In the middle of July, I took Friday off. The wife was away on vacation while I managed the kids. After depositing the twins at pre-school, I took our oldest out for a mountain bike ride.
The night before I watched “Wheelies for Dummies” on YouTube. Wheelies on a mountain bike. Piece of cake.
Two minutes in to our father-son ride, I gave the wheelie a try. In the fastest slow-motion event ever, my view changed from path to trees to sky to bike on my face as I flipped the bike backwards over my head.
The obscenities I attempted to spout forth were fortunately muffled by the lack of air in my lungs. Searing pain shot from my ass all the way up my back. Did I just cripple myself in front of my terrified 6 year old?
I slowly recuperated, caught my breath, and hopped back on my bike to finish the ride.
A few days later as giant purple, green, and black bruises appeared on my rear, I thought back to how much of an idiot I felt like. I was humbled. It didn’t feel good. It never feels good, but it felt appropriate. Lesson learned.
I’ve been professionally humbled more times than I care to count. Publicly losing large sales deals, getting laid off, running my old startup out of business. It blows. Everytime.
The saving grace is that being continually humbled prevents me from turning in to a completely, arrogant, egotistical jerk. Getting knocked down reminds me I’m not as smart as I think I am. It took two massive ass bruises to refresh my memory.
Since it’s Friday, I’m borrowing an eloquent “face quote” that sums this whole thing up.
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” – Bill Gates