Every year for our anniversary in August Gracie & I plan a getaway, just the two of us, to escape the distractions & chaos that come with normal day to day life. It is the little things in life that we get the most enjoyment out of. Things we get to experience within each other’s companionship like finding cool downtown's to explore the little shops, and boutiques they have to offer. We love finding good little coffee spots, experiencing new restaurants, finding opportunities to enjoy nature, and if we stumble upon a little ice cream along the way then we are in heaven. Because this adventure took place 3 years ago Gracie at the time sold Harley Davidson motorcycles, which means taking more than two days off at the height of riding season was nearly impossible. While we had to work with a limited amount of time we make these trips a priority, and so the planning began. The objective was to ride our Harley’s around the thumb of Michigan to enjoy the little things. However, we could have never imagined the big picture life lessons that would ensue from our voyage.
One of Gracie’s many strengths that she brings to our business, and personal lives is ability to strategically plan. Throughout our relationship I have relied on this ability to set her sights on the goal, in order to lead our family around any obstacles to reach our destination. From the word go she is quick to start mapping out the specifics whether it has been party planning, looking for houses, buying new vehicles, or planning vacations. After doing her research we decided to ride along the thumb of Michigan. Gracie had scoured the weather reports,and it was looking to be a great forecast until about a week before we were set to leave. Suddenly the proverbial winds had shifted bringing rain into our forecast.
In life when you are planning for sunshine, but receive rain instead you can: 1. Decide to pack it in and call it a day accepting defeat. Or 2. You can make the decision to accept what cannot be controlled in order to plan around the adversity. Determined not to accept defeat Gracie doubled down and planned a route for us to take that, while not convenient to our original plans, if executed properly would keep us dry on our journey. There was plenty of risk involved in the new plan because instead of taking off on the bikes as the sun was setting on Tuesday morning we were now pulling out of the driveway as the sun was going down on Monday evening. We were embarking on a 165 mile trip mostly through back country roads in the dark of night. The dangers that presented themselves were many as any sort of animal can cross our path in the blink of an eye. We arrived at our destination around 12:30 in the morning. This was our first long trip on the bikes through the dark, and I had a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Outside of a few deer that we managed to avoid the worst adversity we faced was riding through about 30 miles of intense bug colonies. Yeah laugh now, but there are few things more disgusting than realizing the liquid dripping off your helmet is actually bug juices and not rain.
On Tuesday we faced a long day of riding to cut back across to the East coast of the state in order to get us to our original planned route. Because there were not many towns along the path we did not get any opportunities to stop and explore. However, I was enthralled with the serenity of the open road as I took in my surroundings. We passed beautiful homes, and dilapidated trailers. We saw hawks flying above our head, several golf courses, and bodies of water etc. As we rode the dark clouds seemed to quickly chase behind us, however we were able to stay dry. After a couple of hours of riding we finally made it to the coast in East Tawas, and stopped at a favorite little restaurant of ours Augie’s On the Bay. While inside enjoying our meals the dark clouds that had followed us finally caught up unleashing what can only be described as a monsoon that lasted all of 10 minutes. If we would have been on the road it would not only have been down right miserable, but it would have been near impossible to ride through. It was unbelievable to me that my wife, the new-found meteorologist, had predicted the weather pattern through her extensive research keeping us dry through an entire trip.
Though we stayed dry the next stretch of the trip presented us with the most adversity. Riding along the coast the wind ripped angrily at us as if attempting to blow us off our course. It was brutal, and I could tell we were both growing weary. We were about an hour away from our destination for the evening when the single lane road split into two lanes, and we got over to pass a trailer that had been kicking rocks towards us for the last couple miles. I was about halfway past the trailer when I kicked my bike into the next gear, and heard a frightening sound of a crucial part coming loose. When I looked down I discovered that my gear shifter came loose from the control arm leaving me helpless to shift. After we safely passed the trailer I signaled to Gracie that we needed to pull into a nearby parking lot. It was then that Gracie kicked into a whole other level of badassery as she refused to let anything stand in the way of ruining our plans. She called into the service department at her dealership to find out how to fix the problem. Then she rode a mile into the next town to a hardware store to buy the bolt that we needed. When she came back we fixed the problem, and got back on the road to our destination.
Though it was an exhausting day, and the bike issue caused us to lose an hour I still felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment. After all we had powered through the brutal winds, and long stretches of the middle of no where. We overcame the adversity of my bike breaking down, and by doing so gained new confidence.
When we settled into our hotel I could sense that something was not right with Gracie. She seemed very down, and I was not quite prepared for her response when I asked her what was wrong. She looked up at me as her eyes welled up in tears. I felt completely helpless as she described to me her perspective of the day. What I did not realize while I was carrying on from my view was she was seeing the world from a different lens. To her we rode all day without any opportunity to stop, and enjoy the downtown scenes that we love. There were zero boutiques to stop into, we did not see any cute little place for coffee, my bike broke down and we lost an hour, the wind was brutal, our butts were sore from the long hours of riding, and when we stopped for ice cream we were told the bathrooms were not for public use so we left. This was not turning out the way she had expected, and so she was experiencing major disappointment. In my perspective this was an amazing day because of the beautiful strong-willed women in front of me, and now I had the opportunity to lift her up at a vulnerable moment. So I explained to her my point of view. After all we were supposed to get drenched with rain, yet because of her we stayed dry. Yes my bike broke down, but because of her we fixed it. The ride was long, however we were in position to experience the trip around the thumb as planned. At the end of the day it was all because of her! That night we were able to hit the reset button by walking the beach, and enjoying a beautiful sunset. Later on we found a little restaurant downtown where we met some pretty fantastic people, and enjoyed some great conversation.
The next day our trip was absolutely breathtaking! If you ride a motorcycle, and have the opportunity to ride the thumb of Michigan in the summer I would highly recommend it. It was everything that we had envisioned when we were planning the trip, and so much more. Cute town after cute town, while riding along the coast of Lake Huron. The only adversity we faced was the lack of time available in one day. We were able to check off all the values we had for our trip, and even got our ice cream while over looking the lake.
Riding back home I looked over to my right to see Gracie smiling next to me, and instantly realized that within our trip existed 3 Powerful Insights to that can be applied to just about any situation in life to achieve happiness.
Vision & Plan
Before you can plan for success you must first understand what success looks like for you. In this particular circumstance our vision was to ride the open road around the thumb of Michigan. Taking in beautiful sights, while enjoying new discoveries such as boutiques, coffee shops, great food, and nature. Once we could visualize the goal we were able to map out our plans to get there. This allowed for us to see possible obstacles standing in the way of the goal such as poor weather, and we were able to adjust the plans accordingly.
This formula can be applied to anything you want to achieve whether it is a vacation like us, a job promotion, opening up a business, or finding companionship. What often happens is we plan each of our days activities with no end vision in mind. How do we know when we have found success if we have not defined what success looks, feels, tastes, smells, or sounds like? When we plan our days without the end in mind we keep ourselves busy running in circles, while feeling unfulfilled. In order to achieve success you must vision then plan!
Create Your Narrative
In life we don’t describe what we see, but instead we see what we describe (if you are anything like me you may need to read that a couple of times, and let it sink in before proceeding). How else can you explain how Gracie and I were on the same exact trip experiencing the exact same day, yet had tremendously different views on the situation? Because there is an unlimited amount of information to process at every given moment our brains condense the information by deleting, distorting, and generalizing. Whichever frequency we are operating on at the time we process the information will determine how we interpret any given situation. Hence seeing what we describe. That is why when you are down, and expecting bad things to happen it seems you just can’t catch a break. It also explains why a person in positive alignment seems to have all the luck. This is also why Gracie, and I had completely different perspectives of our trip on the first day. Now I am not in any way saying Gracie is a negative thinker. The fact of the matter it was her positivity that held me together, and fostered my positive mindset for the day. Because we are human each and every one of us encounters situations on a daily basis that we choose subconsciously to view in a negative light.
The insight here is that we have the power to view the world how we want to see it, which effectively creates the narrative for your life. No matter how great your vision or how strong your game plan the way you view the world could either hold you back from achieving the life you desire, or it could guide you to fulfill your dreams.
Stay The Course
Along your journey adversity will occur like it did us. When you least expect it the rain will fall, the wind will blow, rocks will be kicked in your face, and your tools will break. It is easy to turn around in order to avoid the pain, and conflict. However when you commit to the vision and endure the pain what happens is you develop a tough skin, learn from your failures, and gain knowledge which breeds the confidence you need to succeed. Everyone sees the glamour of the “overnight sensations” but what they don’t see is the blood sweat, and tears that was shed to get there. Stop being afraid to fail or endure pain, and instead understand that these are merely opportunities to learn while on the road to your destination.
Create your vision, plan your route, understand the obstacles that stand in your way. Slow down your thoughts, and choose to view the positives of every situation. When the going gets tough understand your values, and stay the course. I promise when you break through to the other side to achieve your success it will be even better than you envisioned it. In our case success was a beautiful ride, amazing scenery, great company, and yes even a little ice cream while overlooking the waterfront.