A couple weekends ago, we took the kids to northern Michigan for a fall-change-up and a much needed break from the work that goes along with launching a business, from scratch. So we loaded up the car and planned for a kayak adventure on the slow-moving and beautiful AuSable River. We got up early, dressed in layers, packed a picnic lunch, and headed to the river. The kids were SO excited and needless to say, Nick and I were too.

 

What an adventure it was!  We had the river to ourselves and saw a bald eagle, a deer crossing the river, a cat drinking from the river (with lots of ensuing giggles from the kiddos) and lots of waterfowl.  Oh, and a few scary spiders that hitched a ride in our Kayaks and provided some “entertainment” for the kids.  By “entertainment” I mean the kids freaking out and wildly slamming their paddles against the Kayak to smash anything crawling!

 

On the river, the first section was nice and slow and we could leisurely steer around obstacles.  The second section, well that was a bit more exciting and fast.  After a few sharp turns, and a close call with a tree branch that almost ended with a swim, I realized that steering wasn’t working.  I needed to actually paddle through the turns to go faster in order to break free from the current pulling me into the rocks and trees.  This seemed completely counter intuitive to me as all I wanted to do was slow down, but thanks to a tip from Nick, it actually worked!  After that close call, we had an amazing picnic lunch and rest of the trip while staying completely dry.

 

Reflecting later on our adventure and intense moments on the river, we explained to the kids that the river is much like life.  Life is an adventure and just because there’s a possibility of failure and getting wet, doesn’t mean that you should stay on shore. There will always be fallen trees, scary spiders or other obstacles along the path.  What’s important is how you navigate through them, react to them, get over them or move on that determines where you’ll go, how you’ll get there and how wet you get along the way.  And sometimes you’ll even need to adapt and go against your instincts in order to navigate those obstacles, but if you go at them head on, anything is possible!

 

Much like anything in life, starting a business, a new job, a new grade, handling a family health crisis or a loss; the obstacles are an opportunity to learn from, conquer, and grow.  And while we’re all focused on the destination, it’s really all the obstacles along the way that are the real adventure.  Plus, you need to make sure to have a little fun along the way too!