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4 Lessons I’ve Learned from Motocross and How I Use Them as CEO

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the Wall Street Journal to discuss one of my true passions: motocross. I’ve been riding since high school and I’ve yet to find a better way to relieve the stress of a hectic work life.

At home with my bike and my boys, Braden and Bo. Raymond McCrea Jones for The Wall Street Journal.[/caption]

I’ve picked up a number of lessons while hurtling down the trails on my bike over the years and it continues to amaze me how applicable they can be to my role as CEO here at PGi. Here are just a few I wanted to share:

1) Trust the Machine Beneath You

I spent a lot of time picking out my bike, and I’ve put a lot of time, money and effort into keeping it in tip-top shape. When I’m out riding, I have to trust it—and trust the work I’ve put into it.

It’s no different in business. As a leader, I’ve spent years investing in my company, hiring and nurturing talented executives and other leaders, and I have to trust them to do the jobs they’ve been given. Excessive micro-managing benefits no one.

2) Fall – But Get Up Quickly

Learning a hobby as demanding as motocross requires a willingness to fail. You’re not going to be good at first. You’re going to fall, and you’re going to fall a lot. In a trail environment, not getting up is a quick way to get yourself run over.

Being an innovative company doesn’t come easy either. It requires a lot of ideas and hard work, most of which don’t come to fruition. You cannot be afraid to fail, or your company will stagnate. Fail and fail quickly—learn what you can from the experience and move on.

3) Fear and Excitement go Hand-in-Hand

Even though I’ve been riding since high school, there’s still a healthy level of fear that comes whenever I’m on my bike. Chasing and overcoming that fear—and the excitement that follows—is one of the reasons I’m still so in love with the sport after all this time.

Running a business carries a great deal of risk and uncertainty. That fear can be paralyzing and will keep you and your products stuck in the status quo. Remember: fear is healthy. Fear means you’re pushing boundaries and trying new things. And the excitement (and hopefully revenue) that follows will make all of that uncertainty worthwhile.

4) Work Hard to Stay in Riding Shape

I’m not a huge fan of the gym, but I have to challenge myself to lift weights and get some cardio in to keep my body in shape for riding. It’s incredibly physically demanding to control that bike, and without those pre-ride workouts, I wouldn’t be able to keep up.

I’ve been a CEO for over twenty years now, but I’ve never stopped learning and improving. I voraciously read tech news, trends, analyst reports and more so that I can bring the latest and best knowledge to bear when planning the future of PGi.

I don’t care how long you’ve been doing what you do; don’t ever let yourself think that you “know enough.” Otherwise, before long, the bike just might get away from you.

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