A Forum Retreat to Remember
It was snowing hard, and I was cutting first tracks through fresh powder. It was the perfect way to end our EO Catalyst Forum’s 800-mile, week-long snowmobile trip across Northern Québec. We were riding in the kind of weather that inspired man to create snowmobiles in the first place. I looked in my mirror to make sure I hadn’t lost anyone, and was relieved to see my friend Mike’s headlight behind me. I made out two more lights, which meant that our faster, seven-person team was still together. I could continue whipping along on the trail.
When it comes to snowmobiling, there’s a lot to contend with: snow dust, powerful sleds, tight turns, trees, ice, limited signage, etc. It’s not uncommon for new riders to miss a corner, tip a sled or simply run off the trail. So it was not terribly surprising that EO Chairman Emeritus Peter Thomas, who had never driven a snowmobile, crashed his sled on the first day of our trip (before lunch, no less!). What did surprise me was the incredible amount of improvement he had made by week’s end.
After blasting along for another 30 minutes on the final, snowy day, I pulled over to let the group rest and the slower riders catch up. I turned around and, to my amazement, found that Peter had been one of the riders in our fast group! He was standing on his sled with both arms in the air, a victory grin on his face in the classic “Rocky” pose. Few men in their 70s have the wherewithal to go snowmobiling, and even fewer can ride as fast as I do. Only one man I know can achieve these feats after he’d only been riding for one week: Peter Thomas.
All in all, it was an awesome Forum retreat. We all commented on what a magnificent role model Peter makes. He knows how to enjoy life to the fullest, regardless of age or experience. He showed us that a passion for life, risk-taking, making new friends and having new adventures is just as important at 70 as it was at 30. As I reflect on the inspirational week spent with Peter, I’ve observed several important lessons that I have since applied to my business and life.
To read my lessons learned, visit