Another big bucket list item bit the dust the end of this past August. My very good friend, Gregg and I, have done a few big trips together the past few years and realized that rafting the Grand Canyon has been on both our lists. So off we went.
I have hiked into the Grand Canyon several times. I find the Canyon to be quite a mystical place and very excitedly jumped at the opportunity to float the Colorado. We became part of a group of 19 eager rafters on two big blue pontoon rafts. Being a kayaker, I wondered if I would feel hypocritical running the Canyon on monster rafts that were over 30 feet long - and motorized. After 15 minutes on the boats and the first big water under our belts, I was sold that this was absolutely the way to go!
Thinking about 8 days looking a water, rocks and sky did get me wondering about how long it would be before I said I had had enough. That never happened. The scenery was spectacular, the water ever changing and exciting and the company was a pleasure. Admittedly, the other thing I did wonder about was if I could survive 8 days with no cell phone, email or internet! I can imagine some of you breaking out in hives just reading this and considering yourself suffering through a similar fate. Of course, I spoke of it as a real nice option and wondered more how my friend Gregg would fare. Without exaggeration I remain solid in the story telling about how we barely thought about it the entire time on the river. Both of us live on the run and cell phones and internet keep us connected. The big question was if we could make it that long without connection. The answer was we did survive and the world went on to exist without our constant connection. Did I learn anything profound through this experience? After downloading the over 600 emails awaiting my return to civilization I found most to be junk mail and no others seemed to be screaming "where have you been?".
I often tell a story in our Leader as Coach workshop that suggests we will win at the leadership game when we get to the place that our people no longer need us but they want us. Maybe the experience of 8 days without contact proved that I may be a good leader? No one needed me while I was gone. Some did express missing me but none needed me.
So I move forward with the knowledge that I can resist that constant buzzing of my iPhone and be fully engaged and dedicated to the people I am with at the moment. No one is more important than you - the person standing right in front of me at this perfect moment.
Maybe others could benefit from an 8 day purge of a habit that becomes automatic and we miss the impact it may have on others around us. If you think it could be helpful for you then I would recommend you pick an adventure on your bucket list, sit back and enjoy!