So there I was hiking with my friend. We had been doing switchbacks for several hours, and were both very tired. We got to a point in the trail where we had two options. One was to veer up the left, where we would have to traverse over several large boulders. If we went up to the left, we would get to our destination in about an hour. If we followed the regular trail, we would get to our destination in about three or four. Normally, something like this would be a no brainer, as one hour, especially after hiking switchbacks all day, is much better than hiking three hours. The only problem is that the “shortcut” up to the left was over several large boulders. We decided to give it a go. After about half an hour, I realized I might be in way over my head. My friend was already about half a kilometer up ahead of me, almost out of earshot. I was getting really nervous and anxious, as every third or fourth boulder was wobbling when I stepped on it. I was afraid if I slipped, I might bust an ankle. I didn’t know what to do.
I had a friend once that was an electrical engineer at a very large company. They hired him for his engineering skills. He was well regarded as an electrical genius, as he was responsible for ironing out the bugs in the machines that they were developing. They were in a meeting, getting ready for the big boss to come from the east coast. They had to decide, as one of their major projects was behind schedule. There was one of two ways they could go. They were fairly divided on what to do, and nobody really wanted to make a choice for fear of repercussions from the big cheese.
Its’ interesting what happens when you make a decision. When you make a strong choice, and you are congruent about it, people will almost always follow your decision without question. It almost seems as if people would rather follow somebody who makes a decision that they disagree with rather than choose on their own. Great leaders throughout history have always said the secret of their leadership is the realization that people want a strong and congruent leader who will stick to his decision regardless of what it is.
So my friend was able to see the clear solution. He raised his hand, and offered it to the management at the meeting. They were impressed, and accepted his idea. When the boss came, and approved of the idea, naturally my friend got all the credit. His ability to make a decision and take responsibility for it launched his career up into management, with more responsibility, more exposure, and of course, more money.
And when I finally decided to go around, it was as if a giant weight was lifted off my shoulders. Even though I arrived at our campsite a full four hours after my friend, I had a great time hiking alone. It was something that I’ve never really done before. Hiking alone, out in the Sierra mountains, with only the beauty of nature around us. All because I was able to make a simple choice.