#7: Balance Principles- How To Manage Family, Work, and Riding Mountain Bikes

Want to know the secrets to balancing riding and life? It's not what you think. In this episode, I take a decade of principles that have allowed me and other high-performance riders to balance family, work, and riding for more fun and enjoyment.


Inside, you will discover...

  • The "Productivity Secret" given to me by a Navy Seal...
  • How to apply Pareto's Principle to convert a bike-hating spouse into your biggest supporter...
  • Abraham Lincoln's thoughts on Wheel Size...I mean what to focus on to get results...

Plus more!

Links Mentioned:

Free Facebook Group

The Time Audit Journal



How to Balance Family and Riding (Bonus: Even If Your Spouse Hates MTB) 


Hello ladies and berms, mountain bike fanatics and riders of the world! 


And welcome to another episode of the mountain bike movement podcast where it’s my job to deconstruct the techniques, strategies and habits of world class mountain bikers, and today I’m going to be talking about how you can balance family, work, and riding even if your spouse hates mountain biking or you work long hours, or you suck at managing your life. 


And I’m going to punch some conventional wisdom in the face with the force of Josh Bender landing the Jaw Drop. 


Get your Manitou Shivers ready because this one could be shocking. 


Let’s do a little back story - as some of you know, I help middle aged riders move like an athlete so they can ride like a kid again. 


So I put a poll out in my free facebook group online, the bike commanders (I’ll include a link in the show notes) for what the people wanted to hear. 


One of the responses is the reason for the podcast today so you know who you are and thank you. 


Let’s drop right in - 


How many of you have discovered or had the joy of mountain biking and had that moment where you dream of a weekend (or weekday ride)... only to get hit right in the sternum with the reality that you have to finish a project and work late…


Or you feel torn between spending a little extra time with your kids and going riding...


...or, worst of all, your spouse says the dreaded “I think you love riding more than me!”


Truth is, you and I both know that riding makes us better. 


Better athletes. 


Better at work. 


Better at being present.


Overall, happier, healthier, and more productive. 


Especially if you have a high-performance type of job. 


The bad news? 


Just working harder, being more organized, and planning sometimes aren’t enough. 


The good news? This is a simple fix, and I’m going to break it down for you right now. 


At the time of this recording, I have a full time job. I’m responsible for coaching 60 online companies, and half of them do over a million dollars in revenue. 


Now for mountain bike academy, my coaches do the work for me, but I still care about connecting with the students. 


I’m also married with two small children...and I ride! 


And I work out!


I’m not bragging, I only want to share this for two reasons. 


  1. To encourage you
  2. So you know why you should listen to me, because I know a thing or 2 about high performance. 


Now, for the really encouraging part. I spent almost my entire school career forgetting to do or bring my homework. I was almost always late, and always anxious. I never completed anything on time. 


Now? complete opposite. 


Here are my secrets. 


Number 1: 


Apply paretos principle!

80/20 is literally everywhere. I was introduced to the concept at age 24 by Tim Ferriss in his book, the 4 Hour workweek. It’s a bit dated, but the first ⅓ of the book contains tremendous insight for productivity, especially for entrepreneurs. 


Now I don’t care if you are a librarian...even though I don’t know any librarians that like to shred personally, this applies to you. 


Pareto’s principle states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the inputs. 


This literally changed my life. 


Now, the reason so many people struggle is because they know the principle, but they fail to apply it. Their thinking is what’s wrong. 


Remember the last time you tried to learn a skill, and you failed? 


Or tried to finish the project at work, but didn’t?


Change the way you think, and you will change the way you get results. 


Ask yourself - if you could go back to that skill or project, what would you do different? Where would you get your results from? How could you focus on that one thing? 


So next time you are faced with a big week and you want to own the day, think about what you need to do beforehand. 


It’s very easy to forget because we are creatures of habit. Instead, I suggest actively spending a few minutes thinking through your challenge. 


  1. Sharpen your blade


My mentor and friend Marc Von Musser was the director of sales for Tony Robbins for I think a decade or so. He also kicked cancer in the butt and is a Navy Seal. 


A few years ago when I was working for him, he used to say “You’re working too hard! Stop!” And then he explained the story of Abraham Lincoln who said “If I get eight hours to cut a tree, I'll take seven hours to sharpen my knife.”


I think the 16th president was onto something, even though mountain bikes hadn’t been invented yet. I bet he’d ride an XL if he were around today. 


The truth is that if you get behind, you are probably swinging an axe that is dull. 


Here’s a few ways you can apply this right now:


  1. The End of Day Journal
    1. write down what you accomplished, 1 thing you are proud of, and 1 thing you will improve. Also, you can include what you feel you need help with. 
    2. this will give you clarity and simplicity when dealing with challenges. 
  2. The Plan Tomorrow Today
    1. This is a simple journal designed to eliminate decision fatigue.
    2. Decision fatigue is when we lose efficiency simply because we have to make too many decisions. 
    3. Write down exactly what you need to accomplish tomorrow (refer to Paretos principle and only include 20%)
    4. Plan your day to where you execute these items first, or at least protect the time. 
    5. This will give you at least double the focus and energy you would otherwise have if you did not plan the day beforehand. 
    6. Note: this is not a calendar. Write these down by hand THE NIGHT BEFORE so your subconscious mind can work on these problems. 


#3: Don’t complain, Expand your capacity!


The big lie we face is that if you want to expand your capacity, you need to do more. This is true in some cases, but I’ve found it generally leads to burnout. 


Instead, I suggest choosing expanding your capacity through clarity and willpower. 


First, here’s how to expand your clarity:

  1. Meditate on death daily. Samurai. 


Spend a few minutes daily wrestling with your purpose. The clearer you are on your purpose, the more likely you are to attract support. Elon Musk is a great example. Before, nobody thought “going to Mars” AT ALL. Now look at everyone talking about it as if it could be them, just in a few short years. If One man can take us to Mars, what could YOU do if you have clarity of purpose?


Second, here’s how to expand your willpower. Before I go too deep, let’s define willpower, It’s not focus. Websters defines it as control exerted to do something or restrain impulses. 


For willpower, I suggest starting with an exercise so easy a grom could do it. 


It’s called…


The Time Audit 

  1. I suggest this whether you are a welder, a doctor, an entrepreneur, a mechanic, or a male stripper. 


What is the time audit? I’ll include a link in the show notes, but essentially it’s a document you fill out as you complete your day, writing down in short exactly what you did in 20 minute intervals. 


The Time Audit completes two objectives. One, it brings awareness to the things you actually did so you can objectively assess your productivity. I tend to notice 20%-40% wasted time with friends and clients I’ve tested this with. 


The second purpose of the time audit is automatic - when you know you are judging your activities, you automatically eliminate the activities you don’t want to write down, like checking Pinkbike for the 16th time for a new video. 


Don’t do that. Bad. 


That wraps up the how to be efficient and effective section of the episode - lets’ recap. 


  1. Apply Pareto’s Principle to Everything
  2. Sharpen Your Blade
  3. Don’t complain - Expand Your Capacity!

So how does this sound? How could you use these tools daily to tackle harder challenges and still show up early on Friday to your ride? 


Think about it. Now, for the bonus section. 


What if your spouse or partner feels jealous of your time you spend riding?


First of all, you need to ACE the first 3 I just covered. Spouses hate lazy, worthless people, so don’t be one. Improve your ability. 


Now. I don’t say this to be mean, in fact I literally have heard my wife say the words “I think you love mountain biking more than me” on more than one occasion. 


Part of the problem was that I was failing miserably at the aforementioned balance principles of life. 


And then going out and spending more money on my bike than she felt was appropriate. 


I still think she’s wrong, but that’s besides the point. Kidding. 


Now, once you’ve begun to ace the balance principles we’ve covered...how do you eliminate those dreaded arguments? 


How do you turn that angry, upset loved one into a raving supporter of 2 wheeled sports? 


Simple, not easy. 


Again, the principles MUST come first. 


And if you have those in order...follow this method. I use this myself to get “buy in” from my wife who literally used to think bikes are dumb. 


This is exactly how I convinced my wife that buying a $4700 bike immediately after we bought a new house and a new A/C unit was a great idea. And she never gave me grief about it. 


  1. Initiate a conversation. Don’t wait until after you’ve gone on 5 group rides. 
  2. Get them in a good, receptive mood. 
  3. Suggest what your goal is, why you are doing it, and how this benefits you both. Include what’s important to them in the conversation. 
  4. Ask if they would be willing to support you. 


The same principle applies for riding time. 


Use Pareto’s principle to decide what you and your spouse want more of, and be creative to find the 20% of the sources of those joys. 


Sharpen your blade - pay attention to what motivates them and find creative ways to include them in YOUR dream. 


Finally, DO NOT COMPLAIN. I will personally fill your cereal with fork grease if you tell your wife to stop bothering you about your riding habit. Be cool. Expand your capacity! Be purposeful, and you can do this. 


Thanks again for listening, this one has been a blast to put together. If you liked the podcast, go ahead and subscribe, share this episode with a riding buddy or friend who could use it! 


And that wraps up our episode today, I’ll see you on the next episode!


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