My eyes scanned the horizon over the handlebars of my bike as a brilliant sunrise illuminated the city. There’s something peaceful about watching a neighborhood slowly come to life. I inhaled the familiar scent of chocolatey coffee brewing in the local coffee shop. Just as my caffeine craving culminated, my wheel lurched and I unexpectedly went airborne. Literally.

Potholes instantly alter our trajectory.

As I got up and brushed myself off luckily unhurt I gained a new awareness about riding a bike. You think you know how to ride a bike and I bet you do — but, then something unexpected happens. When the ground opens up, you don’t see it coming, and your world is shaken, even the best rider succumbs to the deep, dark hole.

Are you out over your handlebars?

You’re not alone. I resonate with Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, who recently deemed 2020 an adjective to describe, “a combination of sad, happy, depressed, hopeful, lonely, reconnected, anxious, grateful, frustrated, and cautiously optimistic.” He dispensed with “Fine,” as his standard response to “How are you doing?” and replaced it with, “I’m feeling 2020” instead. Can you relate?

The Secret to Finding Your Balance

After catapulting off my bike, I felt very 2020. Off balance and out of sorts.  The challenge was still being miles from home. And staring into the deep hole admiring the problem that forced me off balance merely postponed the inevitable. If I wanted to move forward, I had to get back on my bike and ride. 

The question was how to find my balance. A question you may be asking yourself right now.

What I discovered in that moment is the secret to finding your balance that’s as true on a bike as it is in life: You have to keep moving. Balance is only restored when you move forward. You have to keep pedaling to stay upright.

Regardless of the destination you’re trying to reach, these three strategies will help you find your balance and move forward.

  • Pause: Acknowledge what interrupted your progress.  
  • Ponder: The destination you’re trying to reach and why it matters to you.
  • Prioritize: One small step that will put you back in motion.

From My Grandmother to You

One of my most treasured gifts is my late grandmother’s college diary, gifted to me after she passed. Her perfect penmanship, faded with time, reveals the diary’s title: Another Chance. Her journey from high school to university was unexpectedly disrupted with WWII. When she was able to get back on her proverbial bike and enroll in college, she was riddled with self-doubt.  And felt uncertain about the future.  

I’ll never forget the poignant words she eventually wrote. “I can do this. It turns out this is just like riding a bike.”

Just start pedaling.

How are you finding balance now? Share your ideas and questions here and at @karenmangia or