I often get asked the question when entering for a race like the Otter, why do it? Two reasons. The obvious one would be for the health benefits. Being out in nature and connecting with like minded individuals, both during the race itself and while training. But then there are also the not so obvious lessons. The lessons Steve Jobs reminded us, you can only connect when looking backwards. Looking back on the Otter, the following dots are the connection that I have made.
There is no such thing as solo:
Given the amazing setting the Otter takes place in, not lingering on the view instead of the trail ahead is a challenge in itself. The trail has more than its fair share of narrow trail sections. They are on average high enough to make for some interesting moments. I would be writing this article from an ICU somewhere if not for the help of a complete stranger on the trail lending me a hand. Would have without a doubt, fallen the height of a double story building with nothing but rocks to break my decent.
The business world is littered with burnt out individuals who failed to delegate excess work. Mostly due to either the fear of trusting others or as an attempt to save on resources. Both with the same outcome of certain failure if given enough time.To succeed as an individual, no matter how independent you think you are, at some point you need others help to reach the finish line.
It's all about the process of building habits:
Any person who prepares for a adventure or race will be able to give credence to how powerful habit building is to reaching your goal. It is not about how far you run infrequently, but how consistent you run on a frequent basis that makes all the difference.
Reaching your career goals take continuous input everyday. Even if it is just sending an email to connect with a prospect. Everyday. Pushing your goals along on a daily basis is far more powerful than taking leaps and bounds every now and again.
Take what you need, and not a thing more:
Da Vinci of all people popularised that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Entering any endurance event is just what Da Vinci would have prescribed. There is no quicker way to learn what is essential in life, than to be told that what ever you bring with you, you will have to carry on your back. Having gone through a pack mule stage myself, it takes preparing for an event like the Otter trail to bring the advantage of travelling light into focus.
Often we are so focused on moving our careers forward, that we say yes to each and every idea or deal. Yet focusing on being a meaningful specific is the quickest and easiest route to the top. Carrying that difficult client or deal along will just slow you down in working with that customer that you love to create things for.
Dreaming big is not just for the select few:
I have encountered my fair share of individuals that on the surface don’t look capable of running or cycling any distance worth a mention. Yet it is these individuals that have shown me on countless occasions that it is the ones with passion and lofty dreams that should never be underestimated.
We can all tell stories similar to the now famous discovery of Jonathan Ive. At some point in life you are going to have to trust your gut on that new intellect that might not look the best on paper, but just feels right. Paulo Coelho once said that it is the possibility of making a dream come true that makes life interesting. In business as with the Otter, you have the possibility of making dreams come true by just believing in what you cannot see yet.
You have the possibility of making dreams come true by just believing in what you cannot see yet.
What lies beyond the Otter is unknown at the moment. The dots haven’t been connected yet. One thing is for certain, the lessons learned will go a long way in achieving the next dream just that little bit easier.