Even More Lessons From the Trail

Lessons From the Summit: the Next Pinnacle

Nearly one year ago, I was working on my first column to you as your 2022-2023 SMPS president. In that article, Lessons From the Trail (and the follow-up column, Lessons From the Summit), I shared hiking-inspired takeaways that help me keep an eye on the bigger picture. Serving as Society president these past several months has been a continued exercise in thinking big picture while collaborating with the board of directors and staff to position our association for the future.

So, before I “take a hike” and end my term as Society president (couldn’t resist the wordplay!), I’m revisiting the trail metaphor and the lessons I’ve been reminded of along the path.

It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. Life is busy and full of challenges. And with a deadline-driven industry like A/E/C, we’ve got a lot going on! But much like a trip to a mountain summit provides a rewarding view, there are benefits to taking the time to engage in volunteer SMPS leadership, from the relationships built to the knowledge gained. And all the while, the experience has allowed me to give back to an organization that has bolstered my career and enriched my life.

Value the history and the lessons it teaches. Hiking is so much more than a good workout—it exercises the mind, as well, by providing opportunities to learn about and reflect on the characteristics and history of the land the trails traverse. Serving as SMPS president this year has been an exercise in contemplation, as well, and an opportunity to acknowledge with gratitude those who came before us and started this great organization.

Know when it’s time to blaze a new trail. Indianapolis is home to a state park that my husband and I have hiked probably hundreds of times over the past 20 years. A couple of years ago, we discovered that a section of one of our favorite trails had closed, directing us to a new path that led us to our destination. As we look ahead to the next 50 years of SMPS, it’s important that we remain agile and open-minded to new possibilities and alternative pathways that will help us meet our vision.

Embrace “freudenfreude.” While schadenfreude involves taking pleasure when witnessing someone’s misfortune, I much prefer its opposite—freudenfreude. As someone who loves exploring the great outdoors, I’ve experienced freudenfreude many times this summer by being happy for friends who are getting out there (post pics, please!). For SMPS, it translates to being excited for those who will help lead SMPS after my term is through. SMPS board terms are temporary for many reasons—an ever-changing board allows for diversity of thought by engaging new leaders, helps prevent burnout, and creates opportunity for others. While the year went by quickly, I’m confidently handing the gavel to Dana Lancour, FSMPS, CPSM, who—along with the 2023-2024 board, SMPS HQ staff, and our amazing volunteers from coast to coast—will take the organization to new heights.

See you out there.


Article written by SMPS President Holly Bolton, FSMPS, CPSM, who is owner of 3chord Marketing. She can be reached at holly@3chord-marketing.com.

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