We recently took a family trip to Zion National Park in Utah. I loved disconnecting from the tech world and delving deep into the natural world.
It’s amazing how expanses of red rock can teach leadership lessons. I experienced a few take-aways I plan to use now that I’ve returned to cell towers. Here is one of them.
Our time in the park was in December and the temps dipped below freezing at night. Being Southern California residents, the cold was an interesting change.
One of my favorite outdoor activities in the park isn’t a formal hike, but rather a trek along a riverbed that heads into a small canyon. Especially during the winter season, this walk is a feast for the eyes and an enjoyable challenge for the body.
The farther one goes into the canyon, the more fancy footwork is required to prevent from slipping into the frozen water pools that hug the base of large boulders and red rock walls.
We came upon a particular point where the canyon wall protruded over a wide pool of icy water. The only way forward was to press into the canyon wall and move quickly to keep momentum forward to prevent slipping into the water.
The issue with that plan was the backpack I was wearing, throwing off my center of mass. Basic physics said I was headed for a cold dip if I attempted to continue forward.
My husband quickly determined what to do. Being quite coordinated, he moved past the pressure point with ease and reached his hand back for our 4-year-old son, who also nimbly made the passage.
After making sure our boy was secure he reached his hand back across the boulder for me. It was a no-brainer for me to take it.
As I leaned into my husband’s hand and shimmied around the large protruding boulder to avoid the freezing water inches away, a realization struck me: the level of comfort I felt from knowing my husband was with me and could be trusted, even when taking on an uncertain endeavor, was empowering.
I knew I was supported and it allowed me to feel confident in moving forward despite my brain shooting off warning signals that the angle was too sharp to make it without getting an ice water dousing.
When I reached the other side of the boulder still dry, I immediately knew I wanted to not only enjoy those feelings of empowerment, security, protection, and the thrill of success in my professional environment, but to also pass them along to others.
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t?
Here’s the reality - it is possible. No title required.
As a leader (official or not), I am charged to provide security and empowerment to those who come behind me by:
Following those in whom I trust
Accepting help from those I choose to follow
Turning around and extending my hand to those who have not yet made the passage
Find those who are headed in the same direction as your goals. Connect with them. Accept their guidance. Pass it on. Empower.