For the past two weeks, while you read about tightrope walkers Jean Francois Blondin and Karl Wallenda, I was backpacking around north central New Mexico with a bunch of Boy Scouts. We were at Philmont Scout Ranch, a high adventure base covering approximately 214 square miles of the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains. We didn’t cover the whole ranch; but we did hike almost 70 miles of the north section, including a grueling ascent of Baldy Mountain.
As part of preparations for our trek, and any outdoor adventure for that matter, we always make sure to carry the “Ten Essentials.” This list of survival items makes up the bare minimum recommended for anyone embarking on a trip into the wild. The list was first put together in the 1930’s by an outdoor recreation group called The Mountaineers. Despite advances in technology the original list has seen relatively few changes, although different groups tend to alter or add to the list to fit their specific needs.
Navigating the business world can be a lot like adventuring into the backcountry. After all, it is a jungle out there. But there are a few things you can arm yourself with in order to increase your odds of surviving – and even thriving – in the wilderness of business. So let’s walk through the Ten Essentials (The Boy Scout Version) and their working world counterparts – items I suggest you carry with you at all times. We’ll start with the first five today and finish up the list next week.
[table caption=”The Ten Essentials” width=”600″ colwidth=”150|225|225″ colalign=”left|left|left”]
,Backcountry Explanation,Business Version
1. Map & Compass,Used to determine one’s location and the best route to reach another location.,Clearly defined goals and a workable strategy to meet them.
2. Trail Food,Good for maintaining your energy.,A steady diet of education to help you stay on top of your game.
3. Water,The human body can only survive for a few days without water. Water filters or purifying tablets can be used to obtain potable water from virtually any source.,A regular stream of positive messages from those around you. Without it even the strongest wither and dry up.
4. Rain Gear,Being wet from rain may result in hypothermia – a potentially fatal condition.,Someone you can turn to who will protect you from the rainy days – ideally your immediate supervisor.
5. Extra Clothing,Multiple layers are superior to a single massive jacket. Layered clothing is adaptable to a wide range of temperatures.,A cross-functional team you can call upon as needed to help you successfully manage the various challenges you face.