Growing as a Leader,  Leadership

“What was I thinking?” Leadership Lessons from my week on the Appalachian Trail – Part 1

???????????????????????????????“What was I thinking?” became my mantra during my 7 days of hiking the first 70 miles of the AT with my oldest son, Michael David (he went another 3 weeks racking up many more miles).

  • “What was I thinking carry all this food?”
  • “What was I thinking having three changes of clothing when I’ve only worn one?”
  • “What was I thinking not having trekking poles?” as my toe nails started to fall off because of toe jam.
  • “What was I thinking not have my pack fitted and adjusted properly before I left?” as my shoulder ached.
  • “What was I thinking not taking a closer look at my son’s well thought out itinerary and his packing list?” when I couldn’t remember where we stayed or planned to stay.
  • “What was I thinking not being in better shape before the trip?” when I was so winded climbing up those mountains.

Now the beauty of backpacking is the thinking time as you walk (I was too winded to talk much). It was during these daily hikes that I’d find myself asking the “what was I thinking?” questions. And each time I asked these questions I also reflected how these AT experiences could speak into my life and leadership back home. The reality is I had some “ah ha” moments that have led me to make some significant changes when I got off the trail.

So join me over the next few posts as I share some of these lessons (and the stories behind them) with the hopes you’ll also find some useful nuggets for your leadership journey.


  • jeffl7

    Time to think is one of the greatest gifts of backpacking! Can’t wait to hear what you were thinking! Wish I were with you (on all the flat sections, or around the fires at night).

  • Stephanie Patterson

    Can’t wait to read the next installment!

    Who knew you’d recently become toe nail-less, as we discussed the many life changes you were experiencing 😉

    Seriously, I am looking forward to hearing more about the trip.


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