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Leadership Lessons and a Missed Opportunity While Hiking

By Joey Havens

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On a recent trip to Maine, we decided to hike the Gorham Mountain Trail in Acadia National Park. I had planned to do my first Periscope broadcast on leadership at the top, but when we got to the summit, the cellular signal was pretty weak, it started raining and I took the opportunity to chicken out.

I carried no notes or ideas as I wanted to do a real-time leadership talk based on what I learned and observed as I was hiking. Having that mindset and objective, I was very observant which lead to personal growth with lots of new and reinforced insights.  

First, the weather forecast was bad. It had turned cold and windy with a high probability of afternoon rain. Being determined to reach this goal, we moved our hike up from noon to 9:00 a.m. to try and beat the weather. Determination and set goals will always impact how far we go and this time it helped me take the summit and have an amazing morning which included laughing, connecting, exercising and learning all at the same time. 

The greatest joy in the trip was helping my wife, my brother (who hates hiking) and his wife along the way. Accomplishing this personal goal was so much more satisfying because we shared the accomplishment together.  The connection was real as we shared the beautiful views and laughed uncontrollably as we attempted to use our “selfie stick” to take this photo (we tried to take about three pictures before we realized we had not cut the stick on yet!).

Along the hike, we found cairns (small stacks of rocks to note a memorial or path direction) to help us stay on the trail. Most of the time it was easy, but there were a few spots where we needed the cairn to show us the way. That’s the thing about leadership and growth, we all need help along the way. Leadership is serving others, sharing with others and doing things together, not as a lone ranger. We all need feedback and direction to reach our full potential.  There are so many times that I do not know what direction is best. What cairns can help us on our journey from good to great?   Let’s keep our eyes open for them and share them. 

The last observation I had on my hike was the fog and how it made the view of where we were going so difficult at times.  It reminded me of my self-awareness when I don’t seek feedback, advice and input. My view gets very hazy and I usually get off the trail before I know it. We are always in a fog if we do not work on our self-awareness. We are never as great or as bad as we might think we are.  We can always be even better with strong self-awareness.    

As I finish this blog, it makes me even more upset that I did not take advantage of this great opportunity for my first Periscope broadcast. It’s coming soon, but I’m still trying to get my nerve up.