July 16, 2019
I ride with a cycling group called The Knights of Suburbia (KOS). KOS was formed by two ex-footballers turned cyclists David Rigney (Riggo Man) and Russell Lee (above) who wanted to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention and teamed up with a charity dedicated to the same cause called Love Me, Love You which is founded and managed by ex Australian Football League (AFL) player Lance Picioane.
Recently KOS had organised ride an early morning ride with the St Kilda Cycling Club to raise awareness for mental health. There were different groups of riders with a variety of distance and speed options available, however, as usual the Knights elected to lead the longest and fastest group. It was a good fast ride one way with the wind behind us. Then, we turned to ride back against a much stronger wind. On the way back, the group speed intensified as well and I found myself riding above my output limit several times. As we reached the two thirds point on the way back the internal mind games started. “Maybe I should stop early”. “I do have a busy day”. “I am moving office today so I really should bail out early.” “There are plenty of other KOS riders who will make it back and represent us well”. “I was keen on seeing Lance present though”.
I am sure you have all had similar experiences when pushed to your physical limits.
Then I got dropped and fell behind the lead group of ten riders. I was now on my own coping with all the wind and seeing the lead group fade into the distance. As I was contemplating stopping early and heading home for my busy day, and as my legs were telling my brain to stop, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked to see who it was, noticed he was wearing KOS kit and before I could say anything he said “let’s get em’ champ” and with that he dropped in front of me and I quickly became motivated to follow him protected from the wind as he led me back onto the leading group. I wondered who it was and then I noticed the ink on his spinning legs and knew it was our fearless leader Riggo Man.
Before long we had caught the lead bunch and we rode all together back to the café for a presentation by Lance. I was also rewarded not only by the much-needed coffee but catching up with many fellow Knights who had come from all over Melbourne for the event. I was so grateful of Riggo Man’s help. After thanking him he gave me an embrace and said he had to leave to get to work. Riggo Man had travelled from across the city – at least three times further than any of us to show his support for the ride and to support KOS.
So, let’s reflect back on his actions in the context of leadership practices of what Riggo Man did in the moment.
- He modelled the way by the finding me and leading me back
- He inspired me by showing up despite it being a great distance from his home and work
- He created an inspired vision by saying “let’s go get catch em” spurring me on to follow him
- He empowered me to find energy I didn’t think I had in me
- I was rewarded for following him by reaching the destination and hearing from Lance and catching with like-minded cyclists from KOS and St. Kilda CC who believed in the same cause.
As if this was not enough it was my son Finn who made the most profound observation of Riggo Man that I had missed as I recounted this story to him. Finn, a young leader himself through primary and secondary school, said “dad that’s what leaders do, they lead. Riggo Man didn’t just go for a ride, he went out prepared to lead others”. That really resonated with me. How many of us wake up in the morning with the intention to lead? If you don’t then you will never see the many leadership opportunities that are presented to us. Remember leadership is situational, it can be presented to you at any time like it was for Riggo Man.
This article is from new book “It’s All Possible – the 7 Keys to Your Epic Life” due for release October 2019 through Major Street Publishing.
Author and Founder of The Hartnett Group
In his earlier career, Rob worked in senior management roles at Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard, where he won the coveted Asia Pacific High Achiever Award. Rob became the number one sales consultant for the worlds number one sales performance company Miller Heiman Group twice and a Presidents Club winner 9 times. Today he is an independent Executive Director of the John Maxwell Team. Rob is known as an inspirational and entertaining speaker on leadership, sales & mindset.
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