Tour de France Lessons in Motivation

As a casual bike rider, my fascination with this one bike event seems misplaced.

Unless you realize anyone with responsibility for a team can learn from le Tour.

How does this event keep everyone interested? Not just the participants, but for those watching. Let's face it watching a bunch of biker's ride 100 miles each day isn't exactly the kind of thing we would imagine spending weeks doing is it.

If the Tour was a three week bike ride around the country and the only thing that mattered was one person winning at the end we would hardly pay attention.

But that is not the case. There are lots of chances to win each day, individually and as a team.

The Tour was started by a newspaper person that wanted to have daily news so he could sell newspapers every day during the summer when sales were traditionally slow. Bikes were relatively new and he thought a bike race would generate interest. Ok, a one day race might sell papers one day, but what about a race that went on for a month?

Therefore every day there is news. Who is in the yellow jersey (the overall leader) plus the green, white, and spotted for leaders in different areas of the race (young racer, sprints, king of the mountains). Then there is the one team that gets to wear yellow hats. Each day there is a winner for the day, plus winners for certain intermediate spots (sprints) and winners for getting to the top of the hill first. Individual winners, and then team winners. Most aggressive gets to wear a red number the next day. Those are the "official" chances to win. Then there are the "other" like leading a breakaway and getting your teams sponsor exposure on TV. Crashing and continuing, getting courage points and sponsor press exposure. Even things like who became sick and dropped out are news. Not to mention the best rider from any particular country, or team from a country, or first of a particular race or location to do something.

Now, think about your office. Is what you do more important than a bike race? Do you have as many ways to win? Do you think if you had more ways to win your team might be more motivated?

Never Forget the Carrots

A Carrot is something hoped for or promised as a lure or incentive.

The best carrots aren't money, but typically recognition.

The best carrots aren't just given out, but they are earned.

The best carrots aren't random, but related to some real accomplishment.

The best carrots are focused on real goals and the best goals are based up on real intentions.


Frustrated? Feeling unfulfilled? Here is a suggestion.




Write your biography. Take a few minutes, or hours, or days, to write down what you would like your biography to read like. This is for you, not some teacher. It doesn't need to be spelled correctly or have perfect sentence structure. However it will cause you to think about what is important to you. It will help you to think about how you use your time.

This is useful not only for your entire life, but for segments. Like what do you really want your kid to learn in the next school year? Or what do I want my business to achieve in the next 3 years? Or what do I want to do professionally?


Write why you do what you do. Why get up each day? Why have a business? Why have a job? I find many people forget over time why they do what they do.

Remember back to your college days when you were so full of enthusiasm? Write why and how if felt. It will be invigorating!

Fly like an Eagle Every Day

If you want to fly like an eagle consider the forces that act upon a flying eagle. By consciously thinking about the mix of people you spend time with, and the impact they have on you, you will be able to increase the amount of time you spend flying high and decrease the time you spend struggling to stay in the air.

Just as an airplane has 4 critical forces impacting its ability to fly so does the eagle. The 4 forces are; lift, propulsion, drag, and weight. Lift is created by the wings and is the result of the wings being propelled through the air by the force of the engines. Drag is the friction through the air. The more drag the more propulsion is needed to achieve the same speed. Weight is the cargo being carried. The more weight the more effort (lift and propulsion) is required to fly. When drag and weight are excessive relative to lift and propulsion it is difficult, or impossible, to keep flying.

Therefore you will fly easier when you ensure the propulsion and lift are always relatively greater than the drag and weight.

The four kinds of people:

Some people lift you up. These people are the air beneath your wings. They encourage and support you. People who lift you up are people it feels good to spend time with, talk with, or just know they are around. They help you smile and laugh. They help you sing a happy tune. They aren't full of fake praise or clueless positives. They give you real praise and have positives based in truth.

Some people propel you. They are the ones that push you in the right direction. They will encourage you to be the best you can be. They motivate you to use all the gifts and abilities you have and will embolden you to do things beyond what you might think you can do. They inspire you to get up and do something awesome. They get you to think, and act. Seek out and cherish people that will propel you because without propulsion the lift you have been given will be wasted. They help you define your purpose and then help you pursue it.

Some people create drag. As the friction created by movement through the air makes it harder to for a plane to move forward, the more drag in your life the more effort it takes to fly. These people distract you from your purpose. They are the anti-propulsion group. They want you to focus on some personal drama, problem, or something unrelated to moving forward or being productive. Typically they lack self-purpose or direction themselves. When you want to study, they want you to watch a movie. When you want to exercise they suggest snacks on the couch. They are energy drains and often have an amazing ability to garner your attention and to make you feel bad if you don't give them your attention. They can refer to themselves as bored, and when bored will seek to distract you to relieve their boredom.

Some people are dead weight. They want you to carry them. They are the anti-lift group. They ridicule you, tease you, and often put you down for making an effort. They don't cherish your victories and successes. They ask for your help as if they need it, and do not offer help in return. They are typically short of money and will ask you for yours. They are short energy and will ask you to do things for them. They blame others for their situation and perceived lack of success. Somehow everything is someone else's fault. They would prefer someone else do all the work. They do not take pride in themselves or what they do and would prefer you didn't either.

Now, this is not just important for you, but also for others.

Be the person who lifts people up and propels them, not the person who creates drag and dead weight.

Three ways to repel people and have fewer friends.

On the other hand if you want more and better friends then avoid these things.

  1. Being Selfish: If you treat others as if they only exist to do something for you people will tend to avoid you. Good friendships develop when both people encourage each other to do what they are good at and want to do. Good friends help each other make good choices. Good friends make each other feel better when they are together.  If you want more friends support and encourage those  you want as friends. This doesn't mean support others at the expense of you following your purpose. Friendships develop when both people support each others quest to be the best they can be.
  2. Lack of Integrity: Say what you are going to do, and then do what you say. If people feel you aren't trustworthy they will avoid you if they have other choices.  This might be the single biggest reason people don't have as many friends as they would like.  Lack of integrity is often why people without a lot of friend choices find themselves together.  It is because their lack of integrity leaves them without many friend choices.  Sadly, they typically have no idea why.  See a group of people complaining about those that are successful as if it is a bad thing?  Most likely there is a lack of integrity common to all in the group. 
  3. Not Respecting Others: If you want friends respect their things, personal space, time, and ideas. Stealing will lose friends quickly; and if I believe you steal from others (this includes stores) I will assume you will steal from me. Respecting someone's personal space is very important, in particular with male – female situations.  However anyone who touches others, or gets closer than the other person wants will find themselves eventually rejected. Respecting ideas doesn't mean agreeing with the idea, but respecting it. This includes appropriately accepting complements and giving complements. Being able to say you are sorry, and being able to accept an honest apology.  Showing up on time, dressing appropriately, and speaking without swearing, are all ways of showing respect that make a big difference.


Fear Eliminates Joy

There can be no joy when there is fear.

If you are afraid someone will attack you there will be no joy in seeing them.

Want more joy in your life? You cannot "just be joyful" but you can figure out what is causing your fear. Then eliminate the fear and give joy a chance.

Goals vs Intentions

You have probably noticed most goals are to a large degree useless. Why? Because they are created without connecting them to something important.

People will tell you "You need to set some goals." We hear that a lot.

There is an assumption they don't state. You need to know what you want to do first.

Without an intention to do something goals are mostly useless, and can even be counterproductive.

Useful Goals define how you know you are accomplishing something you intend to accomplish.

First you must know what you intend to do, then you can set useful goals to achieve it.