We sometimes learn the most important life lessons in situations we least expect. More often than not, these same life lessons can be applied to multiple aspects of our lives, including our careers.
When Jennifer Pharr Davis, an author and record-breaking thru-hiker, came to speak to the MP&F staff, it was clear that her takeaways from her time on the Appalachian Trail could relate to our personal lives and even business.

“We can’t control our environment or other people; however, we can control how we respond to it or them, in both the good times and bad,” she said. The Appalachian Trail threw a lot of curve balls at Jennifer, with tough terrain and a variety of weather conditions. She realized Mother Nature didn’t owe her anything. She was not entitled to success on the trail.

“Be willing to take a few steps backward to then be able to move forward,” she said. Jennifer had severe shin splints in both legs at one point during her hike. In order to keep going, she had to hike backward when going downhill to reduce the pain.

“You can do so much more than you think you can. Find your best rather than trying to be the best,” she said.

Jennifer learned these life lessons through her experiences on the trail, which she completed for the first time when she was just 21 years old. Jennifer broke the record for the fastest hike of the 2,175-mile trail on her third thru-hike, completing it in 46 days, 10 hours and 11 minutes. That broke the previous record by a full 24 hours. To date, Jennifer has hiked 12,000 miles on six continents. She has written multiple books on her experiences and has spoken all around the country.

Her trail lessons can be used in business. Often, we can’t control our work environment. It is how we react to a given situation that makes all the difference. Just as the trail did not owe Jennifer anything, the world doesn’t owe us a thing. We must go out and earn it on our own.

That may mean a willingness to take a few steps backward before moving forward. Even the steps backward can help us get to our goal of being the best version of ourselves.

Thank you, Jennifer, for coming in to speak to us. You were truly an inspiration to our staff. Make sure to check out her website and blog at http://blueridgehikingco.com/.