Just Like Riding a Bike

Published on
June 6, 2023
Time to read: 
A rocky rutted path meandering up hill through a vivid green summer forest.
This path through the woods represents one potential career path. Fun fact, this image was taken as part of a photo shoot near my home, the month I became a veteran, almost 11 years ago.

Finding your ideal job is like riding a bicycle.

When I met my husband, Michael Tiffe, an avid mountain biker, he asked me if I biked. I’d learned how as a child, however it wasn’t my favourite sport, and I hadn’t been on a bicycle since I’d used one for transportation the summer before I graduated high school.

One day, while on a drive in the country he asked if I would be interested in going on a bike ride with him, I said yes.

What I didn’t expect was that he’d drive to his parents’ house, telling me where we were as he drove into their driveway.  After he introduced me to his folks, we borrowed a couple of bicycles and went for a mellow ride from their century farm house, down a country road to a nearby lake.

Even though I was at my peak physical fitness at that time, playing soccer and broomball, and doing well on military physical fitness tests, I wasn’t that comfortable riding a bike. It had never been one of my passions, and I was hesitant to ride a bike in the woods.

I did well enough to “pass” this audition, and on one of our next dates, he took me to a friend’s bicycle shop to help me pick out a decent starter mountain bike.

I brought the bike home, and set about re-learning how to ride, so that I could get ready for trail rides. Happily, my boss and mentor, Shirley Neville, was an avid road biker, and took me out for several practice rides on the back roads, south of Canadian Forces Base Borden.

Then on dates with my now husband, who lived 3 hours away, we’d tackle simple rail trails, and mellow off-road wooded trails.

Both shared a core teaching with me during lessons: “Your bike will go where you’re looking.” In other words, look where you want to go, keep peddling, and trust the bike to take you there.

I have to admit that although I participated in a couple of 24-hour mountain bike races early in our marriage, pre-motherhood, I rarely bike now.

However, that lesson has stuck and is transferable to many things, including, discovering your ideal job. If you can identify where you want to go, keep pushing forward, and are open to opportunities, then you’ll get to the point where you’ve either found, or created your ideal job.

Along the way, coaches, mentors and other friendly forces can help you hone your skills and recognize opportunities.

It’s not always easy, sometimes metaphorical roots, rocks, washed out trails, and blocked paths, mean taking a different path than you planned on. If you keep moving forward, learning new skills, and think of obstacles as opportunities to find a new path, you can eventually find your way to that ideal job.

Some of us choose to follow well groomed career paths, following where others have gone before. Others choose to set off on an adventure creating their own paths.

Going back to the biking metaphor, if you keep peddling and aiming the bike where you want to go, you can generally ride over or around obstacles, and reach your destination!