3 Life Lessons From the Tetons

I took the week off from work for a trip to Jackson Hole and an amazing few days hiking in Grand Teton National Park.

As I reflected on the week, the experience reminded me of some key life lessons and I wanted to share a few of them with you today.

The hour before the sun rises is the magical hour.

It’s called civil twilight.

The sky is starting to lighten as the sun is preparing to crest the horizon. It creates amazing views of the mountains.

It’s peaceful.
It’s quiet.

While most of the world is sleeping, you are treated to a spectacular light show.

The magical hour happens at home, too.

It’s the hour before your kids wake up.
Before your partner wakes up.
Before people are emailing you, texting you, or asking anything of you.

When you have the house all to yourself.

It’s peaceful.
It’s quiet.
It’s time just for you.

To enjoy the simple things.
A delicious cup of coffee.
Time to exercise. To journal. Or to meditate.

The magical hour.
Savor it.

Be prepared. And be ready to adjust. Control is an illusion.

You check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.

You map the route and pack enough water and food for the planned hike.

You’re ready.

Until things change, as they often do in the mountains.

The weather can change on a dime.
Your shoelace could break.
You could accidentally get off trail.
Your hike could take longer than planned for many reasons.

So be prepared to pivot if things don’t go as planned. Remember the surfer riding the waves, with no illusion of being able to control the ocean.

Why is it that we think we can control the people or circumstances in our life?

The only thing we are truly in control of is how we respond to the people and events in our life.

Can we influence them by our words or actions?
Yes, at times we can.

But control is an illusion, and trying to micromanage your kids or your spouse or your coworkers in order to try to control the outcome is exhausting at best, and most often futile.

So be prepared, yes, but also be ready to adjust. Like the surfer riding the waves.

The most amazing experiences happen when you are alert and open to them but not looking too hard.

One of my favorite things about Jackson Hole is the wildlife sightings.

On our first trip there two years ago, we saw moose, pronghorns (a cousin to the antelope), mule deer, a bald eagle, marmots and a variety of small critters. There is a large elk refuge in Jackson Hole so I was quite disappointed that we never saw an elk during our first trip. This trip out I learned that the elk migrate to Yellowstone in the summer months, returning for the winter months.

This time I was really focused on seeing more of the wildlife. I had my eyes peeled for animals the moment we arrived. (If you didn’t know, the Jackson Airport is literally inside the Grand Teton National Park).

Animal sightings on the first day?

We got up early the second day (to catch the civil twilight hour!) and as we were driving trough the park in the dark, several large animals ran across the road right in front of our car. We thought it was moose at first, and we stopped the car to watch them. When we got a better look, we saw it was four majestic elk!

In the first few minutes of our day, while we were on our way to catch the sunrise at a scenic location, we had an awesome wild animal sighting.

And I noticed as we went through the week that whenever I was actively “looking” for wild animals, I never saw any.

But when I was going about my day focused on other things, they just appeared unexpectedly.

Besides the four elk we saw that morning, we had two moose sightings, one mule deer stag, two pronghorn sightings, a couple of marmots and many furry little creatures. No bear sightings, thankfully, although I’d have love to have seen a bear … from the safety of my car!

In life, as in the Tetons, the most amazing opportunities come about when we’re open to them, but not really looking for them.

My last few jobs have happened this way – when I wasn’t really looking for a change but an exciting new opportunity presented itself.

Actually, I met my husband that way, too!

So I really took this lesson to heart after my week in the Tetons.

Stop striving so hard for the things that you want.
Just show up present and focused on what is at hand, but be open to new possibilities.

You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, at the exact right pace. And your next opportunity will show up at the exact right time for you.

Trust the universe.

Work hard and prepare, and be good at what you’re doing now, for sure.

But let go of the reigns (and the illusion of control!) and trust that your next opportunity will find YOU.

What are your favorite life lessons you learned on vacation or any other adventure? I’d love to hear them! Simply reply to this email to share them.

Want help capturing more of the magical hour in your life? Help letting go of the illusion of control and learning to surf the waves? Want to find more happiness exactly where you are now?

I can help you with that!

Here’s to letting go of the reigns and embracing what is,