Coaching John

Shooting the curves on a motorcycle – broad life applications

As the weather improves (it has been cold and rainy here in the St. Louis area), I’ve been enjoying spending time on the motorcycle.

As I was enjoying the wind in my face and the subtle differences in smells and temperatures as I rode along the back roads, I was reminded of how riding through the curves on a motorcycle is an important lesson on how we can live an intentional life.

Curves are part of both life and riding a motorcycle. Curves in life include changes in finances, health, relationships, jobs and other day to day things that Murphy (of Murphy’s Law) throws at you.

When you get into the curves, how you approach and deal with them can either make your ride (and life) enjoyable, or a white knuckle stress fest that could run you off the road.

On a motorcycle you hit the curves at full speed and use your momentum to carry you through. Slowing down makes your bike unstable and increases the potential for a spill or running off the road.

One of the most important things to do when riding the curves is to look at where you intend to go, not the road directly in front of your tires. Why? Well, it’s a complicated physical/psychological process, but the bottom line is that you drive where you look. Focusing down the road, into the end of the curve allows you to cruise smoothly and almost effortlessly through the line that takes you through each curve. If you’re focused on the road immediately in front of you the amount of reaction time is lessened and you tend to weave all over the place or take a shortcut where the road doesn’t go.

The last component of a successful curve negotiation is to lean deeply into the curve. Don’t try to fight gravity, you’re getting pulled hard to the outside of the curve! Lean in and balance that force thats pulling you the other way. While it may look from the car behind you that you’re going to fall over, the lean is actually the most solid way to get through the curve.

In life these same practices will help us to negotiate those curves that we’re all going to encounter.


  • Keep up your momentum! Don’t stop, keep powering through and let your progress push you forward. You have a destination you’re heading to, keep going there!
  • Focus on the end of the curve! Don’t focus too much on the issues right in front of you, look to the end and the successful completion.
  • Balance the pull of the curves by leaning hard! Rely on family, friends or co-workers to offset the pull you are feeling. Get outside and smell the roses (or hop on your motorcycle and fire through the curves)!

How do you approach the curves of life?