Be Flexible

On June 3, 1984, I reported to Philmont Scout Ranch. I was starting a summer position as a Ranger. Philmont is a ranch located in Colfax County, New Mexico. It is owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America. It is a National High Adventure base where crews of Scouts take part in Backpacking treks and other outdoor activities. It covers 140,177 acres of wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. By land area, it is one of the largest youth camps in the world. Little did I know at the time, but my experience that year would shape my life.

Every season, Philmont had a mantra. In 1984, it was ‘Be Flexible’. It was meant to offer guidance as to how we worked with Campers. Our Training Rangers wanted us to not get locked into one way of doing things. Life happens. And it can change plans in the backcountry just like the Boardroom. If we train to be flexible, we had a better chance of making a Philmont trek memorable for the Campers.
Good advice. And it has never been more important to my life. As I write this, we are faced with navigating the Coronavirus Pandemic. Never has my business been faced with so many challenges in a short period of time. We are currently figuring out how to have my teamwork from home. This includes moving technology, boxing office supplies, making signs for the office doors, changing phone messages, U-Haul communications, establishing ‘work’ guidelines, etc. You are familiar with this also. The people that figure it out, will have the least amount of stress going forward.
To a Ranger at Philmont, ‘Be Flexible’ meant to not get stuck in a routine. It was emphasized to do things out of order if it meant being productive. Why wait in line at one place in base camp if another stop had no line? If a teachable moment appeared, don’t skip it because it wasn’t the next lesson on your schedule. The goal should be completion, not schedule.

A few years ago, I knew exactly what I was looking for in storage properties. But I was struggling to find the next one. So I revisited my list of requirements and found that I could be more flexible with a few of them. Suddenly, there are more facilities to look at and a few fit the bill! Amazing what can happen when you allow yourself to self-scout and then adapt. Success! Growth!

This career is exactly what Philmont trained me for. Being a business owner demands that we flex to deal with all the challenges thrown our way, each and every day. Adapting and overcoming is critical to staying in business and thriving in challenging times. Truthfully, it is fun! I love that my business requires me to shift among so many different things. I enjoy the mental gymnastics.
Thirty-six years ago, I wouldn’t have guessed that I was training to be self-employed. 18-year-old me just loved hiking and camping in the mountains. But I’m sure glad Philmont, and the Boy Scouts of America, put me to work. I sure like the career they trained me for!

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