The Prize at the End of the Journey Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 343

This week, while my grandchildren were here, we decided to make the trip to Cleveland’s West Side zoo attraction during the heat of the day. We, along with what seemed like the rest of the county, trekked through the exhibits from the flamingos to the elephants.

The Cleveland zoo was built on very hilly acreage, which is easy for the young, but not so much for the young at heart to navigate. I was willing to call it quits during the Australia exhibit with the wallabies, red and grey kangaroos. But the kids wanted more. They wanted the primate house which was situated exactly 1250 feet above the second tier of the park.

They were so excited; how could I refuse them?

We began the climb, hiking with the youngest in the stroller, up the seemingly endless ramps and stairways more like the Billy goats we had seen than humans capable of walking.

We finally arrived at the precipice to see the monkeys, gorillas and orangutans. It was 4:55; the exhibit was closing, and we ducked inside under the irritated glance of the zoo employee. A few primates, sleeping behind the glass enclosure, waiting to enjoy their daily portion of food, out of the view of the visitors, was all we saw. We rushed through with the gatekeeper on our heels back into the heat to stand in line for the tram back down the hill and the main gate.

All our journeys, especially those we embark upon with great anticipation, may turn out to be much less than we hoped for. Life and business can be full of surprises and disappointments, large and small. But part of the lesson is in the trek. Working hard, doing more than we even thought possible, and at times to be met at the end with little to show for all that labor.

The only way to succeed is to continue the climb, exert the sweat and keep on going. More times than not, you’ll find that beautiful animal waiting to see you at the top of the hill, or the company that says, “wow, you’re exactly what we needed to get our business growing beyond our expectations.”

Keep on climbing, never give up. There’s often a prize at the end of the journey.

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