Reaching the Top

IMG-20170702-WA0013I recently hiked in Arches National Park in Utah. It was 102-degree Fahrenheit with only 7% humidity. An energy sucking, dry heat unlike what many people are used to experiencing.

One highlight of this trip was the climb to Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch.

As the sun pounded down it drained both energy and spirits. Having visited the Arch before, the vision of arriving at that magnificent mark fueled my trek. My Brazilian friend, Pacall, was visiting the National Park for the first time. He’d seen pictures of the Arch and wanted to see it in person.

Arriving at the top of the trail and beholding the beautiful Delicate Arch made the journal worth it – both in seeing the massive Arch and in defeating the brutal conditions required to do so.

Success in our personal lives and careers also takes a vision of what the “Top” of the journal will look like and a passion for getting there. While challenges and obstacles may line our path – an eye single to reaching the top will drive our ability to overcome.

Close your eyes – envision YOU succeeding and reaching the top.

Now open your eyes and take the first steps forward to making it happen!

 

(In full disclose – this is a picture of me and Pacall, but at another arch, not Delicate Arch. But I think it’s a cool pic. Haha)  

 

LIFE: A GRACEFUL SPRINT OR A GRIMY SCRAMBLE?

A couple weeks ago I took part in our company’s annual 5K run. It’s the 4th year I’ve participated which is quite impressive considering I don’t like to run – at all! This explains why I was completely content to walk most of the 3.1 miles.

Someone once tried to explain to me how running is a metaphor for life. Something about only really competing against yourself, pushing to continue when you just want to stop, and the sense of accomplishment at the finish line. Not going to lie, the metaphor just didn’t sink in. Life isn’t a well groomed path where the only real obstacles are based on your own physical and mental toughness – at least not my life.

Dirty_Dash_muddyshoes_2014Last Saturday I had the chance to run another 5K with my wife and several friends. This was a different sort of race called The Dirty Dash. Participants can choose the 3.5 or 5.5 mile version (we wimped out and opted for the shorter run). The race began by running (by that I mean stumbling, slipping and sliding) up a muddy embankment with water spraying overhead. There were no smooth paths here; instead we encountered dusty, grimy and swamping trails. Obstacles are placed throughout the race including stacked hay bales to climb over, murky pools where you sink two feet deep into sucking sludge, slimy mud walls often only scalable with the help of someone on top, and a 200 foot waterslide where you get hosed down right before being jettisoned into another hazel colored pond of soot and soil.

It’s physically and mentally exhausting. It’s oddly therapeutic. It’s a blast!

No one gets through the race unscathed, scratches and scrapes are common. To say participants get dirty is an understatement. Mud cakes your shoes and clothes, weighs you down, and saps your energy with every step. It clumps in your hair, smudges your face, and obscures your vision. The occasional water break is a welcomed respite as much to quench your thirst as to be used to clean your face and hands.

Some of the obstacles feel impossible to conquer. You get through by laughing, or crying or grunting. You overcome the challenges with the help of your friends and teammates. Often you get a boost from a total stranger. In return, you turn back and lend a hand to the random guy or girl behind you as they struggle to make the climb.

You don’t always clear a hurdle on the first try, so you step back, take a deep breath and try again. Sometimes when you see an obstacle on the horizon you smile and say “bring it on!” Other times you see an obstacle and exasperatedly exclaim “You’ve got to be kidding me.” You leap over some hurdles with ease as others struggle to do the same. Then you find yourself clawing, fighting and crawling along while other people sail past.

Dirty_Dash_2014Finishing the race is great, but it’s not really the point. The joy comes in the journey, in the doing, in the accomplishing, in the overcoming. It comes through the experiences and comradery discovered along the way. It seems to me that life feels far less like a marathon sprint and far more like a dirty dash.

Running the Dirty Dash was on my 2014 Bucket List. Good job me!

Why Should Employees Cheer for You?

The 2012 London Olympics are only a few weeks away. I am a big fan of the Olympics. I love cheering for team USA and our athletes. It’s awe-inspiring to learn about astonishing athletes from all across the globe and see the passion fans have for their country. Most athletes are not rich superstars (unlike the US Men’s basketball team). Most athletes are playing for the love of country and competition.

Image10 years ago Salt Lake City, Utah welcomed the world during the 2002 Winter Olympics. The spirit and passion of the Olympics was felt first hand. For those of us living in this area at that time, it was an amazing experience. The Olympic cauldron still stands as a reminder of those games. The execution of the Olympics was credited to hundreds of hundreds of people, mostly volunteers. Like many of the athletes, these volunteers were everyday people who took time off work and away from their families to help make this epic event, magical. (My one regret is not taking the time to volunteer).

Most of us are not going to star on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. We don’t go to work each day for fame, glory or extreme recognition. In my experience most people work hard for their family, personal growth, professional development and to achieve a comfortable living. Executive management teams envision direction and strategy, but employees are the ones that truly get companies to their destinations and achieve their goals.

Like fans supporting their country, employees can support a company. To instill that fandom companies must offer products and services that employees want to stand behind and a culture that employees embrace. People want more than just a paycheck; a good company can be a cause worth cheering for. It won’t just happen on its own. Executives and managers need to create that environment. Volunteers said the Olympic Games were a ton of work, but were totally worth it. Are employees saying the same about working for you and your company?

Side Note: As we celebrate America’s independence let’s cheer for the men and women who selflessly defend our country. Thank you for all you do! Let freedom ring, over the land of the free and home of the brave!

Go Team USA: http://www.teamusa.org/