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A Hiking Headspace

As someone who has always enjoyed hiking, I've been absolutely spoiled to be able to spend much of the last 2 years in Switzerland-- which has some of the most beautiful and accessible hiking routes in the world (here are some of my favorites!).

Last weekend, as I was hiking with a colleague, I was struck thinking about how many ways the mindset you need to bring for a hike to be successful and fun can translate to so many other everyday contexts. Here's a list I hope inspires you for any challenge you are facing:

  1. Pack a positive attitude. Complaining never made hiking-- or anything easier. In fact, it usually has the opposite effect! Before you head out, prepare yourself for the likelihood that things will not go exactly as planned and that there will be challenges along the way.

  2. Even when you can see the most direct route, you usually have to follow a meandering trail. So often, we know the exact outcome that we want -- but it's rare that you can get right to it. Even if you know the way, you often still have to go on the journey together. Trust the path will lead you there.

  3. Sometimes you have to go slower than you want. Many factors that are out of your control can end up affecting your pace. Don't worry about the speed, just keep going.

  4. When it's hard, focus on the next best step. When you encounter a challenge along the way, it's easy to get overwhelmed thinking of what might be further ahead. The best way forward is to think in terms of tiny next steps.

  5. Every now and then, pause and look around. Appreciate and celebrate how far you've gone. Sometimes you can get so focused on your goal-- you forget to look around and see how far you've come. Taking a moment to appreciate your progress can inspire you to go further.

  6. You're most at risk for hurting yourself in the moments where you don't think you need to be careful. When we know there is risk, we are often very intentional and thoughtful to take precautions to avoid harm. It's complacency that can be most risky-- that's when careless errors are usually made.

  7. Sometimes it's easiest to tread in the same tracks as someone before you. Sometimes it's better to cut your own path. You might not realize which is best until you start. It's less effort to follow where others have gone before, but sometimes after you start-- you can see a better way.

  8. No matter how far you've gone, you often feel tired when you know you are close to the end. I consistently find that no matter the distance, when I know I'm close to the end-- I start feeling ready to be done. For me, it's a huge reminder a lot of challenges are overcoming not physical challenges but mental ones. Be aware of how your beliefs are limiting you. I came across this in marathon training as well, and our wise coach would often add extra distance for us after we thought we reached the end to remind us we were strong enough to still keep going. Hope you enjoyed this list and love to hear how hiking has inspired you in life!


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