Do You Enjoy Your Career Hike?

This week I’ve been a chaperone for a group of young men on a week long camping adventure. We’re at a cabin, although all the young men are sleeping up the hill in a teepee (which is huge, and awesome).

On Tuesday we went on a hike, up to an elevation of around 8,500 feet (maybe a bit higher). The views were remarkable, of course. But my views during the walking part of the hike… well, that’s a different story.  Mostly all I saw was this:


That is not a beautiful view of the mountains, hills, reservoirs, etc. around us. That is a view of where my next step would be.

I know it’s been 2.5 years since I broke my ankle, but it’s still not the same. The ligaments are tight. And I was worried about slipping on all the loose rock, especially on the steep declines. So, my focus was on THE GROUND.

Every once in a while I forced myself to stop and look around. Whether it was through the forest trees for miles to the next mountains or wherever, I would pause, enjoy the scenery, soak it in, and then move forward. I stopped, as they say, to smell the roses.

That hike, with about a 2,000 foot elevation change and I think about four miles roundtrip, was a couple of days ago. I’m still pretty sore from it (out of shape, I am), and the thought of sucking thin mountain air, huffing and puffing, is becoming a distant memory. But the parallel of my career and that hike are fresh on my mind.

Here’s my lesson: Many times in my career I found myself staring at, focusing on, the ground right under my feet. This meeting I had to prepare for, that report I had to create, this overtime I had to put in, or that trip I had to go on.

Rarely did I take the chance and think about the AMAZING career I was blessed to live.

I had the awesome opportunities to work with some truly spectacular people. That was just as good as some of the scenery I saw on my hike. I met people who were smart, kind, compassionate, passionate, and who excelled in what they chose to do.

I had the awesome opportunities to impact others, which is a blessing that I know many people don’t get. In my first real career job I don’t think my work impacted others much. But since starting JibberJobber I’ve been fortunate to be involved in helping people during a truly difficult time in their lives.

I had the awesome opportunities to learn and grow, personally and professionally. I remember in school I wanted to major in Spanish because I wanted to “learn it once and be done learning.” But throughout my career I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to learn many different things, from interpersonal skills to how to build and grow income streams to how to speak from on stage to how to manage software projects and products. How freaking awesome!

These are three examples of the beautiful scenery of my own career hike. But it’s easy to not take time to see this scenery. As I worry about the mundane things I need to do daily, or the routines that were once exciting but now I take them for granted, it’s easy to forget to pause and reflect on this dream I’ve been living.

I know that you, too, have awesomeness in your own career hike. Even if you are in transition right now, you can still reflect back on some awesome times, some crazy cool opportunities, and enjoy them. And you can know that you will have many more to come.

Let’s take some time and continually enjoy the journey instead of just looking down, only intent on the destination. If I could go back 25 years and speak to a younger Jason, this would be my advice: Enjoy the journey while you get to be on it.