Leadership Twists and Turns, Sticks and Stones!
As my husband and I were hiking in the beautiful trails of the State of Maine, we went through twists and turns, sticks and stones! I realized leaders must guide their teams through the same obstacles found along the way. Leaders must first scope out the terrain and then figure out a plan the team members want and can follow.
In hiking trails, you find mostly narrow paths that twist and turn sometimes unexpectedly. Often you get to a “T” on the road, and you must decide which way to go. Some trails have signs and others have nothing to show you the way. This trail was well marked with “blue signs” painted on tree trunks or a small blue rectangular plastic plate nailed to a tree. These marks told the hikers that you were on the right trail and that you may get lost if you walk away from the trail. These blue signs gave me comfort that we were on the right track. As leaders, sometimes we need to follow the footsteps of others who went before us and left us their experience.
During our journey, I noticed that if you look up for too long you trip on tree branches or roots from trees that have erupted on the surface, or you may step on an unbalanced stone or lose your footing on a rock that sticks up. I found it difficult to enjoy my surroundings while focusing on the path simultaneously. So, I learned to stop, look around, and truly enjoy the moment. Then I refocused on the trail to ensure I would not trip and fall which is my biggest fear as an inexperienced hiker. Looking down all the time is mentally exhausting, and I lose all the excitement of being in nature.
Enjoying the Journey
Because we were in no hurry to get to the top of the mountain, we went slowly and truly enjoyed nature. Wow! I got so refreshed and started writing this blog in my head. As we went along, I shared with my husband all these ideas I’m sharing with you now. There is nothing like breathing fresh air and exploring new places to get inspiration. That always works for me. When I return from these trips, I may be physically tired, but my mind and my spirit are lifted and full of inspiration.
The second hiking trip that day was cut short because we got poured on! We knew there was rain coming but decided we didn’t care if we got wet. And we did! I found out my fall coat is not waterproof nor warm enough. My husband brought his professional camera that cannot get wet, so he used his raincoat to protect the camera and consequently he got soaked. And somehow, we took the wrong turn and ended up in the same place we started so we decided to go back at that point when the rain was coming down hard. It was a fun adventure with my husband and we both enjoyed it anyway.
Below are the key lessons I learned from our hiking adventures:
- Do take time to explore nature and experience it fully.
- Do activities with your loved ones to get refreshed together and share the special moments.
- Leadership is all about being prepared and making decisions while leading your team. Therefore, take time to prepare as you embark on a new adventure with your team. Do your research and create a plan.
- As you encounter new situations (like the T on the path with no signs), be confident to make decisions with the information you have, the insight of your team, and your gut feeling.
- If you end up in the same place you started, it’s okay to go back and try another time.
- Bring the appropriate equipment for each type of trip you take.
- Always be thankful for what you have and for the people you love.
- It’s okay to follow others and learn from their mistakes as well as their successes.
- Enjoy the fun of going through the twists and turns, sticks and stones!
I hope you are now inspired to take a little hiking trip or choose an activity that will be enjoyable and refreshing. You deserve it!