How Finding the Right Guide Can Take Your Career to New Heights

This past weekend, my son and I hiked Mt. Sherman in Colorado.  The summit sits at 14,036 feet and offers breathtaking views in every direction.

Having hiked several 14ers in the past, we knew that it would be a tough day, but this trip came with a twist – early winter weather. The trail that leads to the top of the mountain was now covered in snow. So, we hired Dalton of Sawatch Guides to guide us on our ascent. Dalton (pictured above) proved invaluable.

Here’s three things that Dalton brought to the expedition that immeasurably helped us.  As you read this, you will no doubt see the benefit of having a guide in your life.

1. Knew the path

From the moment we exited our vehicle, we were breaking trail.  Much of the route was covered in 6 inches or more of fresh snow, with some areas holding drifts of 24 inches or more. Of course, some areas were relatively barren, but that was because the snow had given way to the 40-60 mph winds that plagued most of our hike.  Had we not had someone with us who knew the route, we would have had to turn back.  I know this because I watched plenty of other hikers turnaround that day as they couldn’t figure out the best route to the top.

2. Taught us new skills

For much of the journey, my head was down to avoid the relentless winds that pelted us with small ice crystals.  My son and I were focused on stepping in the right spots, staying warm, and keeping ourselves moving forward.  Occasionally, Dalton would take a moment to share an insight.  He pointed out how the snow would sweep across the ridgeline and what areas to avoid as the threat of an avalanche grew.  He informed us about how to place our feet or best use trekking poles as we moved along.  And, arguably most importantly, he showed us how to walk along the ridgeline to avoid – as much as possible – the ongoing assault of the prevailing winds. These were the winds that caused most to turn back from their summit bid that day.

3. Provided us with confidence

Dalton also served as a great source of inspiration and confidence. He informed us that we were moving faster than he had anticipated, praised us for getting through some dicey spots, and let us know that we were doing well.  Moreover, he led us through the most difficult spots by modeling what he wanted us to do. Seeing him doing it well, caused us to see that we could do it, too. Here’s a picture to prove that we did.

I’m a firm believer that we can learn lessons from a wide-range of sources. Dalton reinforced that belief this weekend.  Call the person whatever you want – guide, coach, mentor, advisor, etc. (yes, I know there are differences) – we all need a Dalton in our lives.

Here’s my son, Clay, and I at the top!

Here are a few questions for you to consider:

  • When you think about your career, whom do you look to for advice and guidance?
  • We all like to think that we are creating a new path for ourselves and forging new ground, but the reality is that we aren’t. Others have gone before us.  Who has gone before you that can help you to navigate the path?
  • Who helps you to acquire new skills in throws of the day-to-day?
  • Few things go exactly as planned.  You are going to hit the occasional setback, miss an interim goal, or fall short at times. Do you have someone in your life who can provide you a needed boost of confidence when times get tough?

Let’s all take the time to thank the Daltons in our lives for helping to guide us to new heights.

Thanks, Dalton!