Subway Directions

August 28th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

Subway Directions:

1. Look up

2. Look Down

3. Look up

4. Look Down

5. Look up

6. Look Down

7. Look up

Now I am not talking about the subway in New York, even though it would be a similar to these instructions: look up and look down. Indeed you have to look up and down often as you board, watch for your stop, and read the map. So indeed, those instructions are very appropriate and applicable for any rapid transit. However; the subway that I am speaking about is a hike in Southern Utah.

If you know me, you know that I love the metaphor of the mountain. Well, today I did a little canyoneering deep into a slot canyon. This hike is about 10 miles long, beautiful, and a perfect activity for my family. The Subway is probably my favorite hike in the entire world.

The first thing we did was look up to see the beauty of the canyon, then we looked down to ensure a good footing. Throughout the day we followed this sequence: 1. Look up to see the views. 2. Look down to see the obstacles that we are attempting to overcome as we are traversing down steep terrain. 3. Look up at the gorgeous canyon around us. 4. Look down very carefully as we swim underneath rocks, carefully traverse logs, or pass over a very difficult rock slide. The entire day was a sequence of zig zagging.

The mountains are a brilliant example of zig zagging, but I have to tell you that canyoneering is an even better zig zag analogy. Even though we are heading in a general direction, we are continually climbing over and up and around obstacles. We wouldn’t have even made it five minutes without killing ourselves if we hadn’t zig zagged through that day. Additionally there was a tremendous amount of looking up and down. The encouragement that I give to everyone, not only in their business, but also in their personal lives, is this. Look down. Make sure you’re on track and avoiding the big obstacles. But for heavens sake, take time to look up to enjoy the beautiful things around you.

We hit one point where there were these amazing dinosaur footprints on a huge slab of rock. But we had to look up to see that. If we had just been looking down at all the little obstacles and stumbling points, we would have completely missed the entire experience.

Now how ironic is it that often times the real joys in life comes from those tricky little traverses. There is one place called the choke stone, where we literally are swimming in freezing cold water. We have to dive underneath the water, turn sideways and go underneath a log and then continue this crazy, big-hairy swim. It was scary! Every time I do it, it makes me a little uncomfortable. Now that we’re done, what do you think my entire family is talking about? They’re recalling that tricky traverse.

Then at the end of the hike there is a steep climb. It takes a lot of endurance to climb out of that canyon. Indeed in life and in business traveling the path takes a lot of hard work.

Let me leave you with a little advice I’ve been contemplating on the hike. Look down, pay attention to the details, but don’t forget to look up and enjoy the beautiful things around you. Both in life and in business take time to savor your sweet experiences.

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