My friend Amy G. recently visited Northern Vermont and we agreed to meet up in beautiful downtown Middlebury. Efficiently getting to Middlebury for me meant driving through a steep, meandering, mountain switchback road: the Appalachian Gap of Vermont’s Green Mountains. As I was out on errands prior to seeing Amy, I did not have to do a round trip over the Gap, merely my return trip.
Considering a drive over the ‘App Gap’ in early March requires a thorough weather briefing on both sides of the drive and a plan for whatever mountain weather awaits at the top of the mountain pass. It also requires steely nerves, deep breathing and confidence in the promise that one’s time on this planet is not yet up!
In my case, as I headed home, the weather in Middlebury was sunny, gorgeous and dry. I made great progress (record time!) as I confidently drove along straight roads and dry pavement. The wily, winding Route 17 loomed in the distance…It did not fail to live up to its winter reputation; light snow began to fall -and accumulate- as I began my ascent. I was lucky that there was no one behind me as I slowed my vehicle, an all-wheel drive equipped with snow tires, to prudently get through the rising blind curves…and eventually the descending, blind curves.
I will admit to proceeding along at a blazing 20mph for several miles and what seemed like an actual hour, though it was admittedly less than that.
I will admit to considering pulling over at one of the scenic views/controlled stops for vehicles that have lost control, but I concluded that
a) there was only one way off the mountain now: forward
b) I should keep going while there was no one behind me to add pressure.
I will admit to some gasping, minor bouts of terror, and a little bit of screaming.
Toward the end of the descent, I passed the Mad River Glen Ski Resort and my luck continued, as skiers leaving at that time were headed up the mountain in the opposite direction. When I arrived in Waitsfield, possibly several years older, the weather was once again sunny and bright; the roads dry.
As I finished my drive, it occurred to me that Vermonters hold two truths for living happily and successfully here:
1) To get anything done, you have to embrace the weather, and never allow it to
hold you back.
2) To get anyplace, you have to go ‘up and over.’ We are not named the ‘Green Mountain
State’ for nothing.
My trip home that day started easily, safely - in the comfort of a warm sun shining on me. Then I hit snowy, cloudy, slippery roads and could not see around the curves ahead. That’s not unlike our lives and our careers, no? I had moments when I doubted my ability to go forward up there, or to get off the road safely. I had moments when I wished my very able husband were along on the trip – to do the driving for me. Ultimately, I pushed on - I did the driving and got myself safely on the other side, to home.
If the road you are on takes an unexpected bend, or you are facing a serious challenge or transition in your life – career related, family-related or health-related, may you have the grace and stamina to see the path that will lead you too, up and over.
Regina Darmoni is a co-founder of Timely Transformations, a partnership dedicated to professional and personal development training for improved team and individual productivity and profitability. She is a former Fortune 100 tech & business executive who invites you to ‘like’ Timely Transformations on Facebook and/or visit our home page to see if we can be of service to you. An update to Regina’s book, ' Real Mentors Tell You This', is being released in the fall of 2014.