Are you really only as strong as your weakest link?
I'm sure everyone has heard the phrase, “You are only as strong as your weakest link”. I have been labeled that, and I have witnessed others receive this label. I have to disagree and I refuse to use this phrase because I personally know how it feels to be labeled the weakest link.
Whether it be a difference in levels of endurance, a physical injury, or how we enjoy hiking, the fact is, if you are out there, you are not weak. If someone has blisters, and their feet are killing them, yet they are still hiking, do you consider them weak just because they can’t go as fast as you? If someone is suffering from acute mountain sickness, yet they are still in the game, do you consider them weak? If someone simply loves to hike slower to enjoy their surroundings, do you consider them weak? If you answered yes to any of these questions I ask you to look at it from a different point of view. If my endurance is off the charts and I’m hiking with no issues, what are my struggles? Does that really make me stronger than the person that is doing the same activity I am, but has to push through struggles to get to the same place we both are going? That is not to say that you shouldn’t also enjoy your adventure on your terms. What I ask is that you understand everyone brings different skills to the table.
When you are setting out on an adventure with a group, I recommend having this discussion before hand. If everyone’s skill set, limits, and strengths are disclosed, you can make a fine oiled machine. What I’ve learned over the years is you can learn something from each side. The fast hikers with amazing endurance remind us to push ourselves harder and test our limits. But those of us that like to take it slower, enjoy our surroundings, and have great conversations with our team members, also teach us a valuable lesson. Learn how to slow down, and enjoy the moment. Your adventure is not just about getting to the finish line, it’s about the journey itself. When we work together, we will all have an epic adventure that everyone enjoys.
When you feel like someone is holding you back, know that they feel like you are pushing them to far. Be a team! My perfect team adventure would be filled with compromise. Deciding beforehand how you will handle situations can prevent feelings of frustration. Deciding that you will hike a certain amount of distance with speed and then slow it down could be the simple answer that makes everyone happy. Give everyone, to include yourself, the opportunity to learn from each other. Enjoy the journey and the finish line together.