By John D. Anderson, an EO Detroit member and principal of The CEO Advantage
I am an experienced snowmobiler, and nothing excites me more than teaching others the sport. When my friend Peter, who is in his 70’s, expressed interest in accompanying me on my latest snowmobiling adventure I was thrilled.
It was snowing hard and I was cutting first tracks through fresh powder. I took a brief look in my mirror to make sure I hadn’t lost anyone and was quietly relieved to see my friend Mike’s headlight behind me. Beyond that I could make out two more lights, which meant our team of seven people were still together and I could continue whipping along on the trail.
New riders have a lot to deal with: snow dust, tremendously powerful sleds, bitter cold weather, no traffic laws, other snowmobilers, tight turns, trees, ice, and limited signage. It is not uncommon for new riders to miss a corner, tip a sled or just run off the trail into deep snow. So it was not terribly surprising that Peter Thomas, who had never driven a snowmobile, had crashed his sled on the first day of our trip. What did surprise me was the incredible amount of improvement he had made by the week’s end.
After blasting along for approximately 30 minutes on this final, snowy day, I pulled to the side of the trail to let the group rest and to gather up the slower riders who were following not far, but safely behind. I turned around and, to my amazement, found that Peter had been one of the riders in our fast group! There he was, standing on his sled with both arms in the air and a victory grin on his face.
It was an awesome week culminating in Peter’s high-speed ride on Friday. We all commented on what a magnificent role model Peter makes. He knows just how to enjoy life to its fullest, regardless of age or experience. He showed us that a passion for life, risk taking, making new friends, and having new adventures is just as important at 70 as it was at 30. The experience taught me a few life lessons:
Design a life that engages you each and every day.
Peter exercises daily, including weights, cardio and stretching to keep his body fit to enjoy the same activities he did when he was 40.
Mistakes are the stepping stones to success
Peter lost control of his sled during the first morning and did slight damage to the machine and thankfully none to him. He used that experience to adjust his style so by the fifth day he was riding competently and aggressively.
Peter has an extremely optimistic view of life and people, his energy is contagious.