For the 10 years I’ve lived in LA, I’ve always been mesmerized by the Hollywood sign. I remember the first time I saw it when I was a Freshman at USC driving with my good friends who happened to be from SoCal … so it was no big deal to them.
There is something so powerful about the sign and what it symbolizes. It’s iconic and holds so much history. It also represents so much hope.
One of the first classes I took at USC was called LA and the American Dream. It was really an interesting class … for instance, learning about the LA River. Coming from the Midwest, it baffled me that a river was made out of concrete and also pretty much dry! But also, really what LA represents for so many people. We literally live in the land of opportunity, growth and inspiration.
The Hollywood sign holds all of that and reminds us of what’s possible.
So, when I ventured to finally hike right up to the Hollywood sign, I was pretty excited. It took me 10 years to get here! And, it really came from a moment of inspiration.
I hadn’t made the hike to find it because I didn’t want to get completely lost. I also didn’t know where to start. When I moved to the area I live now, I realized it was literally in my backyard.
Still, I didn’t go for it. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into – how long, how hard, etc.
Kind of like life. And when you take a risk you may have been avoiding for a while because you’re just not quite sure you’re ready for it. Even if you’ve been thinking about it for a while.
While I was hiking, I realized that this trek symbolized so much for me, especially culminating in the last few years.
For one, I had no idea where I was going. I just went for it. I had an idea this one trail might lead to the sign, but I didn’t know for sure. I was ready for an adventure and I was willing to take that risk.
As I started my ascent, I realized that I didn’t have a phone and I hadn’t told anyone where I was hiking. I was pretty much on my own. If something happened, I’d have to take care of myself.
Then, I started seeing groups of people hiking up the trail as well. It turns out, I wasn’t completely alone.
I also realized that while I didn’t know where I was going, I didn’t want to turn around. Because of how steep the hike was, it would be more treacherous to turn around and head back.
There was no turning back. I’d committed to the adventure and so I had to persist.
When I got to the top, I saw most of the people I’d encountered heading to a little picnic area. Pretty much a lookout point. While lovely, it wasn’t my goal. So I followed my instinct and turned right while they turned left.
Still, I didn’t really know where I was going. But, I was on top of the mountain and that was pretty cool. At least I did have a general idea.
So, I persisted.
Until I got to a point where it looked like the trail stopped. I was so disappointed. But I didn’t sit in that disappointment long. Soon, I realized that there was a trail, albeit you could hardly see it through the thick brush.
So, I carried on.
Now it really started to get a bit unnerving. There was some of the trail that was more than a bit precarious. While this whole time I’d simply been putting one foot in front of the other, taking it one step at a time, now I was taking smaller, more carefully placed steps.
I would get through that tough spot and find a flat, easy trail. So I could taker bigger steps and go more quickly. Then, I’d find another tough, precarious spot … followed by another easy part.
Hmmm … interesting.
More than a few times I felt unsure of if I was really going in the correct direction. If following my instincts was really going to work or if I was going to have to admit defeat and turn around.
Failure was not an option. So I kept going!
Finally, all of the sudden, there it was. The Hollywood sign. It simply took my breath away. I had a moment. Wow. I made it!!!
Then, I realized I needed to figure out how to get around the fence. Just one more small challenge before I reach my goal, right?! I saw I could go around the fence and so I did and walked up the path (that most people took to get there … the easy way!) and took in more of the sign.
Then, I realized I reached my goal, but now I had a new challenge in front of me. How do I get home??
I started down the paved path that would hopefully lead me to my new goal, finding my way back home. One wrong turn and I would end up in Bronson Canyon … NOT near my home!
Still, I continued to follow my instinct. A little nervous, wondering what I had gotten myself into and definitely getting tired.
And then I saw it! The neighborhood I knew. I’d done it! I succeeded in finding my way home. I still had a ways to go, but at last I knew that this was definitely the path I had to take to get home.
And then, finally, after 2 hours and 15 minutes, I was home. Success! Now the question is, what will my next adventure be?
I was inspired to share this story with you because in so many ways it parallels what I’ve experienced in starting, building and growing my business. Before I took the leap, I took a year and a half thinking about it. There has been plenty of treacherous terrain, but always the sense of knowing I was going in the right direction.
You may have your own business, thinking about starting a business, investigating your deepest desires and passions or working corporate, but wherever you are you are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to do and experiencing exactly what you need to experience.
That’s the beauty in life. We all have challenges, but by following our instincts we can get to our goal. And in realizing that goal or dream, we discover we actually have another goal that even surpasses the original.
You’re ever evolving. There is no ‘arriving.’ If there was, life would be so boring! Your experiences evolve, your career evolves, your life evolves and, of course, your style evolves.
And it’s all a perfect reflection of YOU. Exactly where you are now and where you are going!
If you know that, then you’ve already ‘made it.’
Life is beautiful.