This past Sunday, I accompanied a few Elon Outdoors leaders and 17 other students on a yoga hike at Stone Mountain. The hike up the mountain was perfect – not too strenuous, plus we still had a lot of energy stored from the 2-hour drive. When we reached the top we had time to enjoy the breathtaking view and take pictures before starting our yoga session. As our exercise came to an end, we grabbed our things and prepared to begin our trek back down to the vans. We knew that we would be taking a different route, but did not anticipate that our trip down would be so challenging. After about a mile or so in the right direction, we came to a fork in our path and took only a brief moment before deciding which way we’d continue walking. It wasn’t long after making that decision that we realized that it wasn’t the best one. After several miles we had walked in a complete circle and would have to keep going until we returned to the fork, so that we could take the other trail. Along the way, we stopped to take more pictures (and for me to catch my breath) and were comforted by the fact that we were getting to see parts of the mountain that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. After a total of almost 8 miles, we were back at the vans and ready to hit the road back to Elon. When I got home, I took some time to reflect on the trip. I thought about how even though things didn’t go the way we expected, we still ended up where we wanted to be – just with some additional experience. I also realized that our hike was very similar to the journeys many people have in pursuit of a professional career.
According to Diane Hudson Burns, “spring-boarding is a term used to describe the method for realizing a career goal in a sequence of steps as opposed to immediate attainment. In order to achieve your ideal job you may have to begin in a different position and work your way (springboard) to the ideal”. Spring-boarding may include volunteering, continuing your education, accepting a subordinate position, or wandering until things start to make sense. It is the act of pursuing the nontraditional or taking an alternative route to reach a goal. Though it would be nice if every career choice had a linear path from degree to practice, that isn’t always the case.
Things won’t always go as planned, but you can bet that it will make you stronger and you’ll witness things along the way that you’ll be thankful for later. It’s important to just embrace the experience, take time to enjoy the unexpected surprises, and persevere until you reach your desired destination. And wear comfy shoes…that’s pretty much a good choice in any situation – mountain or workplace 🙂