I recently found a travel journal and became fascinated by lessons I discovered within its pages: Come journey with me to the vast waters that border Minnesota, Wisconsin and Canada. I think we can learn:
One hour north of Ely, MN, off a gravel road called Echo Trail, Little Indian Sioux River meanders through lily-pad waters and past beaver houses to meet Loon Lake. It’s but a tiny part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a vast chain of lakes and rivers that divide Canada and the United States.
It was our fourth season to canoe for a week, testing our ability to paddle against 35 knot head winds, fight mosquitoes and stinging flies, drag our boat over beaver dams, portage up and down slippery trails, and sleep most night under the stars.
Reading my notations, I found helpful leadership and life lessons.
*Necessity IS the mother of creativity
A small piece of yellow rubber tubing from an exercise band replaced the lost showerhead on our solar shower water bag. I teased our friend, Tom, when he threw the band into his Duluth pack. Boy, was I wrong. What can you look at—with different eyes—that might solve a problem?
* If the wind is at your back, make the most of it
On the few occasions the fierce wind shifted, I discovered that a raised paddle blade, turned to catch wind, acted as a mini sail, driving us more quickly across the open water. Yes, it was also necessity! If you have momentum, how can you make more of it?
*Expended energy demands refueling to keep going
Ziploc bags of nuts, fruit and M&Ms became essential when we’d slow down. Even the birds that summer in these waters were constantly looking to refuel. During breeding season, a pair of loons can consume 2000 pounds of fish. That might also explain why I never caught any! Do you stop and refuel when your body needs it?
*Everything works better when the team is in synch
Our friends in the other canoe often seemed to move more quickly then we did. Then I realized: their paddle strokes were in synch. Plus, Tom sat in the bow and his stronger paddling made up for the times when Pam stopped paddling to steer the boat. Ummm—now that’s not only synchronization of action but also a synchronization of talent. Are you in synch with your team and playing to your strengths?
*You can only leave “home” if a champion stays behind
This trip would not have happened without my sister Susan, a champion of great ability and strength. She moved into our house to oversee the care of Mom, thus allowing us to journey into the wilderness. Who tends your home or workplace so you can venture forth into new territory?
Here’s wishing all a glorious upcoming Summer with time to explore, create, refuel, synchronize, and celebrate all the champions in our lives.
First published on: Meddle.it