Management Matters –Try ‘Not the Usual’ and Discover Something New

Sadly (for some) – summer is now in the rear view mirror, no matter what the thermometer may indicate. This year did something in addition to my usual and always appreciated week at the beach with family.

While I am no model for ORVIS, REI Co-Op or Back Country, I geared up with good hiking shoes, packed up layers of clothing, borrowed some hiking poles and headed out to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Jackson, Wyoming.

What did I learn?

  • When you stay in a national park that has no cell towers, spotty Wi-Fi, no television or radio, you disconnect from distraction and focus on the people and the nature that surrounds you. We slowed down and had uninterrupted conversations. We laughed a lot. The bison, elk, eagles, mountains, geysers and waterfalls were interesting enough.
  • The usual annoyances and irritants seemed to fade away. No one was rushing anywhere - so there was time to listen, ask questions, and ask follow-up questions. Lots more learning – from guides, park rangers, fellow travelers, and each other. There was a new calmness and in spite of the altitude, we seemed to breathe deeper.
  • When faced with an unexpected and steep incline on a hike (funny how everyone we asked said the hikes were easy and none of them really were!), we rested, stayed hydrated, and continued. The payoff was a sense of accomplishment (sometimes surprising), a breathtaking view, and new information about old and outdated preconceived limits.

I am back now, easing into the fall season. I have my photographs from the trip. The usual routine will start sneaking in to the day-to-day. But before I jump in – it’s good to reflect.

I probably won’t toss my city life for a cabin in the woods. But I did surprise myself and my fellow travelers with this new, previously unseen, side of myself. Sometimes doing something that is not the usual can be a very good thing. I didn’t think about work, my appearance, the internet, my clients, or following up. I didn’t plan much. I just looked around – in wonder, awe, and appreciation. Taking a ‘time out’ requires some discipline – and allows for learning.

That makes it worthwhile.

Joni Daniels is Principal of Daniels & Associates, a management training and development consulting practice that specializes in developing human resources in the areas of leadership and management training, interpersonal effectiveness and efficiency, skill- building, and organizational development interventions. With over 25 years of experience, she is a sought after resource for Fortune 500 clients, professional organizations, higher education, media outlets and business publications. Joni can be reached at

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