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August vs The Bike

A Real-Life Fable About Rage and Getting Shit Done

This story is from one of my Sunday Love Letters. If you’d like to get weekly missives like this in your inbox, I invite you to subscribe, here.

The church on Young Street, one block from City Hall and kitty-corner to the Chinese restaurant that blew up (this is not a metaphor; it literally exploded) has an astonishingly large parking lot that is, predictably, wildly under-utilized every day except Sunday. 

It is the perfect place to learn to drive, and so everyone does. 

Ask anyone who grew up in Chilliwack and I guarantee they’ve taken a few nervous, learning turns around that lot. It’s also the place to safely do donuts on a snowy day, but I digress. Even the RCMP use it to train new motorcycle recruits.

When Lola’s driving test was imminent, her driving instructor told her, in the careful diplomatic way that people use when you’re in deep shit but they don’t want to alarm you, that she really needed to work on her parking. 

Dear Reader, I was made for this moment. I can parallel-park in spots so tight you need a can opener to get in and out and bystanders feel compelled to applaud.

In fact, on a date, someone did. We now have children and a dog. I’m that good.

Lola’s driving test was in a day or two and we needed to get some last minute practice in.

At the same time, we’d been trying and failing for months and years to teach my youngest, August, how to ride his bike.

I resolutely believe that knowing how to swim, how to ride a bike, and how to tell people to back up and back off – a. k. a. boundary setting adorned with a dash of do not fuck with me– are clutch skills. No child in my life is going to escape me without them.

And yet August, who has a spine of steel and is firmly practiced in the art of passive resistance, has been steadily and sturdily opposed this bike-riding bullshit. 

Granted, we live on a hill, which complicates the learning how-to-ride-a-bike journey. 

But if we’re going to spend a few hours in the whistling expanse of the church parking lot, opportunity presents. Let’s take August and see if practicing on a flat surface makes a difference.

So we load up his bike and we load up both kids.

Lola is enthusiastic. August is not.

Lola and I are in one corner of the parking lot, backing up over and over again, while August and his dad are in the other corner, battling wills and training wheels.

A few minutes in – less than five minutes, I swear – Lola and I look over and August is speeding and swooping around the parking lot.

No training wheels, no daddy hands. Just him and the wind in his hair. 

Or there would be, if he wasn’t wearing a helmet. 

We rolled down the windows and scream “AUUUUGUUUUUSSSSTTTTT!!!!!!!” We whoop and cheer him on. He is doing the thing! What a feat. 

We’d been wrestling with this for months and years and now, in less than five minutes, he is flying.

Since then, he’s in the trails. At his friends’ houses on his own power. Skipping the bus and riding to and from school. Gone til dark. Independent. Free.

A boy and his dog? Naw. A boy and his BIKE.

After Lola and I wrapped up the lesson and loaded his bike into the car, I asked August, What was so special about today? You’ve been trying for a long time but today you picked it up in just a few minutes. What made the difference?

Admittedly, I had nefarious parenting intentions. As I said, he has mastered passive resistance. His silent refusal game is deep, frequent and on-point. I was angling for the magic lever that unlocks him and gets him in motion so I could use it on him in the future. Evil mama.

He said, I was in a really bad mood, so I thought, let’s just get it over with. 

I’m telling you that is some life genius.

And maybe in that moment, we were twinning. 

Because I have written many, many, MANY times about the importance of The Fuck-It Moment. 

The Fuck-It Moment is the moment when your spirit rears up and you say, I will not. Cannot. I refuse to continue with things as they are.

That moment is everything to me. It’s so critical that I scan for it when people want to work with me. Tell me about your Fuck-It Moment is a question on the intake form for my masterminds and maybe the only one that matters.

Because if you haven’t had your Fuck-It Moment, then you can renege on yourself. You can backslide. It is so much easier to revert than it is to rise. 

 when it comes to culture-making, thought leadership and developing new practices and modalities. 

If we have the option of defaulting to the status quo, where there is always less friction than invention, then why would we endure the pain of externalizing?

Transformation requires The Fuck-It Moment or, even better, a whole series of them. It’s the fork in the road that becomes the path. 

It’s also a predictor of imminent and radical success. 

And while still in his single-digit years, August has discovered the power of The Fuck-It Moment. Watch out world. 

In my own life and work, I deliberately build myself processes and workflows that leverage those moments. 

Because the moment when you are over it so you get on with it is pure jet fuel. You can use it to fly.  

So that’s your life wisdom for today, courtesy of August (and his mother): Get in a bad mood. And get it done

A whole lot of momentum can come from the right use of rage, operationalized.

This story is from one of my Sunday Love Letters. If you’d like to get missives like this in your inbox, I invite you to subscribe, here.


Kelly Diels teaches culture-making entrepreneurs & creators how to develop a substantial body of work that changes EVERYTHING -- your life, your industry, our world. (AKA Thought leadership for people who cringe at the phrase "thought leader".)  Her Sunday Love Letter can help you surface *your* unique method, step by step, week after week. www.kellydiels.com/subscribe

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