A young man named Tanner Greenwood currently works for me. He’s a fine young man—a hard worker with bright eyes and good intent. This week Tanner has had a hard, rotten, no good, very bad, good-for-nothing week.
It seemed like everything was going wrong for him. He had some car problems, and then some more car problems. The car locked up on the freeway. He had a couple personal issues that didn’t go well. He got a severe case of the flu. Just about everything this week seemed not to be going very well for Tanner. On top of all of that he wasn’t able to come into work this week, and I felt real concern for him.
Then today I pulled up in the parking lot just as Tanner arrived. I could tell from his swagger that he was down just a little bit. I also happened to know that Tanner is really a hard-core rock climber. I whimsically thought, “You know Tanner, we’re going to go up to the Outdoor Retailer Show.”
Then without much more thought, I had him jump in the car and we went up to the show. We got in and he just kind of hung out. It was a fairly good day, and then at the end of the day we went into The North Face booth, and low and behold, who was there, but Conrad Anker.
For those of you who don’t know him, he’s a world premier, high altitude, vertical-face climber. Anker is the individual who discovered Mallory’s body on Everest. He’s also the one who climbed the third step without the ladder. He’s the only one in the history of the world who has ever done that. He also just got done doing an epic climb in the Himalayas that was previously deemed impossible.
So there was Conrad. I recognized him, and went up and talked to him for a little bit and I told him about Tanner. He was so generous. He sat down and talked with Tanner, took a picture, and signed a poster. We were able to hear a couple stories, and ask him if he thought Mallory was able to make it up and over that third step on Everest before he died. (He said he didn’t believe so.)
We just talked and had a couple really delightful moments, and then as we were walking out of The North Face booth, up walks a few other very well-known climbers, including Russell Brice, the very well-known coordinator who is very good at coordinating and helping get people up Everest.
Tanner really enjoying the day and as we were driving back to the office, I heard him mumble under his breath—“The week was worth it!”
I’ve thought a lot about that statement.
I think we all get in these situations where there are horrible, miserable, rotten, good for nothing, hard days (and sometimes weeks). Often just when we get to the point of totally despair, we get these little wonderful cherry-on-top-of-the-dessert moments that end up making all of it worthwhile. Thank heavens for those little cherries that make the pain the misery that we have to go through, worth it.
The reality is that most of our business dealings and most of our day-to-day lives are somewhat mundane. There’s a lot of grinding it out.
Some people think being an entrepreneur is all sexy and hot and flashy all the time. The reality is that more often than not, it’s about slogging it out and just punching it out. Many times it’s just about enduring to those occasions where you get to have your picture taken with Conrad Anker.
My hat is off to you Tanner Greenwood. You’re a fine young man and I expect wonderful things for you in the future. I’m happy you had a wonderful day and that you had this experience.