I have been getting back into running. So today I headed up to Point Reyes to run in the forest. And it was incredible. I have been to over 40 countries, lived in a dozen or so cities so I can tell you with some certainty that I live in one of the most gorgeous places on Earth: Marin County, Northern California.
Anyway, I had originally intended to head out for a 3-4 mile run since it has been a while since I did any long distances. I arrived at the visitor center and saw, on the map, that the run I wanted to do (to see the ocean) was 8.2 miles. I considered this for a minute and decided that if I took it easy, I could make it work. And so I set off.
This is when I started to notice something that made me think about business and, more specifically, some of things I have been going through recently. You see, the trail starts off extremely wide and easy going. It is not the road less traveled at this point. And while not exactly crowded, there were many people on the trail.
Somewhere around the 1.5 mile mark — consider this the 3 mile mark since you have to go back too — I noticed that the crowd had thinned considerably and that the trail was getting more and more narrow. This road was definitely less traveled.
At the 3 mile mark — or 6 for the round trip — the number of people had fallen off dramatically. The trail got thinner yet so that the vegetation was rubbing on my legs as I ran. This road was even less traveled.
The final mile to the ocean was blissful: very few people, a nice narrow forest trail with large trees towering around me like some massive out-door cathedral. And then I reached an opening in the trees and immediately felt a little sad for all the people who had turned back early. The view is amazing. Powerful cliffs high over the ocean with birds swooping and swirling in the wind. Waves crashing into the cliffs and on the beach far below. It is a truly beautiful place and a great place for reflection.
So I reflected. I thought on the road less traveled and what it means. Over the last year as I have taken on the most challenging project of my business life, the road has narrowed more than a little. There has been challenge after challenge. In business, those challenges are the narrowing and the steepening of the trail. They are what cause people to turn back. Which, for those of us who do not, is a good thing. Those challenges, that narrowing of the path, is like a filtration system. It is life testing you; measuring you to see if you are worthy of the next opportunity.
So could it be that, by staying on course and handling challenges in stride, you can separate yourself from the pack and become one of the very few that achieves outstanding success?
Don’t be one of the people who misses the fantastic view that exists on the other side of achievement.