Celebrating the journey
Another great day on our trip out west consisted of hiking into an alpine lake in the Payette National Forest in Idaho. It was an arduous journey as we ascended 2,000 feet and then descended another 2,000 feet to get to the lake.
The lake was amazing and really indescribable, but my favorite part was sitting on the top of the ridge looking down at it. That was the place from which I could really appreciate what we were about to accomplish. We took some time on that ridge to enjoy what our work had achieved. We also had breakfast up on that ridge the next morning on our way out.
We generally do a poor job celebrating our victories, but we are even worse at celebrating the journey.
As you begin the work of the fall, remember to appreciate what you are doing before you finish it. The next time you find yourself at the top of the mountain, even though there may be more miles to travel, pause, enjoy the view and your companions. Life is not about the destination; it is about the journey.
It was awe-inspiring
Being among trees that were thousands of years old gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own life. It is so easy to get caught up in the moment and believe that everything we are doing is super important. It’s not. Nothing we do is important. If you are a bristlecone pine.
The point is that there are many things that will be around a long time after we are gone. Yes, helping grow other people (and trees) is meaningful and it is important, but let’s not take ourselves quite so seriously.
As we begin the fall, remember to take time to live, laugh, and love.
Peace of mind
In our month-long tour of the country, Pam and I backpacked several times. A critical aspect of backpacking is managing carried weight. Every pound of extra weight increases knee pressure by 3-6 times! Carrying a 20-pound pack puts up to 180 lbs of additional force on your knees, with every step!
One of the most important weight considerations is food. An average hiker needs about two pounds (3,500 calories) of food per day when hiking 10+ miles. Carrying calorically dense food is critical. Dividing 3,500 calories by 32 ounces means we need foods that are over 100 calories/ounce. Meal planning for a trip can become complicated.
We never want to carry too much food but having a bit extra provides peace of mind. On top of our planned food, we add a Greenbelly Meal 2go. At 650 calories for about 5.5. ounces, it is enough to provide both Pam and I with an extra meal in case we get caught out in the dark. It is also simple. No extra planning and we keep a box on hand, so we don’t need to worry about shopping.
Apply this to your leadership. What happens if you become incapacitated suddenly? What are some of the critical things you do daily that someone else must be prepared to do? They may not have to be great at them, but they will need to do the minimum. Identifying those core functions and developing a simple back-up plan provides you and others with peace of mind.
Do good and be well,
Don’t confuse the mission with the goals!
Mission: the purpose for which your organization exists
Example from our (Pam and I) recent cross-country trip: the purpose (mission) of our trip was to reconnect with family and friends and to have memorable experiences in nature.
Vision: The ideal outcome resulting from enacting or fulfilling your mission.
Example: we will arrive home renewed in multiple ways (relationship with each other and others) with a new set of memories and a great appreciation for our country, its people, and beauty.
Goals: Achievements that will help you fulfill your mission.
1.Backpack in the Badlands
2.Backpack in Glacier Park
3.Visit friend Nat in Klamath Falls
4.Spend time with mom in San Francisco
5.Visit other family on the way home
As it turned out, we did not meet goals one and two, but we still achieved our mission and fulfilled our vision.
With record heat across the West, goals one and two become unreasonable. While keeping in mind our mission (memorable experiences in nature), we set new goals:
These new goals allowed us to escape the heat and fulfill have some remarkable outdoor moments.
Sometimes we cling to goals even when they no longer serve their purpose. Every now and then, step back and check your alignment. Especially if it is hot outside!
Do good and be well,
I’m sorry that there were no emails last week. I had intended to write them while Pam and I were on the road, but it just didn’t happen. Beginning tomorrow we will return to our normal daily email sent at 6 am.
The rest of this week will include some lessons from our big trip. Next week we will walk through the process of identifying strategic actions which, if implemented daily, will help you achieve organizational goals.
I hope you were able to take some time in July to recharge, reconnect, and reframe.