A Few Thoughts from Kauai

Stone Dam Gardens on Wai Koa Loop Trail, Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii

Julie and I are celebrating our 30th anniversary. Right now we’re on the tropical paradise island of Kauai. The picture above was taken today during our hike on the 5-mile Wai Koa Loop in Kilauea. What you see in the background is the Stone Dam which was built in 1881 and provided irrigation to sugar plantations on those grounds. The hike was in and around a mahogany forest with some of the magnificent Kauai mountain ranges in view. It was a banner day for this amateur photographer—I took 129 pictures on that hike!

Being on vacation, this week and next I’ll share a few thoughts from our journies.

Vacation is a Balm for the Soul

The last couple months have been pretty intense in my work and volunteering responsibilities. (See my recent post Two Reflections on a Crazy Schedule.) Vacation provides needed perspective. Having been gone just a few days, I see some of my challenges in new light and I have new energy for addressing them after I get home.

Vacation also helps us reconnect. I’m here with Julie. Obviously—this is a celebration of 30 years of marriage. Julie and I have been focusing on the Lord and on each other. This is what’s important in life.

Be Ready for Surprises and Be Humble

On the second leg of our journey to Kauai, from Phoenix to Lihue, we sat next to one of the most interesting people we’ve ever met. I don’t have permission to share his name, but I can say that he is a former world class runner (1.5K, 5K, 10K, and cross country). He competed in the Olympics, World Cross Country Championships, and other international competitions, having won multiple medals. Today he is a NBC sports commentator and founder of a very successful marathon event. During our 6-hour plus flight we chatted off and on between naps and learned many things about athletes and the world of sports, sports commentating, his travels around the world, coaching, and more.

He is a thoughtful, caring, and gracious man. He has seen, experienced, and accomplished many things that could puff up his heart with pride and create a big ego. He wasn’t like that at all.

Lessons: Be ready for surprises. We could have hopped on the plane and said, “This is a long flight. We’re going to nap to shorten this 29-hour day.” Instead, we said “Hi” to a stranger, saw humility and grace demonstrated before us, and possibly gained a friend.

Get the Big Picture

I almost didn’t take the picture you see at the head of this article. To take that picture, I had to take a slight detour off the path to an overlook at the top of a hill. This overlook provided the vantage point that allowed me to take a picture of the entire Stone Dam gardens.

From that vantage point on the overlook I could see all the individual parts of the garden: the pools, the streams, the grassy areas, the flowering plants, the stone dam, and more. Sure, walking into the gardens I saw all of those things, too. This picture, though, gave me the ability to see those things in context with with another.

We need to attack our challenges and problems in the same way. Find the overlook. Pause. Study the scene and record the picture. That picture will be valuable when you are in the details and looking at specific elements of your challenge.

Next week, I’ll be reporting from Maui.

Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.

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