Field Notes: Celebrating the Journey in Life and BusinessJuly 26, 2017
This is the final post of a series sharing how a few personal experiences from a recent hiking trip provided reminders of some valuable life lessons; simple, timeless, and wise lessons which are all too often forgotten, overlooked or taken for granted. The best part of it all… you don’t have to go on a hike as we experience these moments every day in our roles as spouses, parents, and professionals. I believe the real challenge is learning from our experiences and finding ways to apply that universal wisdom. It’s how we grow to be better parents, better professionals, and better citizens.
This brings me to two other important lessons: celebrate the journey with those around you and take a moment to enjoy the view.
My wife and I have taken my two older children, 7 and 4, on short and long hikes for the better part of two years, but never before had we attempted a 5-mile in-and-out hike. Not only were we uncertain of the distance, but we had sub-freezing temperatures, howling wind gusts and no shelter from the elements on the top of the mountain bald. So here I was l leading us into unchartered territory.
While the trip was not without its challenges (see my previous post), my children not only completed the hike but enjoyed the experience of it all. We took funny pictures, named the mountain peaks we saw, discovered hidden openings between bushes for a few snack breaks, and overall, we relished the adventure.
Two moments struck me as special and inspirational. The first is the picture of my daughter in full victory pose on the top of one of the mountain balds. It was remarkable to see her completely embrace the moment with energy and confidence. Never once did she consider turning back and instead found any and every rock to climb as if to conquer each and every step of the way.
The second was that of my 4-year-old son, who was the first to reach the final summit. I vividly remember hiking behind him as he led the way watching him hike with determination despite all the weather conditions on the longest hike of his young life. At the end of the hike, we joked that each of the kids deserved a hiking medal, which their aunt surprised them with a week later.
Sure, I am a proud father, but I share this story as a reminder to celebrate the journey with those around you. Recognize their success, celebrate their accomplishment, and let their achievements stand alone as deserving. What I have found is that along the way these people make my journey brighter and more memorable than if had I gone at it all alone. I continue to be inspired by those individuals, in life and in business, who, for a moment, truly share their journey with me and then me with them.
Finally, back to that rare moment of peace, presence, and clarity I mentioned in my previous post. If you are anything like me, I shuffle an endless set of activities, obligations, and distractions which dominate my time and attention. As if that wasn’t hard enough, I have the thoughts in my head reminding me of all the things I haven’t done, may have done wrong, am afraid to do, or fear I can’t do at all. Suddenly discouragement, fear, and busyness overshadow the inspiration, hope and peace life’s journey can offer.
For me, the start of the hike that morning was anything but ideal. So with the cold weather, a very uncomfortable 3-year-old in a backpack and the anxieties surrounding the journey, I forgot why I started the hike and almost conceded and returned to the car. It was almost as though I wasn’t meant to complete the journey. But as I mentioned, my wife picked me up when I down, and the kids inspired me with their adventurous joy. So soon thereafter, I had a decision to make: Let the challenges and the conditions dictate my experience OR remember why I wanted to take the hike in the first place. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened, but I found myself peaceful, present, and clear in mind as I soaked up the view.
It’s easy to get caught up in daily life. It’s easy to forget why we set out on our journey. I have to remind myself to be intentional and find ways to be mindful and introspective. In other words, I have to remind myself to soak up the views and not focus purely on the endless to-do list and countless activities. Had I not, I would have missed one of the most memorable and inspiring moments of my life… a mental image I see as I type this sentence.
So, remember whatever your journey, have a map to guide you, share the journey with others, celebrate with those around you, and remember to soak up the views.
At Inflammo, we work with entrepreneurs and we are ourselves are a relatively young company. Much like we remind our clients, we too have to remember to set aside the time and intentionally soak up the views and enjoy the journey. We are your finance and accounting partner. We believe in advancing the mission, the ideas and the dreams of others along their professional journey. If you want to learn more about Inflammo, our services or to simply say “hello”, please contact us at email@example.com.