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Going All In Doesn't Require Going It Alone

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

Tucker Miller | President and Founder of Day 6 Leadership, LLC

Some year ago, I took my then teenage daughter to see the movie Wild. In the movie, a grief-stricken and soul-searching, young woman, Cheryl Strayed, played by Reese Witherspoon, treks the Pacific Crest Trail, which extends from California to Canada. Cheryl is alone and has no experience with backcountry hiking. Her gear, when she starts out, weighs more than she does.

A walk on the wild side

On the trail, Cheryl confronts her personal demons, encounters potential predators, both human and animal, and experiences every kind of physical and emotional pain you can imagine. . . . My daughter excitedly announced after the movie that she couldn't wait until she was old enough to hike the PCT on her own, too. (Darn you, Reese and Cheryl! Darn you PCT for being so beautiful.)

I understood the yearning

As her mother, I panicked. I hated the idea. But as a woman, I related to the yearning of my daughter's heart.

To be invincible. To be brave. To achieve the impossible. To discover new things both in the world and in yourself.

the desire to go it alone

A personal odyssey seems to demand that we go it alone. For one, traveling alone frees us from shame or embarrassment; we worry less about what other people think. Instead, preoccupy our minds with day-to-day concerns about survival: food, water, shelter, warmth at night, and avoiding predators. And of course there's all that natural beauty . . . and rain, snow and hail.

support while learning

And while I've always been an independent, "let me do it myself" kind of person, the sweetest and most profound times have been experiences I've had with others. I hasten to clarify that by profound, I don't necessarily mean wonderful. Sometimes the most important lessons were hard lessons. Very hard, in fact. Good times, not always; but good lessons, often. During the hardest times it was invaluable be able to lean on the support and comfort of people around me.

It's been about 6 years since my daughter and I first watched Wild, and we've seen it a few more times since then. She hasn't taken off on her own to do the Pacific Crest Trail, but she is on her own in California, preparing to graduate from college.

Her personal odyssey continues to evolve and she has surrounded herself with people who love her and some who frustrate her and many who help her to grow -- sometimes as she hopes, sometimes in ways that are hard. Just as for me; just as for us all.

coaching for emerging women leaders

In my work with women leaders, and the work I engage in with those they report to, I endeavor to serve as a guide. These are things women leaders often ask about: gaining confidence, building trust, finding my voice and my courage to speak up.

We seek knowledge for how to navigate unfamiliar terrain and mitigate risk.

I don't profess to have all of the answers, but I offer experience, sustenance, safety, and encouragement. I understand how tempting it can be to want to figure things out and do them on your own, but the journey can be so much sweeter when you have someone with whom to share it.

Cheryl Strayed ended up stepping away from the PCT before arriving at its end. While much of her journey was solitary, she met friends along the way, later married, had children and returned with them to the PCT, sharing her story with them and those of us who listened.

I bet you have a story and an odyssey.

You deserve to have someone who will listen to your story and journey with you. We all do.

Day 6 Leadership, LLC is a consulting and coaching company specializing in helping to prepare women leaders for expanded responsibility, influence, and impact.

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