I have been getting back into running, so today I headed up to Point Reyes to run in the forest. It was incredible. I have travelled to over 40 countries and lived in around a dozen cities, so believe me when I tell you 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 had thinned considerably so I could feel the vegetation brushing against my legs as I ran. This road was even less traveled.
The final mile to the ocean was pure bliss. There were very few people on a peaceful narrow forest trail. While I ran, the large trees towered above me like a massive outdoor cathedral. When I reached an opening in the trees, I immediately felt a little sad for all the people who had turned back early. The view was breathtaking, with powerful cliffs high over the ocean accompanied by birds swooping and swirling in the wind. Waves crashed into the cliffs and on the beach far below. It was a truly beautiful place, perfect for some 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.