Evening in Yosemite

Before I moved into leadership roles and went on to start a company I was an outdoor educator, leading groups of students on educational adventures in Yosemite National Park. Among participants, the night hike is a favorite evening activity. This involves taking a group of about 30 participants out into Yosemite Valley after dark, usually walking with just the stars and moon for light after your eyes adjust to the night.

The first time I took a group out for a night hike, I led my group as confidently as I could, marching further away from their cabins, eventually stopping in a clearing for some teaching activities. Afterward it was time to head back toward the cabins and I looked around, confused. I started off in one direction and then frantically realized that I wasn’t right and started looking around again, anxious to find the answer in the trees surrounding me.

Luckily at that moment, I came across another group being led by a more veteran educator. I quietly snuck up to him and asked for help, for him to point me in the right direction. To my surprise, he didn’t point through the woods, he pointed up. Then it all seemed so obvious, the iconic valley could easily guide my way back. I had been so overwhelmed in the moment, immersed in my environment, I had lost the perspective I needed to successfully get to where I needed to go.

As entrepreneurs, as leaders, as business executives we can often get caught up in the day to day. Anxiously moving from task to task while losing sight of our overall vision and path forward. We can become lost without really realizing it. Only through taking the time to step out of the hectic zone of the day to day can we regain our perspective and realize our best path forward.

To regain your perspective, perhaps you regularly meet with a mentor like the more experienced educator who guided my eyes up, maybe you schedule some time out of the day to reflect and strategize. For me, it is a weekly hike in the Bay Area that provides me with the solitude and reflection time that keeps me on course. Find whatever strategy works best for you, but find it, so that you can keep the perspective you need to succeed and not get lost in the woods.