Lost on a mountain in the dark...
“WHERE IS THE PATH, IT’S FREEZING? WE ARE PROPERLY LOST… OK NOW I AM SCARED!”
It was about 8pm and it was pitch black and my training buddy and I were somewhere on Snowdon.
We had been hiking since first light doing a serious ultra-session and we were lost as a goose in a snowstorm. At some point we had accidentally crossed from a rough track up onto a stream bed and try as we might we could not re-find the path. It was raining and I was not wearing waterproof trousers so I was starting to get quite cold. We were exposed. Mountains are dangerous places and I knew that this could not go on for ever without becoming more serious.
In my mind, as we were trying to reach the summit, I had believed that if we kept climbing, we would eventually get to the top. The problem is, what I didn’t realise in my inexperience, is that mountains just don’t work like that.
It became quite clear as the path disappeared completely and we were just climbing up big boulders and clambering over scree that we were way off track. We gave up any illusion that we would make the summit again and started to head downwards. Our pride was dented but more than anything we were feeling very unsure of what was going to happen. It was quite hard to keep focused and remain calm. We re-assured one another and tried to keep spirits up but we were both pretty worried.
My nerves in tatters and starting to shiver we re-found the path thank god for that!
It only took about 40 minutes to run down to the hostel at the bottom from where we hitchhiked to a nearby pub. Wow what a relief and what a luxury to be warm and have a beer in our hands and some food ordered!
I wanted to share this story as it makes for a relevant allegory for where a lot of us find ourselves in the middle of our careers. It really is like being lost half-way up a mountain. How do we gain clarity on our direction?
How do we ensure we are on the right track?
How do we know we are not exerting ourselves and putting in loads of effort only to find ourselves lost and confused?
We all want re-assurance we are doing the right thing, heading towards something meaningful and fruitful. So, this is my question really. Have you checked in with yourself properly lately? Have you got out a pen and paper and looked inward and reflected on what you really want, where you are headed and if you need to change direction, if you need to find a better more direct path to your destination?
If you feel you are actually climbing up a river bed and not a path. If you would like a ‘conversation with a training buddy’, or just to chat through your thoughts and feelings about your career direction, please reach out to me. If you re lacking clarity in your direction it might be time for some contemplation.