40 Leadership Lessons from the Freedom Trail – #20

On the 31st August 2013, Lesley, my wife, and soul-mate retired after 35 years teaching in secondary schools. Two days later, as planned, we set off for a magical celebratory holiday, taking in New York, California and Oregon. Our trip became known as the ‘Freedom Trail’.

While on the Freedom Trail, I journaled every day and ended each entry with a leadership moment/lesson. Here’s another!

Leaders knP1040186ow themselves and are humble

Today we went in search of the Avenue of Giants – which was a truly magnificent place!

The trees rise majestically up into the heavens – no camera can truly capture the ethereal beauty that this place beholds.

Along the rouP1040205te, I mastered yet another ‘drive-thru’ tree. I even managed to do it this time without catching the wing mirrors. We stopped at some amazing places and everywhere we found wood carvings, of all shapes and sizes. Les took a particular liking to many of them. Fortunately, they were all too bulky to fit in our luggage!

There were houses made of tree stumps, native American Indian figures, and lots of bears! My wife was in her element, in particular with the bears, both hugging and photographing them. And then the rain came!

After a horrendous downpour, during which we had to shelter in a cafe – coffee and the best cheesecake we’ve ever had – we watched a river of water flow down the road. The lady on the next table had to take off her socks and shoes and paddle to get to her car! Fortunately, ours was further up the road – and not too bad. Once the rain stopped, we set out in search of the Dyerville tree. We had read of this in our research and were keen to see what one of these giant sequoias looked like when it had fallen.


Here I am in the photograph opposite standing on the Dyerville Tree – a fallen tree, 375 foot long and maybe 30 to 40 feet in girth. You will get a better sense of the rootball of the tree in the next photograph.

These trees are immense. They dwarf the landscape and make us humans seem puny by comparison. Honestly! I am not exaggerating.

I clambP1040247ered up at the top of the tree and walked along to the root ball. A couple of hikers were already sitting on the root ball when Les took this photograph. It gives a great sense of just how massive these trees are. I felt truly humbled.

As we walked around the Avenue, there were many fantastic sights to see. The whole area is an absolute photographer’s delight, and my wife took full advantage of the opportunity presented.

For myP1040272self, I only marvelled at the power of Mother Nature, the splendour and isolation of our surroundings, and the peace and tranquillity I felt just strolling around through these woods. It is a truly magnificent place – majestic, mesmerising, and so peaceful! These trees make you feel so small and insignificant in the overall world of nature – we could have stayed here all day!

Later that night, I reflected on my day and the feelings it evoked in me. I welcomed the sense of timelessness, of vulnerability, awe and wonder. Those and other feelings gave me perspective and brought humility in their wake. For that, I will always remain eternally grateful.

[Tweet “Life is a long lesson in humility. – James M. Barrie”]

As always, I welcome your comments and meaningful dialogue. I am always happy to listen and ready to help. I wish you an entertaining and enlightening experience of this series of posts. Thank you for reading.





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