This past week I spent some time in a Boy Scout high adventure experience with some 14 and 15-year-old boys.
Our goal was to spelunk in the lava caves of the Mount St. Helens volcano, climb to the top of that mountain’s rim (just over 8000’) and then bicycle for 50-miles in a local mountain range. It was all a great experience and we accomplished about 75% of what we set out to do.
We made it from one end of the lava caves to the other – 100% of our goal was accomplished.
The climb up the mountain was a different story. We started the hike from the climber’s bivouac at 5am and hiked trails, climbed boulders and slogged glaciers up through the clouds. We made it to 6800’ before the meltdown (more about that later). – We climbed to 80% of our goal.
The bike ride started the next day. – We made 30-miles before the second meltdown came.
I have learned two things from these adventures – One: Many times, the best rewards come after we push ourselves beyond what we believe are our capabilities. And, two: There is not a replacement for good preparation.
On the mountain, a 14-year-old lost confidence after we had climbed above the clouds and could see that the mountain top was still a long way off. His meltdown and refusal to go higher was a lack of both will and preparation. He learned something about himself and I am confident that it he will grow from the experience.
While returning to camp the thought occurred to me that joining the social web is like setting out on several adventures at the same time. We have Facebook walls to scale, explorations in the blogosphere and attempts to ride the twitter craze. To do all of these require will and preparation. To do them well takes some time and a growing confidence in yourself and your supporters.
Some of us meltdown and quit before we reach the heights of connectivity. Others seem to push forward and climb steadily toward the summit.
At 55, my wife and I are attempting to become web connected and to be contributors to the social networks. Our will has been stretched and our preparation is lacking most of the time, but yet we push on.
Just as I cajoled, prodded and encouraged these scouts up the mountain side, many have made my climb easier with their support and encouragement. As I sat by the campfire one night, I decided that my next post would be one of thanks.
The following are some of the people who have supported us and given me the will to climb with the desire to reach higher and peddle faster in the social web.
Thank you for being there and letting us travel the same trails with you. With your guidance we can see the social view from above the clouds.