Guiding Principles to Swimming Upstream

Happy Monday and I hope you all had as relaxing of a weekend as I did! For those of you not in the Truckee Meadows, we got DUMPED on with a fantastic rain storm. Over the course of the weekend the valley was pelted with refreshing goodness, as the Sierra Nevada’s loaded up with the white powdery stuff. Even on the way to work, I saw tons of cars headed up to the mountains equipped with their snow gear rather than armed with their tools for conquering the corporate ladder. I must admit, I was jealous…

This much needed rain is a welcome relief to our area, especially considering we haven’t had snow on the ground for more than a day since November. I don’t really understand how most of the country can be buried in the white fluff and yet world-renowned Tahoe is still struggling for its fair share :( One of the great things about living on the river is, well, you get to freaking live on the river!! A little over a year ago the Truckee decided to swell up quite significantly and flooded the area that I live in (non-destructive as it was – it was still an exciting time), and this morning I went out to find that yet again the waters were rising above normal levels. In this case, it was more a welcome relief than anything else. There’s finally hope for our area not being bone dry for the next four months.


While walking my furry companion along the raging Truckee, I saw a very small duck battling the onslaught of the current blasting downstream from the mountains. This brave little fowl was determined to reach shore, rain or shine (ironically), and away he went battling the crushing waves and performing gallantly, as any small, undersized duck may. Needless to say, I was impressed and it got me thinking about how I battle the own currents in my life… ah, the inspirations of nature!

  1. Tools – Any effort in life, big or small, requires that we be well-equipped with the appropriate tools for the job. Any of you mechanics know that there can be a huge difference between 5/8 and 7/16ths, and that it can essentially make or break the task at hand. The duck for example, is equipped with webbed feet (cheater), water repellant feathers, and a skeletal structure that allows swimming AND flying with ease. Now THAT is impressive. Since completing my MBA, I have found that my quest for the “appropriate toolkit” continues to go on, and the more well-equipped I become, the more questions and tools I pursue because I feel less equipped. Tool development is a key to overcoming obstacles later down the road that we cannot anticipate.
  2. Courage – The first step out the door can often be the most difficult, or in the case of the duck, the plunge into the raging river. Having the guts to begin that critical first piece can set the tone for the rest of the battle, and you want to set a great tone for something long and enduring. Life isn’t always peaches and cream, and it’s those who press on when times are tough and drag themselves out of the mud and grime to carry on towards the finish that end up coming out on top. They may not have the perfect photo finish, but they sure as heck make sure to cross that line in all its glory! There are plenty of limiters and opportunities in life to turn back when things get hairy, but there are far fewer opportunities to rise to greatness. We must take advantage of those times!
  3. Support Structure – Courage and tools without support really won’t get us very far. The little duckling was under the purview of his parental units, watching carefully from shore as he combated the river, just as we have our own support. Friends, mentors, family – our choices are nearly endless, but what we often don’t appreciate is the criticality of those around us. We would not get very far without having our support elements in balance. Just like a skyscraper clawing its way through the air with the scaffolding supporting it, our lives are a hectic maze of relationships that support and relationships that detract. It’s worth maintaining the positive support structure; the rest can go.

It is going to be a phenomenal week filled with triathlon training, enjoyment of the freshly watered nature, and President’s Day not too far behind. Make the most of your days, develop your toolbox, sharpen your courage, and reinforce your support.

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