Lesson Learned From The Maryland Challenge: Manage Your Own Expectations

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This weekend myself and two friends completed The Maryland Challenge, which is something we heard about from through hikers on the Appalachian Trail where you try to hike the entire 42 mile stretch through Maryland in one day.

We expected the journey to take us roughly 14-15 hours as we have all been able to hold a 3mph pace for long hikes before, but we have never gone this far in one day. So we set out at 3am 11/10/18  in Harpers Ferry, WV and marched our way up to the Maryland/Pennsylvania border. The journey began with cold rain in our faces for the first 3 hours as we were guided by our headlights. As the sun rose so did our spirits and the conversation was flowing. Over the next 8 hours we followed a cadence of marching for 50 minutes and resting for 10 minutes – something I picked up from Jocko Willink’s Podcast. We thought we were making good time and we ran into a hiker who assured us we were only 16 miles from the PA border and it was 11am! Sweet! We will be done before sun down around 5pm, we thought.

About 3 hours later, and we were jogging the flats and downhills at this point, we see a map. The map clearly stated that we had 17 miles until the PA border, **devastation sets it**. This was the lowest point of our entire journey. The next two hours were spent marching in silence as we realized we will be finishing under the cover of night well below freezing temperatures. We only had one way out, so through positive talk and action we were able to get out of our rut and finish the march in 19 hours and 1 minute, just after 9pm.

The lesson: manage your own expectations.

I think a lot about managing the expectations of others in the workplace and relationships (which is critical!), but haven’t seriously thought about my own expectations in quite some time. We need to be able to see the big picture and the larger goal. However, the larger goal cannot be executed all at once. It is made up of smaller incremental goals that build momentum leading to the larger goal. Manage expectations, take care of what is right in front of you.

This really relates to all areas of life.

In fitness: focusing on hitting your numbers today, the results will come from consistent effort with each workout.

In personal finance: savings and compound effects take a long time to accrue, there is no windfall, stay the course.

At work: hitting your sales calls quota can only be made one call at a time. The project completed one benchmark at a time. The website built one line of code at a time.

In Jiu-Jitsu: the submissions do not come for months, it comes from consistent effort towards the craft.

 

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