I am currently on vacation with my husband in Palm Springs, California. Yesterday while my hubby decided to go Longboarding, I decided to do a 4-mile hike up and down one of the local mountains. The first half of the hike was pretty tough – it was 1.5 miles straight up a vertical incline with short, sharp switchbacks. When I reached the top, I was pretty pleased with myself – my phone told me I had climbed 80 flights of stairs and that I had completed the incline in 45 minutes. The hike down around the side of the mountain was much more comfortable – the terrain still had short, sharp switchbacks, but the very nature of it being downhill made for a much easier hike.
Forty-five minutes later, when I reached the bottom of the mountain and discovered that the trailhead abruptly ended in front of an 8-foot barbwire fence, which seemed to stretch on for miles. The barbwire fencing had a sign indicating that the land beyond the wall was private property and owned by the California government for flood control.
Beyond the fencing, and just a few streets away was our condo.
I stared at the fencing and then back up at the mountain in dismay. Did I really have to hike back up the mountain and then have to climb down the other side just because of an 8-foot barbwire fence? And why was there a well-marked trail indicating to hike this way if you couldn’t get past the fence?
Recognizing that I didn’t have enough water with me to reclimb the mountain, I decided to scale the barbwire fence. Several failed attempts later, and after a great deal of muttering under my breath, I managed to lob myself over the fence relatively unscathed. I was euphoric and silently singing praises to myself for being so resourceful.
I walked past the private property and down a newly tarmacked road to discover that I was walking in a private gated community that would, at some point, become a housing development. As I walked past all the vacant lots, I spied a 10-foot electric gate at the end of the road. I groaned. There was not a person in sight who operated the gate, and as I reached the gate, I discovered there was no chance of opening it or climbing over it.
I discovered a 5-foot cement wall with tall box hedging surrounding it on the other side. Determined not to give up, I catapulted myself up and over the cement wall and landed in the hedging on the other side. I had a few minor scratches and cuts on my hand, but overall, I was unscathed.
As I walked back to our condo, I realized that my hiking adventure is an excellent metaphor for our goals.
We often set goals and tactics to realize our ambitions; however, we usually don’t anticipate the bumps and roadblocks (and 8-foot barbwire fences!) that come up along the way. Setbacks will happen, and that is okay. The critical thing to realize is that it is just a setback – not a reason or an excuse to quit. Pivot and adapt to the situation, and you will be bound to realize your goals.