Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Taking Time to Recharge Produces Higher Value Results

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’ve just returned home from a great trip to Utah with my family.  After the first three days of being away from home, I wasn't the least bit relaxed.  Half way through our trip and through a very bazaar circumstance, there was a moment when I felt as if I’d traveled through a zone from feeling stressed to feeling relaxed.  I've never experienced this kind of stress relief before but I did last week. 

Why did I post a picture of the handlebars on my mountain bike?  I know you can't read it in this photo but in the red circle that is the top of the stem that holds the handlebars, there is a simple saying inscribed.  It reads like this:  "All Work and No Play is No Fun at All"

Yes, I know that picking up philosophy from the manufacturer of my mountain bike is like picking up philosophy from a Bazooka Bubble Gum comic but the saying works for me and I've been reading it for years as I've ridden this bike in all kinds of adrenaline producing settings.

You won’t believe this and I promise to not embellish.  I had just ridden up a very long ski lift at the Park City Mountain Resort with my mountain bike riding on the chair in front of me.  As I got closer to the top of the lift, I could feel the excitement of the experience I was just about to have bubbling up inside me.

I was about to embark on a 6 mile mountain bike ride on trails I’d never before ridden.  I got off the lift, the lift operator who had taken my bike off the lift just before I got off of my chair released his grip on my bike and put it in my hands.  The ride was about to begin and I couldn't wait.  I rolled down the ski lift platform to meet my first trail of the day.  The trail quickly entered the forest and left the open spaces I’m used to seeing as a skier on open ski runs. 

It was a single track trail with a mixture of some rocks and mostly dirt.  To the average person, the fact that I was on dirt trails probably means very little.  If you’ve ridden a mountain bike in Colorado where I’m from, you know that there is a reason that our mountains are called the Rocky Mountains.  Trails in most parts of Colorado where I’ve ridden are rocks and gravel with very little dirt.  Falling on Colorado trails generally means losing blood and skin on the mountain.

The trail on the Park City Mountain Resort ski area was soft and initially forgiving.  That is until I got rolling and heard what sounded like a piece of hydraulic equipment releasing air.  I looked around and the only thing around me was a mix of aspen trees, towering evergreens and blooming flowers on the forest floor.  The sound I heard was the sound of my rear tire releasing 100% of its air. For the first time in a decade, I had a flat tire on my mountain bike and for the first time, my tire repair bag wasn't with me.  I forgot to pack this all-important piece of biking equipment.

Fortunately, I was less than ½ of a mile down my first trail so I pushed the bike back up the trail and caught the chair lift down.  I’d never ridden a chairlift down before.  This seemed like a backwards experience but I was fortunate to not have been 3 miles into a 6 mile ride or I would have been hiking down the mountain with my wounded bike at my side.

It took an hour or so to find a bike shop in Park City to get a new inner tube.  With my all-day pass in hand, I made my way back to the same lift I’d ridden up the mountain 2 hours before and felt the anticipation of high speed and adrenaline in my near-future once again.

The same lift operator who unloaded my bike the first time and who ushered me onto my downhill chair with a wounded bike an hour before greeted me with a huge smile and the wish of better luck than I had on the first ride.

I rolled down the ski lift platform and started rolling down the same trail that handed me a flat tire earlier in the day.  Now, the fun began.

Most of the ski areas that I’ve mountain biked in the past had very clear trail markings.  Not so at Park City.  Yes, there were trail signs but what do you do with a sign that says “Ron’s Trail” or “Susie’s Trail”?  Those personalized trail names don’t tell me if I’m headed towards Park City, Deer Valley or The Canyons.  Of course, I chose the wrong trail.

I quickly lost the 6 mile trail I’d decided to ride and ended up on a trail that rolled with no outlet for 11 miles and ended at The Canyon’s Resort.  The best laid plans…So much for my plans.  

It was about ½ way through this ride when I hit that wall I mentioned in the first paragraph of this story.  It wasn't a real wall of any kind but something happened inside me where I was able to release stress and relax.

Maybe I should explain relaxation from my perspective.  I’ve been accused of being a “thrill seeking adrenaline junkie” in the past by a PhD psychologist.  When those words were spoken in my direction, I responded by asking what the big deal was?  What does it matter if I’m a “thrill seeking adrenaline junkie”?  The psychologist didn't have a response that I can remember today but I've always remembered his words.

At least the psychologist was right.  It was at the half way point on this long ride that I’d experienced enough speed, risk and adrenaline that something happened to allow me to leave the mountain relaxed.  That evening in the hot tub with my wife, I felt relaxed for the first time on our family vacation. 

Who cares about my mountain biking adventure? 

Perhaps nobody cares other than me but I’m now ready for several months of hard work to fill my client’s difficult to fill security jobs, several months of assisting security resume writing clients to reach new levels of success with their resumes and several months to coach security professionals to be what they were built to be.

Next up this coming week and next week is the 4th annual Adult Hockey School with Colorado College coaches and players.  More hard work, competition, learning and hopefully improvement to my adult hockey game!

What does this job have to do with security recruiting, security jobs, security resumes or security career coaching?  Nothing whatsoever!  I started to write a different blog and this is what landed on the screen in front of me.  Additionally, a CISO whom I recruited several years ago told me to lighten up in my blog from time-to-time and write about me so those who read my blog could better understand who writes the Security Recruiter Blog.  

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