When I was a kid my neighborhood was full of kids my same age. We must have had twenty or so families on my street alone that we were all roughly the same age. My brother was eighteen months older than me and that was kind of the trend at that time, so needless to say there were lots of young boys and we had all kinds of games that we would play.
At that time BMX biking was really big. All of us had your traditional bicycle that would be fast on the road, be durable enough to be off-road, as well as be able jump the occasional sidewalk. We used to play a game called follow the leader on our bikes.
The way it worked was you would have a lead bike and then all of the other bikes would have to follow that lead bike and do whatever that person did on that bike. Some of the things the lead person would do would be: jump off a driveway (nothing too crazy, but like a two or three-foot drop), we would ride through a yard and use the curb of the sidewalk to get lift and see if we could clear the sidewalk, we would ride through yards with hills, we would pop a wheely on our bike and see how long you could keep your bike on one wheel, we would ride our bikes with no hands, and there were some other things that were unique in our neighborhood that we would do as well. Then we would argue there or not the following bikes did it the same way as the lead bike. (but that is another story altogether)
The goals of the lead bike/person was to do something different or challenging that would make the other bikes scared and they would fall out of the line and not attempt the obstacle. This was really the main motivation for the lead bike. They wanted to scare the others bikes from doing what they did. (don’t attempt this at home)
There was one driveway that was much higher than all of the rest on our street. It must have been like a 10 foot drop (just kidding, but as a kid it looked that big). It was probably about a four-foot drop. Nobody ever attempted to jump off that driveway at the time we started to play this game, because we were all scared to do it. So instead of jumping off the middle of the driveway which is the peak of the jump, meaning you would land after falling the four or so feet. Many of the bikes would just go to the side of the driveway, which really wasn’t a jump at all, it was like going down a hill.
I can remember the first time we were playing this game and I was the lead and I attempted the big jump off the driveway. And after successfully making the leap, I turned and looked back to see who was still following. That is what you did as the lead bike, you were constantly looking back to see if the followers were actually doing what you just did. So as I looked over my shoulder to see who was following me, everyone had stopped and were contemplating whether or not they were going to make the jump. After a few minutes or so, one after another they all started to do it. It was a big day for all of us.
As the lead bike that day I had to go first. I wanted to be the first to take the leap and make the jump. As kids my ego said I can do this. I can be first. Thankfully it was successful and I didn’t flip over my handle bars on my bike, I only wish we would have had video of it. I am sure we would nowadays.
Going first is hard. Being first is really hard. It sometimes requires you to take the leap, take the iniative, and be the first to try something. It could fail. It could cause you to get hurt. It could be a scar on your body that you tell people the story how you got it for the rest of your life. It could be a lot of things. But not going at all is even worse.
If you don’t go, then you never know what you could accomplish. You may never reach your full potential. You may never make a name for yourself. Or in my case. I was the king for that day on my street as the “biking king.” That felt pretty good that day. Showing up and being first is sometimes just that, you know in your mind you did it and you were first and that is all you need. Show up first today.
To your success and your future.