When Did This Get So Hard?

I live exactly 0.6 miles from my office. And the terrain between my home and work is completely flat— the only elevation change I experience at all while riding my bike is when I transition from the gutter in the alley behind my house to pull into the street. So it was quite surprising when, last week, I felt like I was riding up Mount Everest on my way to work.

Allison Howell with a bicycle

I found myself huffing and puffing with burning thighs as I downshifted yet again. I became intensely aware of my body. Now, in the lowest gear and only halfway there, I wondered if I was going to make it or if I would need to get off and walk the rest of the way. I felt a jolt all the way up my spine with every bump, crack in the pavement, and pothole. I started to wonder, “Am I really this out of shape?” “Am I sick?” “Is this COVID?”

As I considered my health crisis throughout the day, I realized this had been coming over the course of a week or so. I had unconsciously been downshifting each time I got on the bike. This hadn’t happened in one day but, until now, I hadn’t even been aware of the change. I really began to question what was going on in my body that was slowly weakening me. 

The ride home was no better. But when I pulled into my driveway and looked down, I realized what the real problem was. 

My tires were flat. 

No muscle atrophy. No pulmonary disease. I wasn’t suddenly out of shape or bad at riding a bike. I just needed some air. The problem wasn’t internal to me. And it hadn’t happened suddenly. But it had happened so slowly and imperceptibly that by the time I realized there was a problem, I began to think it was a catastrophe. 

I pumped up my tires (they have that weird French valve so it isn’t immediately straightforward) and it was transformational. Smooth ride (no bumps). Easy (didn’t feel like a strain). Fun again (wasn’t questioning myself because I was confident and could even challenge myself). 

I wonder what parts of your rental business need some air too? Are there areas where you’re struggling and straining? Where things seem harder than they used to be? What once was fun and easy has over time become dreadful or overwhelming? 

Maybe your pricing model (which at first felt generous and accessible) has been slowly bleeding you of the resources you need to grow. Perhaps you have an employee whose attitude is souring the whole team one negative comment at a time. What system or process that served you well when you were doing just a few rentals a month is now impeding you from scaling in the ways you want to?

It is possible that in order to solve these problems, you’ll need a mindset shift or to do some internal work. However, the issue might not be intrinsic to you personally. Finding that slow leak, fixing it, and pumping in some fresh air can do wonders for your event rental business.

Let me know when you’ve discovered your slow leak. I’d love to hear about how pumping some air back into your rental business got you back to a smooth ride. Email me anytime at rw@rwelephant.com.

Happy renting!

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