Seven Lessons the Mountain Taught Me

July 7th 2015

Hiking over the past year at an 8,000-foot elevation has taught me a few things that apply to working life. I hope you find them useful.

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  1. Pick the right team to go with you. The wrong number of people or a strange mix of personalities will make your hike and your work much harder. The right brew makes a hike — and a career —  safer and more fabulous than it would ever be if you were to do it alone.
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  3. Be as concerned for your team’s welfare as you are for yours. Everybody takes care of everybody on the trail, because it’s in our best interests. The same is true at work.
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  5. Have the right equipment. No matter how good you think you are, if you don’t have the right tools you will fall short. Those tools include not only concrete items like boots and water, but softer things like a great attitude and the ability to communicate within your team. The right tools matter on the trail and at the office.
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  7. Pick a trail that challenges you and makes you happy. Challenges are everywhere; happiness is more elusive. Look for both.
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  9. Stop and enjoy the view as often as you can. Hiking isn’t just about putting one foot in front of the other any more than work is about completing task after task. They're both about building relationships, lifting your sights higher, and seeing things anew.
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  11. Look ahead, but make sure you know where your feet are. Don’t let your enjoyment of the view or your planning for the future cause you to lose your balance. Trails and work can be precarious if you don’t pay attention in each moment.
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  13. Celebrate when you finish. Nothing feels better than a great hike when it’s over or a great job when it’s done. Congratulate each other on your victory, your persistence, maybe even your courage. Be loud and proud in your praise. And be sure to eat a cupcake or pop open a Diet Coke or do whatever your team does to express happiness.
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Hiking is hard and wonderful. So is work when you go about it with your eyes and heart open to all the possibilities in front of you. Happy trails!

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professional development, leadership, management, communication

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