Growing up in Maryland, one of my favorite activities was running through the hilly paths in the forests of Lake Needwood, a gorgeous regional park within walking distance of my childhood home. Experiencing the run through each of the four seasons that Maryland is blessed with has taught a valuable professional lesson for me. Let me explain.
My favorite season to run in is Fall time, when the summer heat has broken with the temperatures dropping by a few degrees each week. Early morning runs mean I can see the white mist of my breath with each step. The sea of yellow and orange leaves that paints the scenery is a sharp contrast against the radiant blue skies. Refreshing is the word that comes to mind.
Winter time means gearing up in a double layer of hoodie and jacket, along with the much needed gloves. The tree branches have become bare while the ground is dried and frozen. Running the trails becomes one where I focus on dodging the mounds of snow as much as pushing myself for the next step. The frigid cold air that enters my nose, travels through my body, and leaves out of my mouth feels like taking a huge gulp of iced water in the middle of summer. Frosty.
As Spring approaches, life returns and it shows itself with the green that becomes more vibrant and flourishes with each passing day. Bumble bees return as do squirrels and other creatures as they wake up from a restful hibernation. Blossom.
Running in the shade is key to avoiding the burning Summer rays that blanket anywhere not covered by the forest. The asphalt path is so hot that the air on the surface is blurry. Yet, Summer brings about kids playing, adults sunbathing, long vacations, and yummy barbecues. Happy.
While Lake Needwood does have a nice combination of lakes, creeks, trees, and lawns sewn together by paths and trails, its beauty to me is not that. What is special about Lake Needwood is experiencing everything it has to offer through the different seasons, as each day in each season gives it character in ways that another day cannot. They are all beautiful in their own way, yet each unique. If I visited it only for one season or for one day, I would miss what it has to offer.
The same is that of a firm or a role. Many people I chat with are in such a rush to look for their next role. They not only miss the beauty in front of them but all of the opportunities to experience the completeness of the role from another vantage point. The depth of my learning at Uber was not the first year or two, which was hectic. Where I learned most from was experiencing the diversity of what was required of me and how I had changed along with the role.
If I had only run once at Lake Needwood, I would have missed out on one of my favorite activities in life.