Take time, be curious, climb the next hill, push others, help others win
Back in early November, my family and I had the opportunity to get away to Vermont for a few days. It was a much-needed break from the craziness in our lives. We skipped a hockey game and a basketball practice to make it happen. We didn’t wait for all of the stars to align. We didn’t wait until there were no signs of a practice, birthday parties or chores around the house. We prioritized it and made it happen. We prioritized having time where we could slow down, sleep in, spend time together and soak in the beauty of nature.
One morning, I decided to go for a run, and my little guy, Mick, decided to come with me on his bike. We headed down the road and went onto the VAST trail. It was beautiful out – the trail had its first evidence of winter with crunchy snow and a little ice, but not enough to slow us down. He had biked the day before with his father, and so he was so excited to show me the way to the “pond” (some flooded marshy land :-).
When we reached the pond, we stopped to enjoy it. And then we decided we would go further. Neither of us knew what was down the trail. It is a very hilly trail, and each time we would say, “OK, let’s go to the top of that next hill and then we’ll turn around and head back.” But each time we got to the top, we couldn’t help ourselves. We were so curious as to what we’d see if we just went up one more hill.
And so we would. And we did that again, and again, and again. As we went up one of the last hills, we came upon a mini waterfall that was even more beautiful than the “pond.” We stood there, looking at it. Mick was in awe. He told me several times how beautiful it was. He hadn’t seen it during his bike ride the day before. And he said he couldn’t wait to share it with Daddy, too.
It hit me. That is how life should be. This is what I am doing. At the top of the hill that I climbed the past few years is BY FAR the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen. On the surface, it feels like there couldn’t possibly be a view more beautiful. And yet I can’t help being curious as to what’s at the top of the next hill … and maybe the next. The energy and pain that it takes to run or bike up it is a bit daunting.
Yet I HAVE to go to the next hill, if for no other reason than for the fear there is something even more beautiful I might miss out on.
As we finally headed back, Mick was getting tired. He didn’t want to admit that he needed help. Yet I decided to give him some “heave-hos” a few times. I didn’t push him all the way up the hill. I just gave him enough of a push to get his momentum going so he could get up it himself. And then after one push, he said, “Momma, I love you so much.” My heart melted.
Over the last year, I haven’t been pushing you up hills. I’ve been quietly giving you mini pushes. Many times, I’m just pushing someone who is riding the bike right behind you. And you all have been flying up mountains. Your thoughts, notes and comments over the last few months made me realize it. And they make me feel as fulfilled as I did with my son last weekend.
Along our ride/run, I would often get out ahead of Mick. I would then run back to meet up with him. On the way back, though, he flew. Through icy patches, ruts and branches … he sailed back on that trail. At the end of the trail and our ride, he took the lead and finished ahead of me (not that it was a race). I couldn’t have been happier that he was the one who got the glory of finishing first. That is the ultimate feeling, not just as a parent but also as a leader.
I want you all to keep making the time for yourself, your family and your own growth. When you’ve climbed up a big hill, be curious about what’s over the next one. Look for the hidden beauty. Be sure to take time to enjoy it every time you find it. Push others … but let them do most of the work.
Help others win and it will be the best walk, run or ride you’ll ever take.
It is incredibly bittersweet to say “see you later” to you all.
I will miss the moments we win together, watching all of you grow and, most importantly, the deep friendships I’ve made. At the same time, I’m confident there’s another hill to climb and many others who need a little “heave-ho” to get them up the hill. Many of you have asked about “what’s next” … please connect and/or follow me on LinkedIn or Instagram so I can share that with you in the new year. I will be following you all as well – forever with PayFlex and all of you in my heart.
Much love, erin
CEO & President