Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Who Gets to do THIS?

There are many lessons that can be learned in the backcountry. Specific to the Entrepreneur's Journey, I want to take a moment and focus on the metaphorical learnings. I just got back from a 2-day adventure in the Indian Peaks Wilderness with my friend and executive coach Jeff Kinsey. If this looks at all interesting to you, read more HERE

1. Pivot. 

Just past the official entry into the Indian Peaks Wilderness

Our original plan was to do a 3-day, 2-night loop that would go up this trail and over the pass (which you can see at the top. Basically, in the snowy saddle in the middle of the mountains), on to a second campsite at a second lake, and then out on the third day. Weather in Colorado, especially above 11,000 feet, is, well let's just say...unpredictable. All of the reports said that the pass was snowed in and impassable. Additionally, the snowing in was caused by some monstrous rain on Saturday. And as a reminder, even in June, at this altitude, rain really means COLD rain. 

That makes for a very easy decision. It's one thing if you are out in the backcountry and a storm rolls in and you just deal with it. It's entirely another to knowingly head out into bad weather. Since this trip is/was really just a gear test and warmup for a large trip we are doing in a month, it took about 30 seconds of thought to push out a day and shorten the trip. (For permitting and real-world reasons, we did not have the option of just extending an extra day)

So...Pivot. There are times when we, as entrepreneurs, as well as adventurers need to make adjustments. There's a fine line between allowing yourself the space and flexibility to adjust while also making sure not to be undisciplined and meandering. We face these types of decisions every day in our business lives (family lives too, for that matter). It is vital to allow ourselves this space for adjustments. 

2. Being Present

Not a bad view from 12,100 feet

With views like this, it's not difficult to remain in the moment, but sometimes it takes work. Even though we were in the remote wilderness, I discovered that my phone actually had 2 bars of service. Well, I had set my auto-reply in my email and made the intentional decision to be truly off. In our 24/7 hyper-connected world, this is easier said than done. We all check our emails on the weekends and answer Slack posts at odd hours. I was true to my commitment and only used that sliver of connection to pop off a couple of texts (mainly to my wife, that we were indeed alive and enjoying ourselves). No Slack, no email, no social.
Then, back to airplane mode for the rest of the trip. 

This is about 30 minutes after dinner, a dinner that was marked by rain and even some snow, then it cleared to THIS!

The name for this slide, courtesy of Brandon Perry (my long-time friend and co-founder of Island Brands, a company that I am proud to serve on its board of directors): The Great Pondering, Wondering, and Wandering

ALWAYS stop to check out the views. 

Living in the moment!

Who Gets to DO This?!

3. Chin Up

This one stems from a literal reminder while on the trail. "Chin Up" serves as a reminder to not solely focus on the immediate steps in front of you. On the trail and in life, you sometimes need to carefully watch your step. On this trip, a large amount of the trail winds through a running creek. There are times that you have to be focused on looking at every step. Nobody wants a turned ankle in this location. 
The "trail" here is pretty wet.

But the obvious metaphorical component applies as well. It's not just about being optimistic but taking a moment and soaking up the greater picture. Look around. Enjoy the views. Even while lugging 40 pounds of gear and food on your back (technically, your hips but the metaphor works better on your back), it's important to take a moment here and there and appreciate it. It's much easier to do when the views are as outstanding as these.

We used that title phrase a bunch on this trip: Who gets to do this?! Always in an incredulous way that this area inspires. Well, the true answer is: ANYONE can do this. As long as you are willing to put in some hard work. And isn't that what we all do anyway?