Archive for July, 2010

26
Jul

My husband and I were recently hiking on Mt. Hood in Oregon. Even in the middle of July a lot of snow remained at Timberline Lodge where our hike began. We carefully made our way across numerous snowfields, delighting in the occasional wildflower peeking out in the grassy spots. It was a warm day with a cloudless sky. We’d been hiking about an hour and a half when we came to a sizable ravine.  It was a steep way down on the trail, then we’d have to cross a wide swath of snow that hugged the side of the ravine, then trudge back up the other side. It looked like a long way back up the hill. We gazed at it. “That looks really steep,” said my husband.  I was ready to wimp out, already thinking about the post-hike late lunch at the Ram’s Head bar. Instead, we both said together, “Let’s go for it.”   And we began the descent.

We found the way down was easy. The snowfield, after traversing dozens, wasn’t that difficult. We laughed as we held hands to keep our footing. Minutes later we’d climbed all the way back up to the other side. We stopped to look back. The ravine again looked steep and foreboding. We agreed that the steepness was simply an illusion. Just like a lot of things we face. “Things are easier than we think,” commented my husband Steve.

That’s the way our goals are. When we see them in a distance they can appear daunting. We pause to begin because we’re not sure we can do it. Or that we want to do it. Is the view from the other side worth it? We have to learn now things. We have to risk. But as soon as we begin, it gets easier. It’s always the moment of standing on the precipice that is most frightening.

Just get going. Right Now.

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Category : Goal setting and achievement | Blog
5
Jul

Road trip rush

Competing effectively today is like driving on the L.A. freeway system. This occurred to me when I recently took a business trip to Southern California where I had meetings with  NBC in both Burbank and Los Angeles. I’d rented a car but passed on renting a GPS system.  I reasoned that I know the freeway system well enough where I was scheduled to meet.

Then I had an unexpected event that required a trip to Altadena via a route I didn’t know as well. Armed with my iPhone, which I call with great admiration “the magic phone,” I quickly mapped out my route.

In Los Angeles you have to pay high attention at all times when driving.  The freeway system there is a beautiful, efficient means of transport. The gleaming concrete stretches across hundreds of square miles like a rushing river of metal. Cars whiz by at 70 or 75 MPH (no one, it seems obeys the speed limit there) weaving in and out of ramps, exits, and six-lane changes. If you blink you’ve missed the way. Or have a very bad accident.

Life is like a freeway

This is where my realization came in. I had my course plotted out. I was following it dutifully.  I maneuvered the quick lane changes with aplomb, crossing four lanes of traffic in a very short distance to make the next freeway change, shortly followed by more hair raising lane changes, all with cars speeding on every side.

What a powerful metaphor for business and life today! All those other cars are like your competitors. You’re all going full speed ahead. If you don’t pay attention, your competitor will rush right past you in seconds. One mistake and you’ve taken the wrong road. You waste time getting back on track while you competitor has gained ground on you. Sometime a change of route is intended.  The road is closed and you have to find a new way. The winnings go to the one who found the best solution first.

High awareness is required of us every single day. The ability to think quickly and to change quickly is vital.  This is our own built-in GPS system. Plot a course. Then go fast. Go far.

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Category : Leadership | Blog