Step by Step

 Imagining and accepting a challenge is admirable, inspiring and exciting, but making it actually happen is another challenge.  Making it happen takes work.  The bigger the challenge, the harder the work, and to make the work manageable; to really get it done, you need a plan.  Four-time Iditarod Champion, Martin Buser, reminds us that “the harder we work, the luckier we get.”

He also reminds us that planning is everything.

You know the old adage – If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  After you make your plan, you have to take the first step. There is a lot of glory and fanfare that comes with taking the first step, but that second step is where real grit is needed.  The hardest thing you do is take the second step.

Iditarod mushers, obviously, take far more than the second step, but before the race begins there is a ton of planning to be done.  All those steps.  Martin Buser is a meticulous planner.  His drop bags are packed precisely according to plan.  Every bag of supplies is packed with its use in mind.  It must open in a particular way and land in his frozen hand a particular way in order to reduce the problems of frozen hands and sleep-deprived brains.

Helping our students anticipate what they will need when they arrive in a variety of situations is one of the most useful things we do.  They won’t be surprised by the struggles they encounter because they knew what to expect.

The next few months’ lessons will be about what it takes to make and implement the plans an Iditarod musher needs to be successful.  Our dearest hope is that our students will transfer this knowledge and experience to the challenges they face in their own lives and be ready to be successful.

This month’s lessons include an inspirational piece for which students will write Found Poetry. To help with this lesson, I have included a piece that I wrote as a sample – in the words of Howard Farley.  The next lesson joins health awareness, community service and one of the most inspiring mushers I know, Mike Williams.  Appropriately, I call this lesson make a pledge.  For the final lesson this month we will get down to one of the many exercises in the math of planning the race in a lesson I call Pound for Pound .

The very best example that we can give our students is to challenge ourselves everyday and share those experiences with them.  Everyday there is a new challenge.

My latest challenge was finding the best fit in cold weather gear while it was over 100 degrees here.

Still on the trail with Rookie,