Right around the time Sleeping Bear Dunes was named by Good Morning America as “The Most Beautiful Place in America”, my best friend and I took our kids there for a fun day-trip while in Northern Michigan. We had a great picnic lunch at the base of the Dune and afterward, eagerly climbed the Dune, which was a lot of fun. While at the top of the dune people were commenting that we should continue on to see “the Dune Lakeshore” and the wonderful beach. Well, my 15 year old daughter, 12 year old son, and I were game. My friend and her son went back to the gift shop, where we planned to meet up with them shortly…after-all how far could it be?
So, off we went. Now remember, we were barefoot. We walked and climbed and walked and climbed, thinking we were surely almost there, when someone from another party exclaimed “we’re about a third of the way !” Uh-oh! Well, I blew it on the good-mom/leadership front. I had not done my homework. We started this trek without knowing how long the trip would be – 3-4 hours. We had no idea of the landscape – 3.5 miles of incredibly steep “sand” hills and valleys. We surely didn’t have proper provisions – 1/2 a small bottle of water and no sunscreen (we rationed capfuls of water!). And…we were not in proper gear – “no shoes” was perfect for sand dune climbing when the sun was cloud covered, but once it was full force and baking the sand, our feet were burning up! We pressed on…..
Just shy of our “beach” goal, my daughter burst into tears – thirsty, hot, tired, and defeated. She wanted to quit and go back. I agreed to let my son go to the beach, take some photos, and return, while I waited with my daughter…..for about 4 1/2 minutes….then I said, “this is a metaphor for life, I cannot let you get ‘almost all the way there’ and let you quit….we’re going”. And we did. When we reached the beach, we found that yes, in fact, it was gorgeous, and one of nature’s finest, and….fortunately for her, my daughter had had her bathing suit on under her clothes (when did she do that?). She proceeded to jump in. She gulped down some lake water and swam until she was cold! And then…we began our trek back.
Long story short, it was a long and grueling trip, the hills seemed twice as high and steep as they did the first time around, but we made it! It was an accomplishment.
Bottom-line: we were mentally and physically unprepared. Had we been prepared, it would have been a much different trip. Now that we know what we know, we’d like to go back sometime and experience it again…differently!
My lessons of the day: 1. You can’t quit just shy of your goal – persevere; 2.Whether in “life” or business, you need to know “where you’re going” to maximize the trip along the way, and for best goal attainment; and 3. What a great bonding experience to get out of your comfort zone…and accomplish something bigger, together; and 4. You are probably stronger than you think you are!
p.s. my friend and her son occupied themselves with new books, phone calls, and the beautiful scenery….thankfully and ironically, technology allowed me to better enjoy the nature….once I had text’d my friend while sitting on the beach, apologizing for our longer-than-expected trip, I could relax and enjoy Michigan’s lakeshore !