It never occurred to me how it’d feel working for a company who supported and encouraged experiences and opportunities that ignited my soul. It didn’t occur to me until I had it.  As I tell most seniors I work with, “you don’t know what you are missing out on until you have it.” This rang true to me.  I’ve worked for companies who say they cared, yet their actions never followed. The beliefs I’ve encountered are “what you’re doing isn’t good enough. We need more”.  It wasn’t ever about what was important to me as a human being and all about what I could do for them, usually pertaining to financial gains.  Being the hard working prideful employee I am, I took these beliefs to heart.  Until one day, I had enough.

I found Nye - a company, in my opinion, who truly values their employees not by only words, but in actions. A company who encourages individuality and creative thinking while providing the support and encouragement. A company who is innovative, staying up to date with the market in order to better serve their clients, families, and team members. A company who values relationships and encourages quality time spent with loved ones by exemplifying these values in their own lives. A company who supports employees pursuing their passions by encouraging time off to explore.  A company who exemplifies these qualities, leads me to believe “Celebrate Life” in our mission statement not only resonates in seniors’ lives, but in our own personal lives.

In an effort to celebrate life, a dear friend asked me to backpack a section of the Pacific Crest Trail with her and four other women I did not know. It’s a 2650 mile trail that extends from Mexico to Canada. Before I even had a chance to think about what I was getting myself into, I knew this opportunity crossed my path for a reason. It was liberating knowing my excitement would be met with excitement back when I asked for time-off at work. Full of exuberance, I anxiously rushed into work the next day and share this opportunity with my boss and asked permission for time-off.  I was right, she couldn’t believe it and was as excited for me as I was and my time off was granted.

This trip of a lifetime consisted of hiking 70 miles with 18,000 feet elevation gain through the Cascade Mountains in Washington, all self-supported, in seven days.  We carried our own clothes, food, tent, and supplies in a 40 plus pound backpack.  We used water filters for our water supply.  We had zero access to technology except for camera use and the trail app guiding us to our next landmark.  We cooked our own meals. We bathed using wipes, lakes or creeks – boy, were those freezing! And let me tell you, our bathrooms were very scenic! Our entire life for seven days including everything in our pack, on our bodies, and nature’s blessings. We relied solely on our own capabilities to get us through.

Six days later upon stepping foot onto the trail, we did it.  Four of us finished because we regretfully lost two people on the fifth day with unbearable blisters. It was a bummer, but with any trial in life you figure out a way to make it through, and we did.  The labor we put in each day was worth the vistas we encountered along the way.  We saw gorgeous hidden lakes, waterfalls, and experienced many different trail themes along the way– rocks, old forest fires full of wildflowers, and tall brush to name a few.  We met many other beautiful souls trekking the same section or who were through hikers for the entire trail.  We saw life from a different perspective. We were the ants of the world.

This trip pushed the reset button for me. I’m thankful Nye allowed this opportunity for me that opened space for growth not only in my professional life, but in my personal life too.  It was a life changing experience leaving me with ample life lessons – a few I would like to share with you.

Focus on what matters.

With no reception and only bare minimums, we were forced to be present with our surroundings. We were forced to disconnect from technology and the real world for a moment which allowed space for observation - observing the amount of energy we put into things, people, and situations that DO NOT matter. And how much joy this misplaced energy steals away from the present moment by clouding our vision for everything we have to be grateful for. By refocusing our energy on the things that matter, we free up space to connect with others, engage with our family/friends, invest in a hobby, and experiment with new things– all which enrich our lives. 

It’s about the journey not the destination.

If I was so focused on finishing the day’s miles or how fast I could get to the end, I would have missed all the beauty the trail had to offer along the way.  Same with our lives, we are always striving for that next thing believing it will make us happy – “if only I get that promotion, if only I could lose this weight, if only I could find the perfect partner, etc.”  If we stop and smell the roses every once in a while, we will see the opportunities and beauty available RIGHT NOW. 

One step at a time.

Prior to getting on the trail, I questioned my capability of completing this section.  The word “DIFFICULT” after trail level intimidated me and the ego set-up shop, questioning my completion capabilities. By literally taking it step by step, I was able to overcome all adversities and complete a goal I set out to accomplish.  This translates in our personal and professional lives. How many times do we overwhelm and question ourselves when faced with trials, challenges, and changes? If we take things one step at a time, they always leads us to where we are going and a bonus, we will probably grow along the way.

Believe in Humanity.

Doing something outside my comfort zone required trust and reliance on myself, others, and the process. I had zero gear and had to research everything a trip like this entails. I had to trust in the professionals to guide me in the right direction with their experience and knowledge. I had to trust in my preparation as I stepped foot on the trail. I had to trust in the four other girls I’d just met and our capabilities of getting through this journey together.  It reminded me how much we need each other to function in life and that each of us hold a special piece of the puzzle. It reminded me we need to see people for their gifts, not their shortcomings.

So folks, life is short. Don’t forget to take a minute to tune in and find out what makes you tick and find those who support you along this journey.  If you’re looking for a company who supports you, I may be biased, but I’ll say Nye does it best.