Last weekend saw an historic moment in British sport when Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France.
I’ve become hooked on the Tour after watching it properly for the first time last year.
Bradley Wiggins explains what winning the Tour de France means to him
I discovered a new found respect for cyclists. They’re without doubt some of the toughest athletes you’ll come across.
Wiggins Tour victory is the latest chapter in the success story of British cycling over the last 10 years. For years British cycling was an irrelevance, but now whether it’s on the track winning Olympic golds or on the road, British cycling is leading the rest of the world.
I’ve found this story inspiring. This could be a breakthrough moment – a chance to inspire others to take up the sport and create a cycling revolution in the country.
I started thinking about the stories that inspire us. What do they have that inspire and motivate us? How can we create content to inspire our audience to take action?
I decided to look at Bradley Wiggins for inspiration.
Wiggins says what he thinks
Like athletics, cycling’s been blighted by drug scandals in recent years. People have become cynical and suspicious when someone achieves success. The inevitable question is asked: Are they taking drugs?
When questioned about his own improvements as a rider, Wiggins said: “I’m not some shit rider who has just come from nowhere” before adding “I’ve been an Olympic champion on the track three times”
It’s refreshing to hear a sportsman say what they really think. There are too many athletes who are scared of being controversial. They don’t want to lose their sponsorship deals for something they might say. In press conferences Wiggins is never scared to speak his mind on issues.
People appreciate honesty and straight talking. They’re increasingly bored with bland corporate marketing speak – they want to hear genuine real voices.
Can you create content that reveals a real personality to your audience and customers? Don’t be afraid to show your true character.
Wiggins isn’t afraid to talk about difficult subjects
Wiggins has been an outspoken and vocal critic of drug taking in cycling. He understood that becoming the race leader and winning the Yellow Jersey he had a duty to speak out.
Are there any controversial or sensitive topics you’re aware of in your industry. Are people reluctant to talk about these issues? You can inspire others by being the one to speak up and show some sort of leadership.
Wiggins relied on his teammates in Team Sky for success
It’s impossible to win the Tour de France individually – you need a team of riders to help you; especially in the tough mountain stages in the Alps and Pyrenees. Wiggins had his Sky teammate Chris Froome helping him all the way. Froome finished second and sacrificed his own personal ambitions for the benefit of team leader Wiggins.
We all need others to help us in our success. Try to create content that tells people about those that have helped you. What did they do? Why was it important? How did they inspire you?
The French love Bradley Wiggins – He speaks their language
Wiggins regularly speaks to the French press in French. He’s won the affections of the French – always an achievement for anyone English. Wiggins learned how to speak French after riding for a French team earlier in his career.
Are you speaking the same language of your readers and customers? By doing so you’ll build greater rapport and engagement with those you’re trying to inspire.
Wiggins love of cycling remains his main motivation
After arriving back in England Wiggins said: I love cycling. I’ll always be riding my bike. I come from a cycling family.”
Watching the Tour I’ve discovered Wiggins real passion for cycling, his appreciation of the history of the Tour and what winning it means to him.
He made it clear he doesn’t want to be a celebrity. In an age of celebrity culture where people becoming famous for not doing much, it’s refreshing to hear someone say they don’t want any of that.
What is it that motivates you? Why do you do what you do? What does it mean to you? Are your telling your readers/audience this? Do they understand what motivates and inspires you?
Team Sky took a different approach to success
The Sky Team’s dominance of this year’s Tour was the result of meticulous planning spread out over the last few years. Dave Brailsford – Performance Director of British cycling, looked to improve the performance of British cycling through the philosophy of:
‘aggregation of marginal gains’
a desire to seek tiny improvements in many areas that add up to a significant gain.
What significant of different approaches have you taken that have contributed to your success in your chosen field. Why not tell people what this was, why did you choose this approach?
People didn’t think a British rider could win the Tour de France
Until last weekend, 4th place was the best finish by a British rider in the Tour’s history. It was generally accepted that Britain was unlikely to produce a winner of the event.
When Dave Brailsford put together Team Sky one of his stated goals was to win the Tour with a British cyclist. This statement was met with widespread scepticism!
Inspiring stories always involve someone having an idea or vision that others dismiss or don’t believe can be achieved.
When looking to create content to inspire people you should look for those experiences where you’ve followed a goal which others have told you couldn’t happen. How did you prove people wrong and achieve your goal?
We all want to be inspired
After a quick run through of the things I’ve found inspiring about Bradley Wiggins and British cycling – do you have ideas on the stories you can tell about your yourself to inspire others?
It’s not something you should overlook. Inspiring people with the stories you tell, can motivate people in so many different ways. They may feel more inclined to donate of invest in your business. Buy your service or product due to a connection they now feel they have with you. This can lead to others becoming your brand advocates, talking and promoting you to others.
Remember that all of us want and need to be inspired in our lives.