I am convinced that most people sit on the motorcycle of life backward. I actually sit on my bike backward at my Full Throttle Experience conference to illustrate a powerful point. Sure, we all want to change our lives, but in order to really do so, we’ve got to make another shift. We have to shift our position to shift the conditions we often find ourselves in personally and professionally.
When you sit on the motorcycle of life backward, you have no access to the controls of the bike. The controls are located only on the front of the bike, so you have to face the right way. The front wheel of the motorcycle represents your vision. The front wheel is for steering. Your life will go in whatever direction you steer it in. It’s in front of you, and it’s a free-spinning wheel. There’s no motor attached to the front wheel because most motorcycles are rear-wheel drive. Your vision, just like the front wheel, should be constantly free spinning, ever evolving, and always growing and expanding. You should always face your vision of your future.
When you sit on the motorcycle of life backward, you’re looking at the rear wheel, which represents your past. The back wheel is what’s connected to the drive train, which is connected to the transmission and the engine. So when you roll the throttle, all that power is distributed to the rear wheel to propel you forward. Therefore, all of your power is really in your back wheel. Hence why most bikes have a thicker, fatter, and more robust back tire than the front tire. We all have more past than we do present, and the future (although it’s free spinning) is not promised to us. What I love about the way a motorcycle is designed is that when you change your position and sit on it properly, you have direct access to everything—namely, the handles, the brakes, the throttle, and the clutch. What I love about the throttle is that when you roll the throttle—which is in front of you—it sends a burst of energy to the back wheel, which is your past and uses that energy to propel you into your future. Don’t forget the past; just learn to leverage your past to propel you forward. Remember, a motorcycle only knows Drive!
The left brake controls the back wheel, and the right brake controls the front wheel. When I was learning to ride many years ago, I was taught that when you’re deep in a curve, you always want to “drag the back brake,” but you never want to “jam the front brake.” Now go back and think about how that applies to life and business. When we are going through changes and challenges, we want to slow down on the things from the past that try to hinder us, but we never want to stop the vision of the future that we are working toward. And always remember that the throttle, which represents action, is your friend. Because when you’re in a curve and gravity is working against you on that motorcycle, the only thing that brings a motorcycle back upright is rolling the throttle. As you give the bike gas and take the inspired action necessary toward your goals and dreams, you will pull out of any curvy situation that life or business hands you.
I’ve had so many junctures in my life where I was deep in an emotional, occupational, financial, personal, spiritual, or entrepreneurial curve, and I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to get out of my situation. Rather than panicking, however, I decided to lean into the direction of the curves by getting curious about what lessons my challenges and storms were trying to teach me. I leaned into my curves, put the brakes on the programming from my past, and, even though it was scary, I rolled the throttle and took massive action in the middle of the curves of my life, and that’s exactly what has always pulled me out successfully.
I want you to think of something you may be going through right now, and ask yourself whether you’re allowing your programming, conditioning, and hindering mindsets from past situations to have too much of a say-so in your ride. If so, hit the brakes on that stuff with your left hand, lean into the curve by asking good questions about the curve that you’re in, and then, although it’s counterintuitive, roll the throttle right in the middle of your curve and watch your bike get upright! I wrote all about this concept of pulling out of adversity in my sixth book, Thriving Through Your Storms: 12 Profound Lessons to Help You Grow Through Anything You Go Through in Life. (You can get it on Amazon or Audible.)
The title of this chapter is Shift Your Position to Shift Your Condition. I need you to understand that your rightful position is one of royalty, leadership, power, and authority.
According to an article in Forbes magazine online, in 2019, Disney’s The Lion King franchise topped $11.6 billion in revenues, making it the highest-grossing franchise in box-office history.1 This announcement came during the celebration of the Lion King’s twenty-year anniversary of screen and stage brilliance. People all over the world have been impacted by the powerful life lessons of The Lion King. As a professional speaker, I’ve been teaching lessons from this remarkable film for about the last eighteen years. I’m so enamored of the concept that my puppy’s name is Simba! However, I can boil down the central message of that $11.6 billion franchise into the title of this very chapter. The Lion King is really about the importance for all of us of taking our rightful position in life as the “king’’ (this term is gender neutral) of the Pride Rock of our own lives. And if we are going to shift into a higher gear, we must sit on the motorcycle of life the correct way and take our rightful position.
We see this same theme of taking your rightful position play out in Marvel’s global sensation Black Panther, starring the amazing Chadwick Boseman, may he rest in peace, as Prince T’Challa. Just as Simba had to overthrow the inept leadership of his uncle Scar to take his rightful position as king, Prince T’Challa had to overthrow Killmonger to take back his rightful position as king of Wakanda.
If two of the biggest movie franchises in the world have this as a central theme, it’s worth exploring.
All around the world, the lion is considered to be the king of the jungle. (Again, for the purposes of this teaching, the terms lion and king are gender neutral.) However, the lion has a lot of reasons to doubt its kingship, because there are many other animals in the animal kingdom that have qualities that outperform the lion’s. For example:
• The lion is not the smartest animal in the jungle. The monkey is smarter.
• The lion is not the fastest animal in the jungle. The cheetah is faster.
• The lion is not the biggest animal in the jungle. The elephant is bigger.
• The lion is not the heaviest animal in the jungle. The hippo is heavier.
• The lion is not the tallest animal in the jungle. The giraffe is taller.
• The lion is not the most agile animal in the jungle. The snake is more agile.
• The lion is not the most populous animal in the jungle. The ant is more populous.
What’s my point? It’s very simple. Let me translate this into terms you can relate to.
• The lion may not have the biggest social media following.
• The lion may not have the perfect relationship history.
• The lion may not have the biggest Facebook ad budget.
• The lion may not have graduated top of its class with honors.
• The lion may not have been raised with both parents in the home.
• The lion may not have been dealt the perfect deck of cards to be “successful.”
• The lion may not have the perfect pedigree to climb the corporate ladder quickly.
• The lion may not have gotten all the funding needed to start its business the right way.
• The lion may not have discovered its purpose and passion until later in life.
But . . . in spite of all of these “disadvantages,” the lion is still the king of the jungle. For one powerful reason: the lion believes that it is. The lion looks at all of those other animals (with different qualifications) as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack for its pride. It sees all those other animals as edible.
And so must you! I’m not saying you have to eat meat (for all you vegetarians out there); what I am saying is that you must sit on the motorcycle of life the right way, so that you can take your rightful position as the king of your own interpersonal and professional Pride Rock. It’s your birthright to be on top. To be the best!
About two years ago, I was talking to my older brother, Mike, at a restaurant. During that time in his life, he was down on his luck and not really in the most ideal place professionally. After listening to him complain for a few minutes (and I would have been complaining too, had that been my story), I used a “pattern interrupt” to shift his state by asking him a question he was not expecting.
I said, “Mike, do you know why they say that you should never feed a stray cat?” He was like “What? What are you talking about? Yes, I know exactly why they say you should never feed a stray cat, but what in the world does that have to do with where I am in my career, and my business not being where I want it to be?”
I continued, “Mike, just trust me and answer the question. Why do they say that you should never feed a stray cat?” He sucked his teeth a little, smiled at me, and said, “Man, because once you feed it, it will keep coming back!”
I said, “YES . . . Yes, it will. Now, Mike, let me ask you a more powerful question. When the cat comes back, does the cat care what kind of car you drive? Does the cat care how many Italian suits are in your closet? Does the cat evaluate your retirement portfolio? Does the cat ask you for six months of bank statements? Does the cat care whether you live in the ‘good part of town’ before it partakes of the food or drink that you provide?” And Mike chuckled and said, “No,” and I responded, “Exactly, Mike, because the truth is, da cat don’t care. It just wants to be fed! It just wants something good to eat. And as long as you give it some food, it will keep coming back.”
My point is that my brother, at that moment, was dealing with impostor syndrome, something that almost all high achievers experience at some point in their success journey. He felt that his lack of all the perfect credentials at that time was disqualifying him from the success he wanted in his business.
I am pleased to report that Mike is killing it now in the insurance and financial services industry, because he has taken his rightful position.
Please hear me. Every single day, there are millions of people all around the world who are looking for the solutions that you provide. However, you can only provide those solutions once you get over your own perceived limitations and begin to reposition yourself. Stop looking at the past and looking at all the mistakes that you feel disqualify you. Turn around and sit on the bike of life the right way and take your rightful position, all the while keeping in mind that da cat don’t care about the things that you feel are your limitations. The cat just wants good food! And if you feed it good food in the form of autographing your work with excellence, you will quickly realize that the cat will keep coming back.
In other words, both cats don’t care—the small stray cat that you feed doesn’t care about your limitations, and the big cat in the jungle doesn’t care about its limitations because he sees all those “more qualified” animals as a meal.
So right now, I want you to list seven things that until now you’ve thought of as “disqualifications” about yourself that you know have been holding you back from the personal and professional success you desire.
Thank you for your honesty. That’s so powerful, real, and transparent. Now let’s do two things with this list. First, next to each of the statements, write this one phrase: “Da Cat Don’t Care!” Second, go back over each one of those seven things you listed and, in your journal, write down a more powerful way to reframe that reality about yourself. (You learned how to do this in chapter 5.) Remember, facts and truth are two different things.
Take your rightful position. Now is your time!
1. To live life to the fullest, you’ve got to sit on the motorcycle of life the right way and not think that the best part of your life is in the past. The rest of your life is truly the best of your life. Embrace that. Change your position so that you can change your condition.
2. The front wheel of your bike is your free-spinning wheel of vision. It’s for steering and direction. Always keep a vision for your future ahead of you; don’t limit or restrict it. The back wheel is fatter and thicker because that’s your past, but it’s also where your power comes from. Use the throttle to leverage the lessons from your past to propel you forward powerfully.
3. The left brake controls the back wheel—your past. The right brake controls the front wheel—your future. When you’re deep in the curves of life, never jam the front brake; instead, drag the back brake. In the middle of the challenges of your life, know how much to use which brakes to keep you moving forward.
4. Lean into the curves of life and business by asking powerful questions whose answers can give you the fuel you need to roll the throttle, because when you’re deep in a curve, acceleration is the only thing that pulls you back out. Take massive action on your goals and dreams—in the middle of your personal and professional crisis—and watch those curves disappear as quickly as they show up.
5. Always remember that da cat don’t care. What you think is your disadvantage or disqualifying aspect could be the very thing that’s your greatest strength. Take your rightful position as the king of your own personal and professional Pride Rock.