written by Jason Chenard
The cycling world has come to understand the power of the 90 cadence. This means that the same pedal makes 90 revolutions around the crank each minute. Ninety is believed to be the sweet spot that balances forward propulsion with the most efficient use of energy. A cadence that is too high gets you nowhere fast. A cadence that is too low drives lactic acid into the leg muscles, hindering performance and results.
The elite cyclist maintains a cadence of roughly 90 regardless of terrain or grade. They adjust their gear ratio to keep the pedals turning 90 full circles per minute whether they are climbing, descending, turning, navigating rough pavement or taking a drink. While speed varies tremendously during these course variances, cadence is relatively stable. This takes tremendous discipline.
In a race, plenty can go wrong. A tired mind wants to slow pedaling down. Excitement at the start line pushes them to come out of the gate too hot. Like great leaders, cyclists resist these urges. They make micro-adjustments to maintain the cadence and pursue 90 revolutions at all costs.
If another racer flies by them, they stick to the game plan. If they see others speeding out of a turn, they maintain the 90. If they feel others drafting them, tucked in tightly to their back tire to preserve energy, they resist the urge to vary speed taking them out of cadence. They employ an incredible commitment to the cadence principle because they believe in it and understand the consequences of mismanaging it.
In business and in life, sometimes success comes in how deeply we commit. This commitment includes sticking with what we believe in and avoiding the things that we do not. Those leaders understand the power of great discipline. Committing to a path and knowing when it is the right time to navigate takes self-awareness. It means reading your industry, knowing yourself and your team. In a world filled with temptations and distractions, great leaders know why they do the things they do and what daily actions are imperative to future success. They have the ability to over-ripen their systems and habits on a small scale, to allow the large scale results to appear, someday.
When it is time to allow the fruit of this over-ripened system loose, they have no trouble shifting gears and have enough energy to blow past their opposition with fresh legs and metaphorically break the tape.
What are your temptations? What is your plan?
Know the difference.
Explore more articles of discipline in leadership here
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