Handling Curves

This past Spring I was inspired to get my motorcycle license. I was motived by a desire to increase my skills in this activity and also to spend time with my dad who has been riding and rebuilding motorcycles most of his life.

Handling curves was one of the early lessons in my two-day class. Curves are potentially dangerous spots for riders if they do not know the proper techniques. One could go off the road or end up in the wrong lane if not handled well. According to the motorcycle training manual, there are four steps to maneuvering through a curve: slow, look, press, and roll.

These four steps not only help properly navigate a curve in the road, but they are steps to follow when leading others through the curves of life. The curves of life are the unexpected changes that happen when we are pursuing a destination. These could be breakdowns, surprise challenges, or alterations in a plan. Let me explain these four steps and how they can help you.

1. Slow

To ride through a curve on a motorcycle, it is critical to slow down before entering the curve. Thus, it is important to always be alert for curves. If you are not alert, you will not see the curve, and you will not be able to slow down properly. As a leader, you should be alert to the curves of life as early as possible. This will give you time to slow down. Whatever time you have, slow down. You must keep moving, but if you do not take the time to slow down, there is a greater possibility of consequences.

2. Look

Before a rider enters a curve, he is to turn his head and look beyond the curve where it ends. The bike follows the head and eyes. There is a temptation as a new rider to look down at the curve. This is the worst thing to do because you could end up riding off the road. When leading through a curve in life, you must look to the other side of the circumstances and see the future state. Remind yourself and others what life looks like beyond the change, breakdown, or challenge.

3. Press

To press means to push the handle of the motorcycle in the direction you want to go. If you want to go right, press on the right handlebar. It is important to press the correct amount of strength. If you press with too much force, you will end up in the wrong lane. If you press too lightly, you will end up off the road. To lead through a curve of life, you must apply the right amount of pressure at the right time, with the right force, in the right direction.

4. Roll

Finally, in the middle of the curve a rider must roll on the accelerator. This means to turn the accelerator on the handlebar so the bike increases speed as you go through the curve. The increase in speed gives more traction to the tires which helps the bike maneuver the change in direction. As you lead through a curve, it is important to remember to turn up the commitment and energy in the middle of the curve to accelerate through it. This increase in “inspirational power” will help people embrace the new direction to get to the new destination.

Slow, look, press, and roll are the four steps to leading through the curves life throws at you. What curves are you facing? What intentional action do you need to take to lead through it?