Develop A Trail Mindset

Develop A Trail Mindset

Avatarwp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-96 photo by Brian Schrock - Senior Project Manager

Thanks to an airport layover during some work travel, I randomly discovered a book that would have a tremendous impact on my life, A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson.  After reading it, I became consumed with The Appalachian Trail.  I read dozens of additional books, followed hiker blogs, and eventually began using vacation time over the past several years section hiking the trail with one of my closest friends.

One of the things you realize while hiking the Appalachian Trail is that it is VERY long.  Almost 2,200 miles through 14 states from Georgia to Maine.  It can be staggering to consider how many miles lie ahead but setting daily milestones or goals can help break the trail up into smaller, more accomplishable tasks. 

Typically, I start each hiking day scouring my trail guidebook while drinking some bad instant coffee I made over a backpacking stove with water filtered from a stream somewhere on the trail.  During this time, I consider the terrain I will encounter that day.  What views await me? What mountains will I conquer? Will I get to flip the page in my guidebook? It’s the little wins that happen every day that can turn the most brutal leg burning climb into a joyful victory. While the miles seem never ending and extremely daunting, I’m glad I still have so many more to complete on the trail. It means that I still have a lot left to see!

Brian on his journey

What views await me? What mountains will I conquer? Will I get to flip the page in my guidebook?

I get a huge feeling of satisfaction when I take the last uphill step on throbbing feet and exhausted legs to reach a viewpoint.  Once there, the mountains seem to go on forever.  I can see what lies ahead and I know I am going to get there – somehow, someway.  It’s these moments when you get to see the big picture.  Sitting on the mountaintop, I can look back at where I have been and look ahead to where I am going.  The entire experience inspires me to continue pushing forward while still appreciating what got me where I am and the lessons learned along the way.  

I strive to bring my “trail mindset” with me in my professional life.  No matter how daunting the next climb or task, I know that when I get through it the sky will clear and I’ll get to take in the view atop another mountain.  I just need to be prepared and continue forward.

Throughout my journeys, I’ve learned several lessons that help me better understand my job in real estate development, or any career:

Find the daily wins, anticipate and accept challenges, prepare for what lies ahead, appreciate every step taken in the overall big picture, celebrate everything you can, and keep pushing forward.  Hike your hike!