I was a slow starter. In grammar school, I had a reading tutor, and my father sent me to endless numbers of after-school programs. I really could not sit still.
I roamed the neighborhood freely as a social butterfly, walking everywhere –into the downtown, visiting political headquarters during election season and stopping in to a radio station to see what it was all about.
I worked hard in school and did pretty well, but was by no means a genius.
This revelation came to me as my wife and I decided to hike three 4,000-foot mountains — namely Tom, Fields and Peirce – in the White Mountain Presidential Range in New Hampshire during Super Bowl weekend. There are a total of 48 mountains in New Hampshire with an elevation above 4,000 feet. The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has great educational programs throughout the year for children and adults. So we decided to do it — when it is minus10 degrees!
(I said I was no genius).
As I started the climb on day one, I was struggling, thighs burning and heavy breadth, but steady. I recalled the short story, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,” which I read in high school. It is the story of the solitude of a challenge even though you are among people. You are really on your own. It is up to you to protect yourself and be responsible for your safety.
Hiking in the winter is all about body temperature control — don’t get too hot, don’t get cold, hydrate, eat, rest, do not stop too long, stay together so people don’t have to stop because of you. When you stop, your body temperature drops quickly and it is tough to get it back!
You are constantly checking your body for cold. For me it is my right foot and thumbs, if they are going numb, I was anxious as to how I would get the feeling back!
The AMC guide told us to keep moving your toes as you walk, which I had never really done before because, well, I never really had to! But now I had to and I listened and I did what I was told.
I listened to their expert advice and that got me through. We would pause often to assess our physical condition, temperature etc. Clothes were taken off and later put back on, food was eaten and then there were the adjustments to equipment. For me, it was my snow shoes which continued to fall off as the straps were so stiff in the cold it was difficult to get them to stay threaded to the buckles.
Listening to advice from the experts got me through. I thought how that is so helpful to businesses that retain coaches and consultants to guide them through the hazards of the marketplace. As for my slow start, I cruised as I warmed up and after two days, covered about 13 miles and three peaks — slowly but steadily as we went. We finished, not much different in your business, slow and steady, reaching your goals methodically after planning and assessing along the way.
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