A Lesson Inspired by the Tour de France

A Lesson Inspired by the Tour de France

The Tour de France – the word’s most prestigious bicycling race – is being held this month. It brings back memories of my days of racing bicycles when I was younger. Besides the miles and hours I spent training, I used to read everything I could from top coaches and cyclists about how I could become the best rider I could be.

One article contained a bit of advice that I especially treasured. It was an interview of Mike Walden, a legendary coach who trained many national champions and Olympians. Something he said conveyed a universal truth, which I appreciate even more today for its profound wisdom…

Mike had a rule: “If you say you’re going to ride ‘x’ number of miles, then you must ride that number of miles. If you’re not feeling well or don’t have the time, then commit to riding less miles; but whatever the number of miles you commit to, you must finish.”

His logic was simple. You are developing habits when you train. You want to develop the habit of perseverance, not quitting.

But beyond developing good habits, his “rule” contains some sage advice. In short, he is saying, “Always do what you say you’re going to do.” (Or as Don Miguel Ruiz stated in his bestseller, The Four Agreements, “Be impeccable with your word.”)

What’s profound about this?

Your every word, your every thought, your every utterance is a commandment to the universe. The universe is conspiring to make every one of your pronouncements come true. Why would you ever want to turn yourself into a “liar” by not following through on your pronouncement?

It’s not wise to promise something and then not deliver. This can be devastating to your business career, as, after all, your reputation is built on your ability to keep commitments. But it can have equally bad consequences at home.

For example, say you tell your young son that you’ll read him a bedtime story; but then you get engrossed in some movie or ballgame on TV and put him off. You have just announced that your words mean nothing – to both your son and the universe.

Beware the ego

Whether it’s greed, pride, the desire to be liked or some other “ego-driven” reason, you may be tempted to “inflate your importance” by promising something you can’t deliver. Yes, this is the ego in action. You might have every intention of delivering it when you make your commitment, but then you realize it might be time-consuming, costly, or inconvenient, so you drop it.

Worse, when confronted, you may try to justify your position, by reframing your original promise: “I didn’t really mean it,” or “I meant that only if such and such happened,” or you blame some third party. As a long-term mystic once advised me, “Never let your mind act as an attorney for your ego.”

If you make a commitment, you must follow through. And don’t wait until those who “owe” you follow through on their commitments. You don’t want to slow down your own progress, while you wait for others to “catch up.”

Act now, not later

I have a friend who complains that people she relies upon do not follow through on their commitments. In a conversation, I pointed out that she didn’t follow through on some of her commitments. I asked her, “How can you expect people to follow through on their commitments, when you don’t follow through on yours?”

She “explained” that she will start following through when they do.

I told her she is giving them way too much power. “Why would you knowingly put your life on hold, and place that kind of power in the hands of such irresponsible people?”

Every time you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, you’re announcing to the universe that honoring your commitments is not important. This is not a habit you want to cultivate.

What happens when there’s something you really want to manifest?

If you’ve already built up a track record of making announcements that never come to pass because you’ve been out of integrity with your words and actions, then, when you want to manifest something important, it’s going to be more difficult. After all, based on your past performance, you have little reason to believe anything will happen, so how likely is it to manifest?

This is not to say that you should “play it safe” and never aim for goals that are slightly “out of reach,” so as to avoid failure from not following through. You owe it to yourself to strive for greatness by expressing your true inner essence.

What it means is that if you DO commit to something, you do everything in your power to attain it. And if you fail, you get up and try again. The lives of all winners are littered with temporary setbacks and failures. And every one of these successful men and women started with the principle of doing what you say you’re going to do.

Integrity and enlightenment

For reasons beyond just increasing your chances of success, doing what you say you’re going to do should be a way of life.

Your objective is to have your thoughts, words and deeds in perfect synchrony; that is, you don’t lie – you act with integrity. But, this means more than just being honest and moral. Integrity also means being whole and undivided. It’s a step toward merging with the Oneness, which represents our ultimate goal – enlightenment.


Whether your goal is to be the best bike racer, teacher, parent or business person you can be, or whether it’s to attain our ultimate goal of enlightenment, start by doing what you say you’re going to do.