In January 2016 I made a decision to switch from a Suzuki GSX-R 600, to a Suzuki SV 650. There are two things around this that I want to share: 1) How important it is to listen to yourself, and 2) How the change impacted my season.
This was a really tough decision for me, because I wasn’t sure if I had really given the GSXR a chance following my broken wrist in May 2015. I was able to get back on track right at the end of the 2015 season, and was able to end the year on a positive note. I wasn’t back up to prior speed, but started to get my groove again. It was enough for me to look forward to 2016.
Needless to say there were a lot of things rattling around in my head as we entered the off-season and started preparing for 2016. I wanted to take the next step forward in my riding skill, and thought that a gsxr (or something similar) was the bike needed to do that. Bryan was great at giving me lots of pros and cons to think about. I’ve done this before in my life – made pro/con lists over major decisions, but in the end you just have to throw them out and go with what your gut is telling you to do. That can actually be an extremely hard step to take, because there are lots of voices and opinions clamoring to be heard. When you find a way to quiet those other voices, though, I often find that my inner self (you can call it gut, heart, soul, whatever) has already made the decision and the only hold out is my brain. In this instance, it was clear that my inner self was yelling at me to give the SV 650 a try.
With the decision made, I went full steam ahead in the Lightweight classes. My first weekend out was okay, but hard to really tell because I was learning a new track, a new bike, and it was raining. In May I finally got a full practice day at my “home track”, Blackhawk Farms Raceway. By the end of the day I was feeling much more comfortable. After this event (and I think three 0-mph tip-overs), we realized just how tall the bike was and shaved the seat. Being short means tip-overs are always a hazard, but we try to mitigate them as much as possible. The seat adjustment was the final step needed for me to be completely in love.
So how was my season? It had its ups and downs, but I LOVE MY SV. LOVE. IT. I even bought another one in September to use as a parts bike (which Bryan has since stolen to build up for himself). Racing wise, I’m very disappointed in myself for having crashed twice. It was extremely irritating that the crashes occurred in the same corner (turn 1 at Blackhawk), however I know what happened in both. The first crash was inexperience, and the second was an issue I had never previously had a problem with (vision). Learning from the first forced me to practice some skills that saved me from having incidents in later races, so that was good. The importance of vision was already obvious to me; I just became a little lax since I thought I had it down. Well I won’t be making that mistake again!
Thinking back over the year, I’m so glad I listened to myself. If you have a large decision coming up, here are my steps.
- Do a brain dump – make a list of all the pros and cons.
- Tear up the list
- Go to a quiet place, or go for a walk with no music. Allow thoughts to flow through, but don’t try to hold onto or remember them.
- At end of walk or quiet time, think about life 3 months in the future if you went with decision A. Take note of any changes within your body like anxiety yet excitement or clenched teeth or a feeling of dread.
- Now think about life after making decision B.
- Which decision is your body telling you to make? Go with that one and implement!
I used the same process when contemplating a new job. It was a huge leap, especially since it would require leaving an organization I still loved and had been a part of for 11+ years. In the end, though, I went with my gut and made the change. I’m a few months in, and you can ask Bryan how happy I am (hint: extremely).
Try this technique and tell me how it goes!