Behind the Guinness Record: Just Keep Riding
In this past year, there has been a lot of focus on global leaders around the world, and the different kinds of leadership styles they have.
We had the US Elections that riveted the world, British Prime Minister Theresa May taking over after the Brexit vote, John Key resigning after eight years in office as the popular Prime Minister of New Zealand, and last but not least, the passing of the infamous Fidel Castro.
There are many kinds of leaders in the world, and while we may not fit into the conventional mold, I would say my brother Colin and I were leaders in our own ways. We were a team, but we led the way and pioneered a journey of self-discovery, even when people expected us to fail.
And that is the one thing I think every leader should have – Perseverance.
Some leaders gain power thanks to their easy way with words, influencing others with the promise of success and growth. But no matter the circumstance, I believe that a true leader shines for his natural ability to push through times of difficulty.
Such a leader would have the certainty and conviction that there is always a path waiting further ahead, even when the worst of obstacles blocks his way.
Human Nature – Fight or Flight
Ingrained in our DNA is a very instinctive reaction to any situation, we either fight or take flight. When we measure ourselves up against the obstacles and think about what’s at stake, it’s very natural for people to want to give up and leave their dreams behind.
We all have that nagging voice at the back of our heads telling us we can’t do it, that we should just quit and cut our losses. It’s human nature to give up when the going gets tough, and we can’t blame others for wanting to throw in the towel without knowing their circumstances.
But in my books, a true leader fully assesses the situation before calling it quits.
He has the courage and the guts to stay committed on his path, to look at every option possible, and adapt in order to make sure he succeeds. There is no right or wrong - good leaders lose some battles too, but the key defining factor is perseverance.
And chances are, the harder you persevere, the better the odds get in your favour.
Perseverance in My Life – The Middle Kingdom
It is with much pride and honour that I get to say my brother and I hold a Guinness World Record. After the Lehman Brothers crashed the markets, Colin and I decided we needed a break. Both happily married with families, Colin was prepared to leave his job and spend some time on his own travelling to let his soul roam free.
Instead, I suggested the wackiest option anyone could ever think of – a record-breaking motorcycle ride circumventing the whole of Mainland China.
And of course, it came with troubles. The best-laid plans can go up in flames, and so did ours. Some days, we would make terrific ground traversing gorgeous grass plains averaging 500 to 600 kilometres a day. On others, we could get stuck in traffic for five hours trying to cross 60 kilometres to the next town.
Some days, we would get hit by torrential rains, other days in places like the Turpan Depression, we got hit by the harshest of heat waves. Almost weekly, we would run into trouble at military checkpoints, even if we weren’t doing anything wrong.
Despite our troubles, we refused to give up, and always found a way to adapt. We were tenacious, and at the end of the day, we did more than just succeed; we broke world records, and then did it again not long after in India.
My Favourite Quote
We all have days when the going gets tough and we want to throw in the towel, but perseverance and determination can help you overcome those dreadful moments. When you display bouts of tenacity, people naturally follow your lead and you’ll become a genuine leader.
So the next time you feel like nothing is going your way, think of everyone’s favourite Dory fish and sing; Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming!
You can learn more about Ryan Pyle's work at www.ryanpyle.com