningful journal entries, not just examples to demonstrate that she ‘did it.’ In Chapter 6, she talks about making a decision to go to a workshop or not. It is a wonderful, full-page journal entry where she lays out all the forces that impinged on her as she says first yes then no then yes then no. At the end of the entry, she concludes, “Sure, a sunny break would be nice, and meeting the Get Momentum people would be cool. But there are people and relationships here to be cultivated. What I need is to pace myself to get accountability, stay the course, and not go chasing waterfalls.”

I saw into her mind so well, I thought I was looking in a mirror. You will, too. That’s what makes this book a compelling read. You become the protagonist of the book, seeing yourself in the situations, issues and ideas she presents.

And what ideas! Friedlander brings into her writing the work of many other authors. She does it not to show off her wide reading (and it is wide), but rather her gratitude to these authors for their contributions to her work. And then she translates their ideas into meaningful actions for her readers.

Emblematic of her generosity, she talked about listening, “Don’t approach people wanting them to be a golden ticket. Don’t try to be impressive. Don’t posture. Do ask questions. Do express gratitude. And do be clear about what [your] point is, even if it’s just to make a genuine connection.” Her generous spirit is clear in this statement and shines throughout the entire book.

I’ve always talked about the value of deepening knowledge to help unlock your resilient leader. Listen to how Friedlander says it. “Learning is about more than just passing the test; it’s about how we use knowledge to change our behaviors in order to become better people and create our future aspirations.” Resilient leaders recognize the value of knowledge and work to deepen it – so they can “create [their] future aspirations.”

Go get this book and enjoy meeting Ariana Friedlander and perhaps a new dimension of yourself!


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