Tag Archives: Hiking

!!!!HolyCrapThere’sASnakeOnThePath!!!!

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My wife and I spent much of our day on a pretty casual hike up Romero Canyon Trail, a really cool route between Summerland and Montecito (near Santa Barbara, CA). We hiked a couple miles up and then began our descent towards our car. Maybe 500 feet from our car, we came upon a mountain biker who had stopped early in his ascent. He was clearly concerned about something…and as we got closer, we could see a 5′ snake across the side-third of the trail.

The snake was not a rattlesnake but, instead, an extremely docile, friendly, and clearly not-concerned-with-us Pacific Gopher Snake. Still – we gave it distance – out of respect for our new reptilian friend.

The snake was an unexpected obstacle – then exciting – and finally something we will reflect upon happily. How often do we leaders see a snake on our path that might intimidate or scare us at first but ends up being something great? It could be a change or innovation, a systemic improvement that comes from outside our box, or a new leader above us with a different way of doing things? In these moments we:

1. Observe the change (See the snake on the trail)

2. Analyze the new challenge’s effect to ourselves (It’s a Pacific Gopher Snake and it will not bite me)

3. Assess and implement our own response to this change (I will walk around Mr. Snake and let him be.)

4. Reflect upon the change with an opinion or emotion (That was a cool snake and I’m happy I have a pic of it!).

The moral of the story: Systematic implementation of standard analysis can make snakes on the trail that much more enjoyable, both, for you and the snake 🙂

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Filed under change management, motivation, observation

What Hiking Mount Wilson Taught Me About Becoming a Leader

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I’d heard much about the 16 mile roundtrip hike to the top of 5600′ Mount Wilson, a prominent mountain above Pasadena, California. However, the prospect of embarking on a day hike of that magnitude intimidated me, to say the least. Furthermore, I was going to be making this maiden voyage with 5 other people who also had not done something on this level… and I was expected to be the leader of the group. Oh the pressure!

I must have spent 2 hours prepping my daypack with food, extra layers, sunscreen, water, and the like. Finally, after much stressing, I left my apartment and met up with my fellow dayhikers at the trailhead in Sierra Madre. We began our trek in rhythm with each other. Here’s where it gets interesting.

We joked and talked and talked and joked with each other. We still remembered the goal – to reach the summit – but our minds were fixated on our discussion. I also began to track our progress on my beaten up Tom Harrison Map. First we, reached First Water. Then we reached the helipad. And then Orchard. A couple of splinter trail turnoffs. Manzanita Ridge. The weird mark on the map that stands out as awkward. Etc…

Our hard work paid off and we reached the top. Here’s the lesson learned: Reaching Wilson’s summit was much easier, no as a journey unto itself, but instead as the final goal of a series of goals. We had little check-in spots to reach along the way and we had conversation topics that also captivated our attention…while we still moved in tandem.

Leadership is the same way. Rome wasn’t built in a day. If your goal is to become a great leader – create a series of small goals to reach and focus on the progression of reaching each of those goals. When you reach a small goal, it perpetuates a sense of victory and will spur you on to further victories. It’s not a bad idea to have a big goal – in fact its a great thing – but do not let a giant goal become the only thing you’re thinking about.

Remember – this is a walk and not a jump.

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Filed under change management, communication, motivation