books Feb 11, 2021

Massimo Chiapponi launched his Parma bike shop Italia Veloce in 2009 with fellow “retro- velo” enthusiasts Christian Grande, a multidisciplinary designer, and advertising executive Max Rabaglia.

He has been racing bicycles since he was a kid and turned his hobby of hand-built bikes into an Italian business that now ships to clients as far away as the U.S., Japan and New Zealand. Chiapponi’s lead mechanic is a skilled welder, leatherworker, fabricator and designer. Their bikes start at 2,900 Euros and go up from there.

From a small shop in Parma, these bicycle enthusiasts have garnered attention from Vanity Fair, Class, Gentleman, Marie Claire, GQ, Case & Country, Grazia, The Good Life, Monsieur, Maxim and The Financial Times.

Bicycle enthusiasts is an understatement. These guys eat, live and breathe bicycles.

Their leather seats are hand cut, sewn, stamped and designed on-site. The aluminum frames are bent and welded on-site. They even have hand-made wooden mud guards on some of the bikes. It’s unreal. These guys can talk to you about bicycles for days,.

In his book, The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, Daniel Coyle shares the story of Larry Page and how his relatively unknown firm at the time named Google actually beat out the favored winner, Overture, in the race to develop an effective internet solution that matched ads with user search terms.

It all started with a relentless curiosity and enthusiasm for the problem they were trying to solve for the consumer and their customers (i.e., advertisers). Similar to Massimo in his bicycle shop, but on a much larger scale, Google’s enthusiasm for their craft was all-consuming.

This should remind us all to evaluate our own enthusiasm for what we do. Has the daily grind caused you to lose some of the enthusiasm you had when you entered your chosen profession or trade? Do you get up each morning excited to go to work, or are you just going through the motions?

If you’re honest with yourself, like I was many years ago when some of the stress and monotony of private practice started to wear on me, and you find you need to reinvigorate your curiosity and enthusiasm for what it is you do, here are three quick fixes:

First, act like everything you see tomorrow is being seen for the first time or last time you’ll ever see it. This is a fast way to raise your awareness and appreciation for everything around you. If you knew tomorrow’s sunrise or sunset were the last time you’d ever see them, you’d see them in a different light.

Similarly, if you see a challenging case or problem tomorrow and you pretend like it’s the first time you’ve ever seen something like it, you’ll approach it with more curiosity and respect, like a child seeing something for the first time.

Second, express gratitude for your business and the way you earn a living. Things could always be worse. You could be digging ditches for a living and it never hurts to express a little gratitude for where you are and how you got here. Remember, everything you’ve achieved was once a dream. Taking your profession or way of life for granted is a surefire way to repel opportunity and wealth.

Finally, in sharing what you do with others and serving your community, seek to understand before you seek to be understood. Too many of us want to get through the motions of our day and for patients, employees and other stakeholders to sit tight while we do what we know is right. I get it. Often, I just wish the patient or spouse would let me do my job or that the employee would “get with the program” and do what I ask, but if we don’t understand their motivations, their challenges and their hopes, fears and desires in life, we’re unlikely to help them in the best way we can.

I’ve found this last tip to be particularly helpful in generating referrals, achieving employee buy-in and boosting revenue per employee and earning bigger returns and more satisfying results for stakeholders in all of my businesses. Unlike Massimo, you don’t need to be a master welder, leather worker or designer to show more enthusiasm in your daily work, but it wouldn’t hurt to understand and then demonstrate his same level of curiosity and appreciation for the craft you’ve chosen to embrace as a calling, not just a career.

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