It’s July and for some that means baseball and bar-b-ques. For me it means my birthday and Tour de France time. For those living in a cave, the Tour de France is the most prestigious professional bike race in the world lasting three weeks. Riders race all around France with the conclusion of the race occurring in the heart of Paris on the Champs-Élysées. Inspired by one of my mentors, Andy Leonard (Blog | Twitter); who wrote a fantastic series of articles about the software business, I have decided to write my own professional development series on career development. In this series of articles I’ll be discussing various parts of career and professional development and how it mirrors the journey of the Tour de France. So strap on your helmet, jump on your career bikes and let’s start pedaling!
Since this race spans a three week period, the race itself is broken up into stages which last one day. Each day the stage is made up of a different route which can vary in distance, difficulty and terrain (e.g. flat areas, mountain, rolling hills). The very first stage of a Tour is referred to as the prologue. This is a short trial which determines who will be the designated leader for the race and wear the coveted yellow jersey.
At the beginning of our professional journey we all sit there at the start line looking at the long road ahead with anxiety, excitement and maybe even some nervousness. That’s okay! The important thing to remember is that this journey is a long tour and there will be many peaks and valleys before you reach that podium in Paris. This first stage is not so much where you set your pace for the race (as you’ll have plenty of chances along the way to change your tempo) but rather where you want to position yourself for the coming stages.
Some of us start our journey slower than others and start off towards the back of the pack while others come bursting out of the gates looking to wear that yellow jersey first. The thing to remember during this time is that this is only the start and you have a lot of road ahead to make up any lost time. Again, it’s important to emphasize that this journey is not a sprint so don’t lose heart if you feel “you’re behind everyone else”. In fact, as we’ll cover later, that position can actually be beneficial!
In the coming weeks we’ll be talking about all sorts of things you’ll face on the your career Tour. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the coming stages:
- Team Tactics – Cycling has many tactics and every member of a team has his role to play. Are you playing yours?
- Cancer Stinks But Your Attitude is what Matters – Adversity comes along what do you? Take a page from Lance Armstrong’s playbook and kick it in the teeth. You can give up or forge ahead and win big, you decide.
- The End of a Stage Isn’t the End of the Race – You can be proud of your accomplishments today but don’t forget that you have more riding to do tomorrow.
- Crashes, Walls and Bad Days – Every day isn’t full of sunshine and smooth roads. Sometimes you’ll crash, sometimes the cobblestones make it a rough ride. It’s how you deal with these obstacles that matters most.
To keep up to date with our team’s progress for the race, subscribe to my blog’s team radio channel (aka RSS feed). Hope you enjoy the ride!