Don’t Forget to Appreciate the Journey

What makes an experience unique, meaningful and rewarding? To me it’s the challenges that come with it. I think a lot of people only focus on the results of different objectives. As I began to head down the path of learning how to become a productive, efficient and effective merchant, I constantly remind myself to enjoy the journey.  Yes, I would love to have a very positive result to my summer’s work here at REI.  I will absolutely keep the end game in mind, but if I just focus on the result I may miss out on the adventure that comes with the journey.

FullSizeRenderA Living, Breathing Project

As the third week of my internship wraps up I find myself becoming more comfortable with the systems that I use, but with that comfort comes new challenges.  Continuing to stay on task and push my knowledge level of REI product offerings and the applications that come with them, has become more of an everyday endeavor.  With the need and want to be more and more productive comes a different kind of stress then the original anxiety brought on.  This is the road I want to experience and appreciate.  With these new challenges and demands comes a new level of satisfaction and gratification.  The questions have become more directed, the tasks more demanding and results more meaningful.  Creating and compiling information that could directly result in changes or influence bigger decisions, have motivated me more than I can describe.

As my project entered its second week it had not yet taken shape.  By the end of the week it had metastasized into a living, breathing thing.  As I continue to research and consider different possibilities the project changes shape and pivots on a dime.  The advice that my Category Merchandising Manager provides, at times, blows my mind.  These epiphanies don’t embarrass or frustrate me, they motivate me to learn more and work harder in an attempt to keep up.

Step Back and Accept the Challenge

The road that I am traveling on can best be described as an unimproved surface to this point.  As the summer continues I have no doubt that will change.  The 4×4 I’m driving will soon turn to a two wheel drive 4 cylinder electric car.  The struggles that come with the 4×4 are real and challenging, but if you take a few minutes to step back and think about your path, you may just feel that sense of adventure that comes with a road that requires so much effort to navigate.  I accept these challenges and the challenges of any future obstacles as well.

Tune in next week to hear how the road has changed or how I have been able to overcome the newest challenge REI has presented.

I am an eight year veteran of the United States Army. I served my country as a Forward Observer during two tours - in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am a senior at the University of Arizona and will be graduating December 2016 with a B.S. in Retailing and Consumer Sciences. This summer I'm working as a Merchandising/Buying intern at REI's corporate headquarters in Kent, WA.