My family and I went camping a couple of months ago and we wanted to take a family hike. We asked the park ranger what a good hike would be and he let us know his favorite, and he also said, its an eight mile hike. My twins boys are 9 years old, and even though they love being outside, that was a long haul for them.
We went for it anyway. The ranger did mention that the first two plus miles were up a winding road to a peak with a beautiful view. He wasn’t quite clear how UPHILL the road happened to be. At approximately a half mile in, the complaints from one of my son’s began…my shoes hurt, its hot, etc. Although I was not complaining, I did wonder how this was going to go for us as a family. It was steep!
Then we ran into another group of ranger’s clearing an area and one of them said, “Count the patches of tar on the way up.” Ok, I, thought. It worked!!! There were patches of darker tar along the way where they had repaired the road and as we began to count the patches, all of our resistance disappeared. I watched with delight as my sons began to look forward to the next patch of tar, count it and get excited about the next patch.
Two steep miles later, we reached the top, enjoyed our lunch and eventually made our way down an equally challenging trail of rocks and woods. We even encountered a snake along the way.
As I reflected on the day, I saw two important concepts and distinctions. One, how critically important looking to the future is to any person or organization. We have a saying in our transformational work that says, “what isn’t is always more important than what is.” As human beings, our focus and desire for the future is the driving force that keeps us going. It is as hardwired as breathing. Our next breath is always more important than the previous breath.
As a leader and generator of your life and your career, you can empower the people around you by focusing everyone’s attention on the future vision of the family or your business. You are the “voice of the future”, the beacon of light calling your folks forward.
If you are a business owner or entrepreneur:
- What is your company’s or organization’s vision and is everyone connected to that vision?
- What is the future oriented language you can use to inspire people to focus on the vision?
- How can you presence the future vision of your organization or company in your communications and meetings?
- What is the “what’s next” that will inspire your team?
Even If you are not running a business:
- What is your vision and are you connected to your vision daily?
- What are the declarations that are future oriented you can use to inspire your way of being and actions?
- Who do you get to “be” to demonstrate your vision in your relationships and in your communication?
- What is the “what’s next” that gets you out of bed in the morning inspired?
Finding ways to keep the future vision and mission in front of you and your team inspires you and them to keep going, even in the face of obstacles or challenges.
The second lesson for me was the value of persistence. I am not new to being persistent…I am actually pretty good at it. And I saw in that long hike, that each time we thought we were almost back at the campsite, we had another turn, or the terrain got more difficult. And each time, we kept going with determination and persistence.
Your attitude as the leader in your life, your family or your organization around persistence is important to your team. Especially when there is a breakdown, interruption, obstacle, or circumstance that is difficult. The obstacle may be internally generated by you or someone around you or externally generated by the conditions of the market, your clients, suppliers, etc.
Your leadership in not only shifting whatever needs to be shifted, but in staying persistent to the goal, the vision, the objective is imperative to your and your team’s enthusiasm and attitude to keep going until the “job is done.” Especially when the road gets more difficult. Your certainty and belief in the vision, goal and your team is the fuel you all need to keep going. Just as we kept inspiring our sons to keep on trekking, sore feet and all.