Month: March 2015

The little things in life! So often I hear about the importance of the “little things”. Yet, the “busy”ness  of business promptly ushers me away reminding me of a meeting, a proposal, a capital purchase, a new hire. You know..the “Big” things!  That’s what it’s about right?  Hitting your goals. Expanding market share. Increasing Profit.  But how do you get there?

I don’t really have an answer, but I do have an idea: it’s in the little things.  I was recently presented with a “junked” chainsaw by an employee. The dealership explained it would cost more to repair than the saw was worth.  How can this be, it’s only a few years old? Frustrated at the proposal of buying yet another $500 saw…wait they don’t make that anymore.  I’ll have to get the new model for $625. Ugh! I took a deep breath and started counting to $625…..1,2,3,…..   Before I made it to 50, my scowl turned into a grin…I’d just uncovered an opportunity. That’s right, I was going to learn how to rebuild a chainsaw.

I dug right in asking questions. Starting with parts: The dealership wanted $350, I found them for $125. I sort of knew there was some “special” stuff you needed to do with 2-cycle engines, so off to Youtube I went. A tachometer, a vacuum leak tester, a homemade crank case splitter and 30 Youtube videos later, I was ready!

I won’t bore you with the details and challenges I faced in the process. Just suffice it to say that it took waaaaylonger than I expected AND it was absolutely worth it! The fact that the saw works is testament to one of two things. 1) I was freakishly lucky or 2) I now understand what it takes to completely rebuild a 2-cycle engine from the ground up.   Since I’m the one writing this, I’ll choose #2!

Okay, great. The saw works…good for me. Whoo hooo!  So what? The difference for me was redirecting the energy that could have been wasted on being frustrated with the situation. Instead, the energy was excitedly focused on not just a solution to this singular broken saw, but to a body of information that allows me to tackle and teach others how to diagnose and repair this key tool of our business operations.

Like most things in life, it was about slowing down, being present and paying attention to the little things. So much can be avoided if one does that. In comparison to time lost and replacement costs, maintenance costs little when you take the time to truly understand the function of each piece of the whole. But I guess if the 3 loose exhaust nuts had been seen, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. My life is richer for it.

 

austin-Austin Birch CFO/CIO

Just the other day, we had the sad occasion of one of our leadership team members unexpectedly losing a childhood friend. The Facebook post/tribute he wrote to this friend was vivid, beautifully written and it read as if the memories were as fresh as yesterday. However, he hadn’t seen this friend since their childhood.

I realized in that moment that there were some of my own childhood memories more crisp, vivid and alive than things that occurred just yesterday. There’s just something about the mind of a child that holds images, feelings, words, wonderful friendships, and even scents!

In the midst of this nostalgia, I was out for my daily run on our property. Upon reaching our mailbox a mile away, I opened it to find my very own treasured piece of childhood. There it was, the smallest trigger flooded my eyes with tears and took over my face with a smile, I KNEW that handwriting! You see, back then (the 70’s and 80’s), we girls wrote notes to each other and LOTS of them! The boys? Not so much. Their notes went something like this:

 

Dee Dee's letter
Dee Dee’s letter

“Do you like me? Circle yes   or no. Don’t show anyone.”

But I had shoeboxes full of notes from my dearest, most cherished friend Dee Dee and I would recognize a note from her anywhere, anytime. We hadn’t corresponded in nearly 10 years and there it was… my very own note from her in my mailbox. The memories flooded back and I smiled and actually teared up even before opening her letter. I credit that ‘little girl’ and those wonderful notes for getting me through a tough childhood. I navigated the confusing ups, downs, and sideways of a dad battling bipolar.

Little did I know that years later a talented keynote, psychologist, and writer would explain what all of this meant to me. Michael Thompson wrote ‘Best Friends, Worst Enemies’ where he explores the crucial and hidden role that friendships play in the lives of children. I was sitting in a keynote session he delivered at the National Cathedral in 1996. Michael described the research that demonstrated that a key indicator to a child’s resilience was the existence of one, at least one, BEST friend. He began to list all sorts of qualifiers that determined BEST friend but frankly, it was all I could do to not leap out of my chair and scream “THAT’S IT! I GET IT NOW!! I had a best friend! We believed we could get each other through anything!”

I stayed in my seat that night but quite soon after that keynote session, I left my many years as a teacher and decided it was my time to create and pursue something, something bigger than me. I knew I could build a place for best friendships and personal journeys and a place where children could uncover their own courage. And now the exciting part is that it is now something much bigger than me and I WILL let my best friend Dee Dee know that she played an integral role in creating the magic behind this company.

That something is Adventure Links.

IMG_1845
Childhood camp t-shirt of one of our leadership team members.

 

Anna Birch-Anna Birch | CEO

 

Have you seen the photo on the internet with the picture of a trail that say’s “there is no Wi-Fi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection”?

wifi

I love this quote, because everything we do here is to get people to work together and want to be outside. Creating positive experiences outside is what we love to do. And five or ten years ago you would have spent the day out here, or your camper would have spent a week or two with us and then once home you would have developed the pictures off your camera and told your friends and family all about your experience.

But today’s world is different. Our friends don’t always rave about a great new restaurant to us anymore, instead they post about it, they review it, and they share pictures all online. This is the dilemma we are faced with here. We want our participants and staff to concentrate on the experience they are having in the moment, but we also want them to share their experience. We would like them to be able to look back at their newsfeeds and timelines and relive the moments they had with us and remember what a great time they had outside with their friends.

We want the involvement and the memories to last without crossing that line of bringing the technology with all of it’s distractions into the outdoors, so we are left with the dilemma: to #hashtag or not.

 

adam-headshot-Adam Trautenberg | Marketing & IT Manager