This is from a Quora (.com) question about whether following your passion is good advice or bad advice. Mountain bikers should follow their passion and see where it takes them.
Passions change, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful both personally and financially following your passion/s. You are not going to be great at something you aren’t passionate about! You may become good, but never great. The book “Mastery” explains it best and almost describes my life to a T. I have always followed my passions and through multiple passions I came to be a “master” (master in quotes as I am still learning and improving, I feel no one truly masters something as dynamic as mountain bike coaching as it is constantly changing) at something that I never started out to master. That mastery as created my dream lifestyle (and a lifestyle I couldn’t do with a “job”).
Let’s start at the beginning, as kid I was really into riding my bike, then into skateboarding, then back to my bike, then hot rod cars, then for my first two years of college, girls! After my sophomore year I took a year off from school to move to Colorado and follow my new passion, skiing. Within a month of moving to Colorado I discovered snowboarding and that became my passion for the next seven years. I went back to college and got my degree but snowboarding still consumed me. In the late 80’s I discovered two new passions both related to snowboarding, coaching and mountain biking. A few years later I got my dream job coaching a snowboard team! I spent the next three years learning all I could about coaching and really enjoying the rewards of it. During this time my passion for snowboarding was slowly waning as my passion for mountain biking grew. Eventually I quit my snowboard coaching job to start coaching mountain biking. That was 1999 and as one of four or five founders (separate, we were in different parts of the country and did not work together) of mountain bike coaching it started really slow. Turns out everyone thought they would magically get better by riding more! As a matter of fact probably 90% of mountain bikers still feel that way. As you can imagine, it was a slow start! So I took a bar-tending job (later even delivering Domino’s Pizza as a 38-year-old college graduate!) so I could work nights and work on my coaching business during the day. In 2004 I went full-time (quit any side jobs) and now, 11 years later I have a full-time operations director, intern and ten coaches working for us! The best thing about it isn’t my lifestyle though it is emails and facebook posts like this: “Gene,
Hope this finds you well. As a fellow business owner I understand the value of customer feedback, both constructive and complimentary.
Yesterday, I completed a 3 day camp in Fairfax Va. where I had the pleasure to meet Coach Chip. Chip was knowledgeable, patient,
good-natured and a strong communicator. He was not only able to clearly communicate the better ride principles and techniques but he
was also able to easily demonstrate everything in a variety of conditions.
Most importantly his sincere love for mountain biking came through in all of the time that we spent together. I have found that it is a much more enjoyable learning experience when the person that is doing the teaching has a true passion for it. The three-day camp not only significantly improved my skills but really stoked my fire for the sport.
The better ride team is fortunate to have Chip as a coach and I was fortunate to spend three days with him.
Looking forward to taking the next level class.”
BetterRide Coach Chip assisting students in a cornering drill designed to ingrain the right habits.
We are fortunate to have Chip, Andy, Andy, Jeff, Dylan, Brian, Dante, Jackie, Don, and Heidi coaching for us!
So follow your passion, but be prepared for it to change, morph and grow in unexpected ways. Mastery (which is a funny word as I learn something new everyday) and the path there is way more fun and rewarding than just doing something for the money! Be responsible though and realize that making a living in the bike industry is tough but so is anything really rewarding.
Following your passion/s isn’t easy, glamorous or as well paying in the short term as many jobs, I lived in VW Van for a year when I first went full-time with BetterRide, then I upgraded my house to a Sprinter van the next year! In the long term though things have worked out quite well.