Every day, everyone at RMS gets together for a quick 5 minute meeting. We take turns hosting. Sharing articles, thoughts, and experiences that everyone can use to learn, grow and be just a little bit better than we were the day before. This daily "standup" has become a big part of who we are as a company and every day I look forward to learning from my peers here at RMS. This week, I wanted to share a talk given by our Director of Operations, Brandon Bieleski. Happy reading!
A few weeks ago I met a man named Rudy. Rudy is from a small village just north of Liverpool... England.... He's been in the United States for 32 years, 22 of them here in Washington, but you couldn't tell that from his accent. Rudy talks as if he's spent the whole of his 54 years in that small village. And yes, he prefers tea over coffee, which he reminded me of with uncanny frequency.
I met Rudy in the parking lot at the Paradise visitor's center in the Mt Rainier National Park. He was a tag along to our normal hiking group. That day, along with the rest of my hiking group, we would spend the next 5 hours making our way up to Camp Muir. We were all expecting a challenge -- our journey would start at a higher elevation than we'd even finished at on previous hikes. It would take us from sunshine and 70 degree temps into the clouds with 15 feet of visibility and a chill so sharp I would end up layering every piece of clothing I had in my pack.
The hike started on pavement. Easy.
We quickly began to incline, still on pavement. Less easy.
Then the pavement disappeared, leaving us on dirt and rock, still inclining. No longer easy.
As we hit snow and ice, our pace slowed -- dramatically. We went from the 'tight pack of five' we were while on pavement to being so spread out, we could hardly see each other at certain times.
We all began to tire.
Some simply from the 3-4 miles we had already covered on a slope reaching 50 degrees. Others from realizing what it's like to actually try to breathe at an elevation nearly two miles above sea level. Also maybe because of our 30-something-year-old's beer bellies, and random stages of physical fitness... Regardless, as we all became intimately acquainted with our unique (or possibly shared) personal limitations, Rudy, with all his worldly and aged life experience, shared words of encouragement.
"Just keep putting one foot in front of the other."
"Keep your eye on the prize."
"Doesn't matter how slow you go as long as you don't stop."
"You know, it always seems impossible until it's done."
Then I started in...
"Baby steps, Rudy!"
"It's a lot easier if you walk in someone else's foot prints."
Then Rudy again:
"Yeah, it's much more difficult to blaze your own trail, but I'm sure the view is better."
We exchanged a few more platitudes as we continued up the slope. And we all shared a laugh at how accurate and applicable all of those clichés really were in this situation.
Somewhere around hour 4, Rudy began to outpace me. I was tired and slowing. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other, taking baby steps, just kept going.... entertaining myself with the thought that I have my next company stand up topic.
Whether you're climbing a literal or proverbial mountain, those simple sayings that have become meaningless with cliché can start to provide meaning again -- if you're willing to reconsider them.
Knowledge and wisdom come with experience. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.