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Committing to the journey – even when it’s hard.

By September 21, 2022September 29th, 2022Articles, Blog

Work has been hard. Let’s try to understand where we’ve been and commit to where we are going.

In August, I (Kate) went on a four day backpacking trip in my home state of Colorado.

There are four of us who take these rigorous annual treks together each summer. Each time, we encounter beautiful scenery, incredible glimpses of wildlife and amazing mountain views. And each summer, we encounter the hard work of steep leg-burning climbs, thousands of feet of thin oxygen elevation gains and rocky ankle-rolling terrain. Every year, we eagerly plan and look forward to our amazing backpacking trips. And every year, we end the trip wondering if we will EVER do it again… IT’S HARD WORK! It takes commitment to do the work to get through these wonderfully grueling trips, a commitment fueled by the twin goals of the awe-inspiring beauty, and the sense of accomplishment, found at the summit.

We’ve been pondering the idea of commitment and why it’s so essential to get through hard times. There’s no question work is hard right now. It just is, on so many levels. To get things done, we need to dig in, find what is meaningful to us, and commit to the journey. To get over a 12,000-foot pass, you have to whole-heartedly invest in the journey. There is no turning back. It’s one foot in front of the other. There’s no room to complain or whine. You have to know why you are doing what you’re doing, and dig deep for the inner fortitude to keep going. Our commitment to the plan keeps us going, even when it is incredibly challenging.

We always take a few days after our backpacking trips to reflect: what did we learn; what do we want to do next time; what don’t we want to do? We do this to integrate our experience, learn from it, then celebrate what we accomplished. It helps us build the resolve to commit to the next time!

As a senior leader, you have committed to take your team on a journey. A journey that has likely been very difficult this past year and will, quite possibly, be difficult on the next leg. Now that summer is winding down, it’s a great time to get your people together and regroup. Use this time in the waning shadow of summer to:

Pause and reflect.

Many of our clients are talking about the next chapter, be it fall product launches or 4th quarter goals. It can be so much easier to just move on. To tackle the next set of goals and issues without appropriately reflecting on what you’ve been through. Before diving into the next phase, take some time to process where you have been together and what has happened. Let everyone process how they are feeling about what happened this summer, and in all of 2022. What went well, what didn’t? What did you fall short of? What are you learning? What summits did you reach?

Commit, and then go.

Once you’ve purposefully processed where you’ve been, you can now commit to what’s next with clear understanding, vision and enthusiasm. Everything your team has learned in this last stage of work will inform the next stage. Take stock of it all, make a plan based on what you’ve learned and commit to the next chapter. Meaningful journeys take planning and focus. We start planning our backpacking trips nine months in advance! What are you committed to achieving nine months from now?

Taking these steps will help everyone return from where they’ve been (whether summer vacation, working remotely, or on a different project) and step into fall with a renewed focus and enthusiasm.

Humanity works because of you!
Kate and Debbie