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It's the Climb

As you probably know, CEDIA Expo took place in Denver this September. The show was bustling with attendees and bristling with new technology. Nevertheless, my favorite CEDIA Expo memory came from an experience I had after the show. I stayed in Colorado for the weekend to spend some time in the mountains—specifically, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Hiking is perhaps my all-time favorite activity. Being in nature makes me feel alive and more connected to my true self. The day after CEDIA Expo concluded, two friends and I got on the road at 6 a.m. to be able to hit the Wild Basin trailhead by dawn. I was flying home that afternoon, so we knew it wouldn’t be an all-day adventure, but we figured we could at least reach the gorgeous Calypso Cascades.

During the two-and-a-half-hour journey, we encountered the breathtaking beauty of the area; we also had some struggles. Looking back, all of it can be likened to workplace lessons without stretching the metaphor too much. Here’s what I learned:

1. Fuel Up

Our biggest mistake that day was skipping breakfast. The trailhead is in a fairly remote area and we didn’t think about stopping to eat before it was too late. Yes, we made it to our destination, but we wouldn’t have felt so sluggish—and probably could have reached greater heights—had we simply taken the time to eat a small meal.

In business, you need to properly fuel yourself to reach your goals. You could take that literally and remind yourself to drink a lot of water and not skip lunch because you’re totally into your work. But the appeal can also be figurative: be sure to properly prepare for your day so you’re ready to fire on all cylinders.

2. The Early Bird Gets the Worm

We arrived at the park as the sun was rising around 7 a.m. The parking lot was fairly empty and we had most of the trail to ourselves—a rarity in a popular national park. On our way back down, we passed large, slow-moving groups coming the other way, and there were no spots left in the lot when we got back to the car. I’m ecstatic that we missed that chaos.

The business moral? If you ain’t first, you’re last. Don’t get lost in the crowd. Take the initiative to show up early and reap the rewards.

3. It’s the Climb

As we worked our way up Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascades, I couldn’t stop saying, “This is just so beautiful.” The fresh air, the lush greenery, the roar of the falls—I was in heaven. Our legs were sore, our lungs tired from the thin air, but none of that mattered because we were refreshing our souls.

Business can move at lightning speed, but sometimes you need to stop and enjoy the journey. On average, we spend 90,000 hours—one-third of our life!—at work. So stop, take a breath, and appreciate what you’ve accomplished.