When I coach clients who are in transition, purpose and meaning frequently come into sharp relief. Jobs are often a significant part of our identities and encapsulate so much more than the purely functional aspects of a role. The common thread which provides purpose and meaning is the sense of having made a discernible positive contribution to an outcome. Since “no man is an island” there is always a relational aspect.
Many people dream about turning a strongly held interest into an income. When this becomes a live possibility there are inevitable questions about potential trade-offs. Financial ones often top the list. Then there’s the question of whether full-time work in a field alters the pleasure derived from the leisure pursuit of that very interest. Invariably, some people discover that there can be “too much of a good thing” – some of the attraction of a hobby lies in its contrast to, or separation from, working life. For others though, working within their area of passion creates a vibrant sense of purpose and meaning.
It always gives me a buzz when I come across thriving small businesses which are powered by passion. One of these is my local bike servicing shop. On each visit, I was struck by the steady flow of customers and, despite the unprepossessing premises, its inviting atmosphere, even for a functional cyclist like me, let alone for a hobbyist. With my business coach hat on, I pondered what was behind this ambience. I put it down to the knowledgeable, friendly service and to the palpable enthusiasm of the staff. I could see that they were enjoying what they were doing and each other’s company too.
I decided to check out my hunch by interviewing the owner, Jordan. He confirmed that he has his dream job. He has been shrewd in building a business which provides an excellent service in a field with naturally recurrent custom. The need for proximity means there is no threat from offshore or the internet in contrast to bike sales.
In the spirit of lifelong learning, I asked Jordan to teach me something. He set about showing me the best way of changing an inner tube. A top tip was to use thumbs or the top of the palm to push the tyre back into place rather than metal levers which can damage the tube. Note to self – brute force seems to help!
Jason’s motto is “enjoy what you do”. The advice he would you give to somebody looking for a new direction is to pick something that you enjoy doing rather than be dictated to by money. He adds a word of warning: “don’t listen to people who have never tried doing something on their own.”
Here’s to doing what you love, loving what you do! For help in discerning and plotting your path, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read on for the full interview transcript.
How/why did you set up your business?
Had worked in the industry for several years in both retail and wholesale environment. Saw a niche in the market for a workshop only setup and was keen to get back on the tools after working behind a computer screen.
Who’s in your team?
Cameron Peterson – Road racer & mountain bike rider; former Cannondale tech mechanic
Brett Cocks – Road racer & mountain bike rider; former carbon specialist
Leon Halter – Mountain bike rider/racer
James Hall – Trail builder, bike tech R & D expert; professional MTB rider (Pivot Bikes)
What has surprised you?
Numbers – just how many customers have walked in the door since the shop opened!
What do you like most about your set up?
Small shop – no time wasted trying to sell overpriced bikes. Getting the opportunity to work on all types of bikes, all day. Banter within the workshop environment.
What would you like to do less of?
Logistics. Ordering stock and dealing with poor supply network.
Do you have a motto that you live by?
“Enjoy what you do”.
What advice would you give to somebody looking for a new direction (job/career)?
Pick something that you enjoy doing. Don’t pick a career for the money. Having something tangible at the end of a day that you can say you did is a big plus. Don’t listen to people who have never tried doing something on their own.
Any random facts or humorous anecdotes about your business/team?
Everyone has a great laugh every day. There’s no one anecdote that stands out. It’s a never-ending flow of conversation and banter that makes the day fly by.
Dream job – if you could do any job in the world what might it be?
I have the dream job!
What would you love to learn?
How to pilot a plane.
Who/what got you into cycling and do you do any other sports?
Got into cycling at a very young with mates on a BMX. I have always been into all sports – swimming, team sports, skiing/snowboarding, surfing, golf, tennis – the list goes on.
What’s your favourite type of cycling?
Freeride mountain biking is my favourite type of cycling. However, I do enjoy all other styles of riding. The local mountain bike trails of the northern beaches are amazing and we all live in hope the authorities and public will catch up to the rest of Australia (and the world…) and encourage the local biking commuter.
What has been your best cycling trip/experience and what’s on your bucket list?
I worked in Whistler (Canada), in the bike park for a season. Definitely the best mountain biking I’ve ever seen. NZ has a big list of amazing mountain bike locations as well.
What’s the best bit of advice you would give a beginner?
Speak to the experts, get a bike set up that suits you and find a crew to ride with (there’s always someone keen!)
What kit is indispensable?
What’s the perfect end to a day’s cycling?