Welcome to Day 9 of my 31 day series “Creating Your Motivational Action Plan.” Yesterday, we talked about the importance of removing all obstacles that get in your way, and focusing only on the resources that will get you to your goal. By now, your M.A.P. is beginning to take shape – you have your Everest listed at the top, and three columns. In the right column you have written “Resources that will help me ______” (lose weight, get fit, find an editor, build a website) – these are the small action steps needed to climb your Everest. In the middle column you have written the resources you will use to get there – (gym membership, friend who knows how to build websites, program to get out of debt).
A few weeks ago, MyHubby and I decided to take a drive through the White Mountains to see the beautiful foliage. It was a partly cloudy day, with just enough sun to illuminate the fiery reds and oranges on the leaves, and make the yellows glow a blaze against the gray back drop of the sky. Even though the weather wasn’t clear, we decided to pay the toll and drive up the Mount Washington Auto Road. MyHubby had never been to the top, and I was craving a summit fix.. so we drove. The first 4 miles, the views were spectacular. Crimson red, blaze orange, and yellows that popped for miles. As I guided my trusty Subaru Forester up the narrow, curvy, mountain road we started to get socked in with fog. By the time we got to the summit it was like we were on another planet. The fog and clouds rolled by us in wet misty walls. The summit building appeared and disappeared several times before we ascended up the 40′ stair case. Once at the observatory, we watched the Mt. Washington Cog Railway Train make its careful decent down, and eventually disappear into a bank of clouds.
MyHubby pointed to a group of hikers that appeared out of the billowing white and gray fog as they made their way across to Tuckermans Ravine. “How on earth do they know where the trail is?” he asked. I pointed out to him the row of Cairns – piles of rocks that formed cone-shaped formations that were strategically placed about 20′ feet apart. “They follow the Cains” I replied.
Cairns are piles of rocks strategically placed by humans to mark the direction of a trail, or point out resources like food, water or shelter. They are often used above treeline when the trail surface becomes rocky, and traditional blazes are hard to see. Because they are put there by people, the meaning and purpose of them are sometimes hard to decipher. They could mark the summit, a trail, food, water, or shelter… or someone placed one because they thought it looked “cool.” A well managed trail system typically has meaningful Cairns, and no matter the purpose of placement – they all mean one thing – someone has been here before you. You are not alone.
When you are hiking towards the summit of your Everest, expect to encounter some “weather.” It’s a sign that you are rising higher, and gaining ground. When ever you change your viewpoint and environment, the climate will change. Many people give up when they encounter the fogginess of uncertainty, or the clouds of bad times, or the rain of frustration. What they don’t realize is how close they were to the summit, and had they just followed their Cairns – reminders that they are on the right path – they would have successfully reached the top.
What measurable markers will you encounter that will indicate that you are on the right path? Examples of Cairns for your goals may be “my pants are looser -I am on the right track.” …. or “My website is gaining traffic – I am on the right path.” – or “My husband and I feel strong in our communication — I am on the right path”
Write down as many Cairns as you can that will tell you that you are traveling in the right direction. Save those thoughts for tomorrow as we continue our journey.
Hit the Heights!
Priscilla Hansen Mahoney
The Natural Business Leadership Guide