On a day with a clear blue sky dotted with the occasional puffy white cloud, Sheri and I hoisted our backpacks and headed up the Four Pass Loop Trail in Colorado. We love backpacking, and this trip promised to be enjoyable and a little challenging, while providing a week’s escape from the August heat in Dallas.
Each trip we take is different from the others we’ve taken due to differences in weather, terrain, friends that join us, and moments on the trail. Life slows down when walking on a trail and I find there are new lessons I learn on each trip. In the case of this trip, here are a five lessons I learned.
Unplug, Think, Reflect: Upon entering the White River National Forest, my cell phone indicates there is no service available. There is no way to make or receive a call, check email, or scan updates on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest. I smile. There are no distractions to interrupt the views, conversations with Sheri, and being present on the trail.
Unplugging is something that doesn’t seem to happen often enough in my life. When I do get around to shutting everything off, I’m able to think, reflect, and plan. As John Maxwell wrote in his book, How Successful People Think, it’s important to take the time to unplug and think. I’m able to noodle on what’s working, what needs to change, as well as being in tune with what’s truly important to my clients and myself.
People are Important: Every business has it’s statistics and ways to measure how “successful” it is. As an insurance agent, my world is measured by policy count, number of clients, retention, profitability of business we write and much more.
To be honest, these figures are useful, but they miss the mark on what’s truly important; the relationships we build with individuals, families, and business owners when we advise and provide the proper solution that financially protects a client. This is why my focus is on building a clientele, not amassing customers.
I don’t believe in selling something that’s not needed. Nor is any transaction more important than the relationship we build, whether or not a policy is written.
Course Correction: On Tuesday, Sheri and I headed up, what I thought was the right trail to our first pass. I didn’t realize it was the wrong path, until right after lunch. We turned around, retracing our steps, and were about to head up the right trail when we were engulfed by a thunderstorm. We threw the tent up, crawled inside, and changed into dry clothes.
It was very disappointing to realize my mistake and the weather cost us an entire day on the trail. We’d have to alter our plans. We weren’t lost, we were just on the wrong trail and on a path that took us away from our intended destination. We enjoyed the remaining two days of our backpacking by revamping our trip, however, we will have to go back again to do the trip as we originally intended.
Climbing the Mountain: The trail Sheri and I were hiking on is called the Four Pass Loop Trail because there are four passes between mountains in the 14,000 foot range. The passes themselves are in the 12,000 to 13,000 foot range and look daunting when standing at the base of one.
How do you climb a pass or a mountain, let alone address a big problem? One step at a time. There are no shortcuts or ways to skip ahead in the process. You can only place one foot in front of the other until you reach the top.
The same is true in life and business; to have a good life or build anything of lasting value, you have to climb the mountain. I was reminded of this as we headed up Buckskin Pass on Wednesday. The 3,000 foot climb was slow and tedious but the view at the top was incredible.
Savor the Moments: Life is filled with large and small moments which are to be savored. Seeing the Milky Way and millions of stars before going to bed, a warm smile from someone who loves you, a word of encouragement when you’re tired, meadow flowers dancing in the wind, a deer walking into camp, and the joy of reaching the top of a long climb are all moments to be celebrated. Each day there’s something we can appreciate and be grateful for if we look for it!
Where did you go on your vacation and what did you learn? Share your pictures and lessons with us in the comments section of our blog or on our Google + and Facebook pages. I’d love to see what you did and learned.