Keep Calm and Paddle On - Leadership SHIFT Tip

It doesn’t take long to understand that career, relationship, and health changes are a part of life. When they show up, it is reasonable to grieve. You have the right to take a moment, two, or maybe even three.

But one morning you will wake up and ask, “What do I do now?”

Over the weekend, Team Peloton joined 6,000 cyclists and 4,000 volunteers in Massachusetts for The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC). It’s a 192-mile ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown. This year, PMC will raise $48 million to help fight cancer when it shows up.

For teams, besides a matching jersey, it’s common to have a festive helmet ornament to foster team unity. They range from the appropriate New England lobster to the charming Kermit-the-Frog to the festive martini glass — that team has a lot of fun.

At Peloton, we love our ducks.

The duck represents an old metaphor from my corporate days — especially as we were going through significant change.

The goal — to be calm on the surface and paddle like hell below.

But the symbolism doesn’t stop there.

Ducks are also resilient. They let the water roll off their backs.

They persevere. Ducks must put their bills down and the bottoms up to find food.

Ducks are responsible. They know that their ducklings need the right type of communication for the flock to thrive.

Reacting to life’s challenges is natural. The simple choice is the victim mindset or anger toward our dealt cards. The difficult decision is to be mindful about our response.

It’s even harder to stay calm and keep paddling.

But that’s what you need to do when change shows up because you are a leader.

And that’s what so many did in Massachusetts this weekend.

Have fun storming the castle.