Yesterday I woke up at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
How did I get to Phantom Ranch? Murray and I rode mules.
A mule is a cross between a donkey and a horse, but it’s as tall as a horse. So we were seven feet over the Grand Canyon looking down a mile deep.
They train these mules to walk on the edge of the Canyon. If you can imagine: You have no control, your life is entrusted to a mule, and you’re walking on the edge of the canyon just looking down and down and down and you could easily plummet to your death.
Before we got onto the mules, they told us: “Over the last hundred years, we’ve taken over a million people on mules to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and we’ve never lost one because of the mule.”
They gave us two pieces of advice:
- Trust the mule.
- Trust your guides.
As I spent a whole day walking down to the bottom of the Canyon and a whole day walking back up, I realized what incredible advice that was.
Even though you’re not riding a mule through life, there’s a part of you that’s instinctive — that’s kind of like that mule. There’s a part of you that you need to learn how to trust, because as you walk through life it sometimes does feel like you’re looking down over a gaping canyon — that you could fall to your death as you take these risks, as you go anywhere that’s worthwhile in life.
As you look down at the bottom of the canyon, there are two responses:
- You can let the fear paralyze you.
- You can learn how to trust.
Learn how to trust the mule, and learn how to trust the guides. That mule really is that part of you — that instinctive part that knows what it wants, that knows why it’s here, that knows what to do even when your mind tries to convince yourself that you don’t know.
And the guides? Those are the people that you choose to support you on your journey through life.
Over the last two days, I really learned how to trust the mule and trust the guides. It took us maybe 15 minutes to really get used to the fact that the mule knew way better than myself.
The mule had walked this path thousands and thousands of times and it knew what to do. The mule was sure footed. It would stumble on occasion, but it’s got four legs, not two legs and it’s going to be OK.
All I had to do was let go, relax and enjoy the ride. I really think that that’s what we always have to do — let go, relax and enjoy the ride. Whether you’re going down a mile deep to the center of the earth in the Grand Canyon. Whether you’re going up into space — wherever it happens to be, or whatever it feels like to you.
It’s about letting go, relaxing and enjoying the ride. Learning to trust the mule or whatever that part of you is that knows better than your mind, that knows what you’re here to do, that knows how to do it, and learning to find the right guides in life and to trust them, to become coachable, to let go of feeling like you need to know everything. And to surrender into the unknown.
A friend of mine once had a coach by the name of Maria Lamb and Maria gave her some profound advice. She said, “Your success as an entrepreneur is based on your ability to take action toward that which you cannot see.”
So often the moment we step into the unknown, the moment we feel like we don’t have all the answers, the moment we let go of control — it’s like we freak out. That part of ourselves freaks out, because you can’t know what you have to gain. You can only know what you have to lose.
We’re built that way: To fear what we’re going to lose more than really move towards what we’ve got to gain. It’s so easy to let yourself psych yourself out, rather than to move forward when the reward is incredible. Waking up at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is incredible — to know that maybe a million people have made it to the bottom of the Grand Canyon at that particular location over the last hundred years and to see the world from a new vantage point. It’s incredible.
So I have officially become a master muleskinner in the order who’ve hiked the Grand Canyon trail.
So this is where I went just yesterday, and what I learned coming out the other side is to trust the mules and to trust my guides… and I invite you to do the same.
Now go out there and Live Your Message.