In the interview today Jake and I talk about going after your goals. Jake Bramante lives very close to Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park has 734 miles of hiking trails, and Jake traveled all of those in one year, 2011. He’s the only person to have done that. He shared the experience of going after his goals on his blog Hike734. What I’d like to elaborate on at the end of the interview is what it means when you cross the finish line; when you set out on a goal and you do something and what that means for you as an individual and a person and what happens when you don’t.
Glacier National Park, located in northwestern Montana, has 734 miles of hiking trail in it. Jake Bramante lives in Kalispell, MT which is located a few miles from the Park’s west entrance. In 2011, he hiked every trail taking 3 pairs of shoes, 5 months and 1,200 miles to accomplish this goal. He is now busy blogging about Glacier National Park, helping others have amazing trips and heading out on speaking engagements.
Zeb’s Take – Going After Your Goals
That was a fantastic interview with Jake. Definitely different from the past interviews we’ve had on the show. I think it was one of the coolest things to set out on something like that, going after your goals. Really, when I think of these projects that people get themselves into I think — why? Why would someone do something like that? To hike all 734 miles of Glacier National Park, it’s not like someone paid him along the way to do it. He just decided I’m going to go and do this. and I’m going to set this goal and I’m going to make it happen and figure it out from there. He and I chatted after the interview and he brought up some interesting points that I’d like to bring up as well.
In the interview he said he set this goal and set out to do it and sure enough he did. He finished it. But in life there are some times where, all of us like to think that we stick to our word and we’re going after our goals and doing things and finishing those things, and sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. I shared my experience with Running Brothers. Several years ago my brother and I started a running program. We were going after our goals, He was going to become marathoner and I was going to do the Iron Man. It was a huge lofty goal and I trained really hard for it. I did it for about three months. I started to realize that I didn’t like biking, I didn’t like swimming, and I didn’t like running very much. That was a big deterrent, but I didn’t know that when I started. When I started I had never really biked before or swam before. So getting a chance to experience that, and experience it extensively. Then I knew that it was something that wasn’t for me.
After the interview Jake and I chatted. He brought up the story of him trying out for his basketball team when he was in high school. He tried out for the JV team. While he was out there the coach said, “We’ve got a lot of kids trying out this year, if you don’t think you’re good enough to make the team, it’s okay, now’s the time to leave.” Jake had practiced all summer trying to get better for this team, but while he was in tryouts he realized that he wasn’t good enough so he dropped out. That’s the case sometimes. Sometimes you have to know when there is something that other people are doing better than you and you’re not going to be able to get to that level and it’s time to drop out. When it comes to this hiking adventure Jake went on. He did the research and no one had ever done it before. He is the only person to do that. That was something where he could identify himself above and beyond what others have done and he’s been able to leverage that to do other cool things. I know he’s been giving speaking engagements as a result because that is how Adam came to know him and that is why he introduced me to Jake for the podcast. There’s a lot of different things he’s been able to do since then.
When you look back on your life what are the things you want to look back on? You want to look back on those cool things you did. “When I was young and crazy I hiked 734 miles one summer just for the heck of it. Why not? Then afterwards as a result I was able to make a living out of that whole experience. Because I was the only person to do it.” I think that is a cool story, very compelling. I admire him greatly for doing that.
In this business what I really like doing, is — I don’t like doing the same things all the time. I don’t like repetitiveness, I don’t like monotony. I like doing different things and experiencing different things. The podcast is awesome. I like the chance to interview different people, but this is a project it’s not something that it going to go on forever. My other business Welborn Media is something that I like doing. As the business has grown I start to see different patterns. Originally my sister Lacey was doing website design, she realized it wasn’t for her so now we have someone else to do websites. We’re not focused on marketing and selling website design as much any more. We found a niche in the golf industry, I wrote that book, The Social Golf Course. Now we’re selling social media to golf courses. Eventually, as technology changes it might not look the same way, that could shift down the road too.
In our current economy all of these things that we do, if you have these projects in line, then each project kind of builds upon another project. We’ve seen that time and time again with all these different entrepreneurs, business owners and successful people that have been on our show. Mark Sieverkropp even wrote a book about it called Project: Success.
Every project you do, build some notoriety, get some attention and then shift your focus to the next thing. I think that’s the way we’ve got to look at this current economy and how we look at going after your goals. That’s another thing successful people tend to do. I’m going to do this project for a certain amount of time. That will open up doors for other things that I want to do, I don’t know what I want to do, but that will open up doors for what I want to do two years from now.
I thought it was a great interview. We had a lot in common, we’ll stay in touch after this. I also want to ask all of you out there to check us out on Facebook, like our page and comment on our episodes and posts.
Now, go out there and find your success!
Find Out More About Jake Bramante or Hike734
Visit Hike734.com. From there you can get to all of Jake’s other channels.
- “I kind of saw my life turning into a Dilbert comic strip. And I knew that I didn’t want to be Dilbert or the pointy haired boss so I decided to kind of reboot my life.”
- “I am finally getting to that point where I think, ‘wow this is actually going to be a really great career.’ But it’s taken a while.”
- “What I really love about it is I’m actually going out there and helping people solve their problem and I’m making some money in the process.”
- “A lot of it was getting over myself and getting that second and third wind.”
- “So many people say, ‘Hey, I have this passion and I’m going to go ahead and turn it into a business.’ The problem is a lot of times you come out with something and it might be great but it also might be something that a lot of other people could come out with as well. I think really trying figure out if there is something that you know or do that can help other people and start from there.”
- “Ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s about working hard and accomplishing stuff.”
- “All these concepts in life most people aren’t interested in because the path then involves you working and being consistent all the time.”
- “Properly defining a goal is the first part to success.”
- “Trying to figure out the proper goals first, making sure that they are good goals and then actually accomplishing those goals.”
More From the Interview
Jake spent about 9 years doing systems administration IT work for local government and then at a corporation. He says, “I kind of saw my life turning into a Dilbert comic strip. And I knew that I didn’t want to be Dilbert or the pointy haired boss. So I decided to kind of reboot my life.”
He had money saved up, sold his house, quit his job and started to work on a video production company that he had been playing around with. He knew he could make some money from it, but he wasn’t sure he could make a living. He gave himself two years where the first year he would work on trying to find out what he wanted to do, the second year he would just go for it and kill it. See if it worked out. During that first year he discovered that no one had hiked all the trails in one summer and I figured that would be a really great project and I could video blog on it. I thought by the end of it I would have assets like potentially a platform and a drive. I knew that I would have a lot of knowledge about the park and a cool story.
When coming up with the idea it was pretty organic. He says, as I was going through this process my friends and I had talked about creating tourism DVDs, I thought that sounded really cool. As I thought about being in the park and how great it would be I started to wonder how many hikes there were. When he researched it he came up with his goal.
Jake was trying to figure how he was going to make a living. He also knew he had the entrepreneur bug. I knew I wanted to do something where I could use my skills to create this website and talk into a camera and put the stuff together.
He says, “I am finally getting to that point where I think wow this is actually going to be a really great career. But it’s taken a while.”
To monetize his project he payed attention to the questions people were asking him about Glacier National Park. His first project that he came out with was a guide for driving up Going-to-the-sun Road, the main road that goes through the heart of Glacier National Park. His next project was a day hiking guide, an aggregate of a bunch of guides and maps and all kinds of things. He learned GIS software and learned about cartography. That is selling well. A great example of going after your goals.
“What I really love about it is I’m actually going out there and helping people solve their problem and I’m making some money in the process.”
When going after your goals there can be a lot of set backs. One of the problems Jake had was was record snowfall. He hadn’t planned for it, but often he just had to wait for snow to melt so that he could go on many of the hikes. He says that wasn’t the biggest obstacle of this project the mental aspect was. Many of the hikes weren’t as nice and manicured as he thought they would be. He told a lot of people he was going to do it, and that gave him added motivation. There were points when he was totally okay if something happened that allowed me to not have to do it, but he didn’t give up.
“A lot of it was getting over myself and getting that second and third wind.”
One of his big takeaways from going after your goals was each and every day working towards that goal. Breaking it down, he can’t hike the entire project in one day, but he can get to this lookout or that lake. As long as he focused on those tiny intermediate goals then it starts to snowball. Jake says, when you get towards the end of it and you just really don’t want anything bad to happen. You realize this whole project is really fragile if you’re not careful.
There was a lot of days he wanted to quit. His friend would invite him places and he couldn’t go. He met a girl he really liked, he couldn’t hang out with her as much as he wanted, she was really supportive. Now she’s his wife.
He also got to see some amazing things. Things that made him set about going after your goals in the first place. He got to see see a sunset, golden hour, a sow and two cub grizzlies digging up roots in a huge meadow. At Grenau Glacier seeing bull moose fighting. So many great cool things that he got to see and experience with other people that made the experience absolutely worth it.
His coolest sight was seeing three black wolves. It was a cool experience, at first he could just hear some noises and he looked and saw a couple flashes of black in the trees. Then they walked out onto the trail and looked at him for a few seconds and disappeared, but they came back. Usually animals ignore you or run away, but these guys were sticking around to check him out. One of them broke away from the bunch walked towards him. Then the wolves ran off and he could hear them howling. He says that was so cool because of the interaction with the animals.
Another cool moment was when he was with his girlfriend, she had never seen a moose, but always wanted to. When it finally happened they didn’t just see one moose, there were 5 and two of them were fighting. Obviously very cool to see. A special moment.
After finishing his goals and documenting on Hike734 he came home, went back and edited all his previous blog posts. He was asked to help non-profit partners of the park with their marketing and branding. After that he came out with his driving guide, worked on this marketing and distribution for that. This year he came out with his day hiking guide. Now he’s looking to see how he can duplicate some of this stuff at other national parks. He wants to hike Zion this fall.
It’s been a process of learning and trying to figure out how to leverage that project and build from it. To take a project and see it from inception to completion, and a project of this scale. Seeing what it’s like going after your goals: to plan it, start it, get through the muddy middle, and then come out on the other side and say I made this, or I’m doing this. Then you just take what you’ve done and what you’ve learned.
“I’m going to start chipping away at other national parks and really see how that goes.”
If you want to do something that seems a little out there Jake suggests figure out more or less the why. If you want to make it an entrepreneurial endeavor the big questions is, is there a market that needs to be served, as opposed to I have this product and I’m looking for a market.
“So many people say, ‘Hey, I have this passion and I’m going to go ahead and turn it into a business.’ The problem is a lot of times you come out with something and it might be great but it also might be something that a lot of other people could come out with as well. I think really trying figure out if there is something that you know or do that can help other people and start from there.”
“Ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s about working hard and accomplishing stuff.”
“All these concepts in life most people aren’t interested in because the path then involves you working and being consistent all the time.”
“Properly defining a goal is the first part to success.”
“Trying to figure out the proper goals first, making sure that they are good goals and then actually accomplishing those goals.”