By Gino Blefari
This week my travels took me to the majestic state of Montana, to Big Sky Country, to the heart of Lewis and Clark’s westward expedition. I began my trip in Bozeman speaking with the outstanding agents, managers and staff at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Montana Properties then traveled along Interstate 90 toward Missoula for another presentation with the Montana Properties team.
For those who have never driven on I-90, it’s a highway famous for its scenic surroundings, a modern-day trail through America’s unspoiled territory, where “Home on the Range” comes to life in meandering rivers, roaming antelope, dense forests and snowcapped mountains. I was lucky enough to drive with Montana Properties Broker/Owners Mike Basile and Dan Ermatinger, who had much to say about the highway and Montana’s awe-inspiring landscape.
I listened as Mike told the history of the area—stories of old mining towns and Lewis and Clark’s adventures along the Missouri river—as we continued on our own journey west. Then Dan spoke about first arriving in Montana as an 18-year-old college student at the University of Montana in Missoula, eager to make his mark on the world, ready to pursue his dreams in this sprawling land of opportunity.
And there on I-90, a turquoise Montana sky stretched before us, hearing Dan describe his early years in business and Mike talk tales of the past, I thought about how difficult but rewarding it can be to traverse uncharted frontiers, eager to blaze a new path.
As leaders, this is often our defining struggle: How do we innovate while trekking (somewhat) fearlessly into the unknown? I can only imagine how Lewis and Clark felt, crossing the Continental Divide as it snakes across Montana, navigating the very spine of the Rocky Mountains without a road or map to guide them …
”… the river being very high, the sandbars were so rolling and numerous, and the current so strong, that we were unable to stem it even with the oars added to our sails; this obliged us to go nearer the banks, which were falling in, so that we could not make, though the boat was occasionally towed, more than fourteen miles.” – William Clark, June 15, 1804
So, what’s the message? There’s a certain inherent fear in tackling any new endeavor, whether it be starting a new job, meeting a new client, or crossing dangerous rivers and traveling across undiscovered land. But true growth never comes easy and the only way to find it is by journeying onward—no matter how uncomfortable—while always keeping your eyes on the road ahead.