Tedfoot Pikes Peak.  Groggy eyes and all, my hiking partner and I met shortly after 4 AM for the short ride to the trail head.  By 4:30 AM, we found ourselves standing in a parking lot of nearly 100 people, ready to embark on their journey up the mountain.  Shocked with the crowd size and a bit irritated by the early morning noise, we hurried off to the beginning of the Barr Trail. It only took about fifteen minutes for us to find the quiet peace of the rocky mountain trail that we’d call home for the next seven hours.  Making our way to the tree line at 12,000 feet was fantastic- the moderate pace, great conversation, and the anticipation of what the high mountain would bring was what made it.  Shortly after reaching tree line, things changed; a slower pace, almost no conversation, and the realization of what the high mountain really was – a steep and exposed piece of rock. We’d agreed that anything beyond this point was “all or nothing”.  If one person decided to turn back, neither of us would reach the summit that day.  In short, it was time to work together-  Not physically but mentally.  We had to follow in each other’s footsteps and keep the mood positive.  A few times I’m sure our words to each other might not have sounded so positive but we knew that a small “kick in the butt” at times was needed to keep things going.  It’s odd how encouragement can come in different forms.  If a team’s goals are in alignment, the conversations don’t necessarily need to be “nice.” In contrast, they need to be honest, authentic, fact based, and laser focused on that common goal. Ted and CindyThe next few hours were laborious but the scenery was nothing short of spectacular.  As we reached the summit, we gave each other a quick hug, posed for a summit selfie, then sat on the summit post taking in the Colorado high plains.  We sat in agreement that the day was incredibly rewarding and we were grateful to have accomplished this together. As uncomfortable and tired as I was, I was happy.  As I reflect on that day, I think I’m often most happy when uncomfortable.  However, I’m not so happy sitting around in a comfortable environment waiting to be happy.  I’ve said it here before, just as our company’s President says all the time, “Get out of your comfort zone.  Nothing ever grows there.”

Live outside the box.

                                                                                                              If you would like to read more of Ted’s work, you can check it out on his blog here.