Please Stay On The Trail

Gilbert - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on January 19, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I am a hiker. Well not in the traditional sense of the phrase. Although I do love the outdoors, and can see the beauty in nature and walks along trails etched out by many more experienced feet than my own. I believe I am a hiker.

I have chosen to take a hike and follow MY path. Or some may say I am following my calling. I have spent the past twenty plus years traveling the road that has been paved for me by the omnipresent “them”.

A quietly pressuring society, or a well-intended guidance counselor, or even my own definition of what my career should be. I have built a reputable, well-compensated-for, career that was on a trajectory to reach the ultimate goal – to become a CEO of a public company. Then I woke up one morning and realized those initials did not define me. So I left that life to take a hike and start my own company to help young business people find their way.

I believe there is a purpose for our being. A purpose in the structural makeup of an individual’s DNA, certainly mine, and a purpose and responsibility to the life I lead. But many choose to let others define what that purpose is. I did that for a long, long time even though my inner voice kept telling me to do something different.

In reality only I can truly define MY purpose, manage the coordinates of MY life, if I choose to call it MY life. And only I can hike the path that is uniquely MINE. No matter how I try to convince myself or how others try to convince me – what I do that defines me as an individual, as a leader, as brother, son, uncle, writer, partner and friend — as a person — can only be defined by how I choose my path. How I manage the twists and turns of the unknown and unseen triumphs and trials, and how willing I am to take the hike down the path of MY choosing.

Bringing with me my inner strength propels my life forward (the spiritual belief that I am given talents and I have the choice to use them wisely), my personal wisdom that can offer me unique insight to the person I am and can be, and the fortitude to seek the answers I believe are needed for ME. Not an interpretation of the media’s ideal, or that of a parent’s, or the largesse that is known as peer dynamic.

No I am a HIKER. I have chosen to travel down a trail that is meant for me alone. So I can use the talents I have to live my life with purpose. I believe if I am to live a life of purpose I must venture out every day and take a hike.