Enjoying the ride – no matter how rough: Biking across America and the power of relationships

When I signed up to join a group of adventurers for a bike ride across America, I was exhilarated at the prospect of tackling the personal challenges that lay ahead. I was prepared and determined to cross this lifelong goal off my bucket list. But conquering the desert, the Continental Divide, the wind-blown prairies, and driving rainstorms would also remind me of something else – the basic human values that underscore my day-to-day work with financial advisors.

The trek began when two dozen of us – strangers with a shared dream – met in Los Angeles. We gathered on the beach to ceremoniously touch the Pacific Ocean before setting out toward the Atlantic.

Over the next 48 days, we’d get to know a lot about each other – our capabilities, our weaknesses, and our motivations. My fellow travelers learned that my father had passed away the previous year. In his honor, I’d decided to use this opportunity to raise money for a children's hospital, where he’d worked for nearly 40 years.

Each day, the trip organizers handed us a guide and GPS coordinates so we could navigate the back roads. They’d transport our bags to our hotel while we pedaled in groups. Some of us were faster, some slower. We’d proceed at our own pace, stopping for food and water as needed.

Every day presented new obstacles, and we’d plan to overcome them together. The temperature extremes in the high desert required us to stop more frequently to hydrate in the blistering heat of the day, but also to prepare for frigid nighttime air. We’d play mental games to pass time, picking landmarks in the distance and guessing how many miles away they were. The silos in Kansas are a lot farther away than they look – especially when you’re up against 30-mile-per-hour headwinds!

The bigger the challenges, the more we pushed each other. With just 400 miles to go, my knees started to give out. Buoyed by medical help and encouragement from my new friends, I powered on – even through an epic rainstorm on the final day. At last we reached Boston, where we touched base in the Atlantic Ocean. I checked the ride off my bucket list – and raised funds for the hospital.

Just as important, I was reminded of the value of relationships. I didn’t know my fellow travelers before we embarked on our journey, but working toward a common goal along the way transformed us into friends for life. We helped drive each other’s success. Isn’t that the way it works for anything we set out to achieve? Few, if any, of us can accomplish life’s biggest goals all on our own.

It’s the same in business. When I help financial advisors conquer their challenges, we all succeed. And when advisors help their clients weather market turmoil – when they provide generous encouragement through thick and thin – they inspire lasting loyalty and friendship.

Get through the hard times together, and you have clients for life.


The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Macquarie Investment Management (MIM), or any of its employees.

For educational purposes and for investment professional use only. Not for use with the general public.

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