Running the Rapids

RiverRapidsIn his bestseller, Undaunted Courage, Stephen Ambrose provided a detailed description of the 1804-1806 Lewis & Clark expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back. Nearing the end of their travel to the Pacific, these intrepid explorers realized that parts of their journey on the Columbia River would be rough and extremely dangerous. When they came to Celilo Falls, they concluded that they would have to portage their heavy provisions and equipment around one 20-foot drop and carefully lower their canoes over the falls using elk skin rope. They were intent on minimizing the number of portages on this river as winter was coming on and portaging is arduous and time-consuming. After that portage around the waterfall, they re-loaded their canoes, climbed back aboard, and shot the remaining raging rapids and relative small drops at Celilo, as well as those downstream at The Dalles. In Ambrose’s words, “The natives, expert canoeists themselves, did not believe Lewis and Clark could do it in their big, heavy dugouts. They gathered by the hundreds along the banks to watch the white men drown themselves, and to be ready to help themselves to the abandoned equipment afterward. But, to the astonishment of the Indians, the Americans made the run without incident.” 

As an entrepreneur, you have no doubt been forced to make uncomfortable decisions when facing your version of “the rapids”. You either knew or sensed that there were onlookers who fully anticipated your drowning. And yet you paddled for all you were worth. And that’s what sets you apart. You’re a doer rather than a looker. A competitor rather than a spectator.

Hats off to you.

4 responses to “Running the Rapids

  1. thank you Doug.. I have been labeled by the Old Skyline Counsel as an “Encourager” of others.. Never will forget that warm label, however, your blog rocks my boat with Encouragement.. Job well done Mr. Roof!!!

    Now, get that damn golf game in order so we can shoot below par when we go to Arizona….

    Dave

  2. Dave, you’re a perfect example of a Lewis & Clark-type entrepreneur. I’m glad the message resonated with you.

  3. Great post Doug, I love the analogy. I am sure that going through the rapids was stressful, but you would hope that they also found some excitement in it. It seems these can be two sides of the same coin.

  4. Yes, I agree, John. Great entrepreneurial perspective. Thanks for sharing and expanding the message.

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