There’s this sleepy little town in Michigan, Frankfort, that’s won my heart. The first time I went we were a fresh family of four. Laine was only 4 months old at the time and it was our first real adventure together. I went blindly as Daryn took the reins on the trip and I had little expectations of how things would go. An 8 hour trip in the car with an infant to a place that I’d never heard of…I wasn’t expecting much.
This idillic little town I quickly grew smitten with. The white sand beaches, blue lake water and ice cream shops that speckled every corner were so charming. Every night as dusk, the town and guests would gather to eat their ice cream and watch the painted sky’s exaggerated colors.
I’ve been back every year since and that town still takes me by surprise.
A years ago, the three of us went and were joined by my parents. We set off to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore, a much anticipated day trip and tradition. One of the things we look forward to is the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the park. Stop 9 and 10 overlook Lake Michigan and it is breathtaking. 450 feet above the water separated by a sand dune, or glacial hill. There are signs warning tourists to not climb down the hill because of the strenuous 2 hour climb back up. But still people were taking on the challenge.
Dawson looked at me, looked at the hill, and looked back at me.
“Let’s do it, Mom!”.
My stomach dropped. Was this responsible? Should we break the rules? What if we can’t make it back up?
But also…I love a good challenge and have fully leaned into the YOLO mantra. So after a short tug of war in my brain I decided we’d give it a shot. I committed and gave him my YES. My words matter and carry weight…loyalty matters greatly to me so I was in.
We make our way over to the top of the hill and look 450 feet down. Almost straight down. The sand is so deep you have to prance down. Each step, your foot sinking into the sand up to your mid calf.
About 60 seconds in people start yelling at Dawson and I from the outlook tower up above.
“Terrible idea! What are you thinking?! Turn back around! You’re insane!”, the warned (and judged) us.
Then the second guessing starts to set in. The doubt.
“Was this a good idea? Should we do this??”. I was starting to wonder. It was really easy to say YES before I put in any effort. It was easy to say yes while I was enjoying the view. It was easy to say yes when Dawson’s excitement was high. But now that I was in motion I wasn’t so sure.
I really had to dig in, remind myself of my commitment and original purpose of this challenge. So we continued on.
A few minutes later we pass people on their way back up. Sand stuck to the sweat on their face, out of breath and definitely looking exhausted.
I looked over at Dawson and say, “Hey, let’s talk to these guys who are actually on the hill, doing the work and get their perspective on if this is a worthy endeavor.”.
In passing, we pause and I ask them, “What do you guys think? Is the view worth it? Should we continue on?”.
Without skipping a beat, “YES!”, they stammered out with their remaining energy. “Without a doubt it’s totally worth it. You guys can totally make it!
Take advise from people who have been where you want to go.
Don’t listen to the negative people on the sidelines. Listen to the people doing the work, in the pursuit.
So on Dawson and I pressed. That was the exact encouragement I needed. We crossed the point of ‘no return’, our ALL IN moment. There was no turning back now. We were committed.
When you cross the line of ‘ALL IN’, everything changes. Your confidence shows. Your attitude shifts. Your body language speaks. Your motivation grows. You become a different person once you’re ALL IN.
And it effects the people around you. My commitment was contagious for Dawson. As my assuredness rose, his did too. As my energy and focus grew, so did Dawson’s. ALL IN as a spill over effect not just for you, but for your circles as well.
2 minutes later, we reached the bottom of this massive hill. It was beautiful. The deescalate beach was gourgous. Smooth rocks scattered throughout the shore line. The water was refreshing. It was a moment I’ll never forget that I was so fortunate to share with my son. All because we said yes and committed to the process.
After our time on the bottom of the hill we were faced with the inevitable climb back to the top. I kid you not, the incline felt straight up and down. You could barely see the top from the bottom. It was daunting. But we were recharged from the view and started to make our way back up. We literally crawled up this hill. A few crawls forward, and we’d slide backwards a bit with the momentum of the sand. It was a few steps forward, one step back.
I was only a few minutes in and I was frustrated. I couldn’t get my momentum. It seemed like I wasn’t even moving. I was so tired and we had only just begun. It was hot, and I was sweaty. My knuckles were bleeding from the sand eating away as I dug into the hill.
Remember your purpose, your why. When things get tough remember the feeling you had when you started.
When we commit to something there is no guarantee that it will be easy. In fact the most rewarding things come with difficult lessons and a process that takes far longer than we wish for.
The climb back up was not easy. There were a few times we had to take a moment, sit down on the hill and catch our breath. But as we did that, we were reenergized by the view, the distance we had climbed and the efforts that had taken us this far.
Resting is not quitting. Admire the view and celebrate yourself along the way.
Be proud! Take time to breath in your journey and how far you’ve come. Again, the most beautiful things on this planet take time. So appreciate the time you vested in your endeavor.
On the track back to the top, people passed Dawson and I up, other people we passed up. But you know what? We all kept moving forward and cheering each other on as we went.
Run YOUR race.
Everyone’s race is different. Everyone’s process is different. It’s not about who gets there first, it’s about who we become in the process. It IS the journey. The character we build. The obstacles we overcome. The things we experience as we become our best self.
18 minuets later, we make it to the top. (Not that I was counting…ok I totally was counting. Ha!). I hugged Dawson, handed out high fives and turned around to look where we had come from. I was so proud of the effort we put in and that we stayed the course even when it got hard.
Now we could have stopped there and kept the moment to ourselves, but I felt a duty and obligation to the people that were looking down over the hill, just as we had, wondering if they could do it. If the work would be worth it.
Pay it forward.
Who do you know that is in their race and needs some encouragement? Who is going to venture to where you have already been that you can share your story and your experience to spur them on? Don’t keep what you’ve learned to yourself. Pay it forward! Positive recognition can carry someone a long way. You could be the difference in someone’s journey.
Have you made a commitment that you need to pick back up? Perhaps you didn’t quit, you’re just enjoying the view. Is it’s time to get back on the hill and keep climbing?
Or perhaps you haven’t crossed the ALL IN moment in your journey. But let me encourage you that if you haven’t, perhaps that’s what you’re missing. Because once you are ALL IN, everything changes. Is it time to be all in?
Look to people who have been where you desire to go. Don’t pay attention to the negative people in your life. Listen to the people who have walked in your shoes, done hard things.