My trail name is Push. That name was given to me by my brother-in-law/hiking partner (Gopher) while on our 28th mile of the AT. For any of you who are wondering just what the hell I am talking about, the AT stands for Appalachian Trail, which most of you here in GA, SC, NC, TN as well as other states can probably identify with. The trail name is different though. Back in the “old school” days, a trail name was given to you by your hiking peers for something you did (and most of the time it was because of something embarrassing or a constant reminder of some hilarious moment to others when you almost died). Over time & with change, people now give themselves their own names, but not me, I consider myself an AT purist and wanted to earn it. So there it finally was, and why is that you say? Gopher listed it out in his Instagram post: Trail Name – Push, Used – Constantly pushing ahead, pushed up inclines, ready to go another mile, motivated to keep going.

By now you’re asking yourself, what does this have to do with Insurance? Honestly nothing, but when asked to write a blog for our site and tie it in with something I like doing or I’m passionate about, I started thinking and drawing some parallels. Life, Insurance marketing & backpacking aren’t too different after all from a preparation & day to day standpoint, so lace up your boots & hang with me.

A Few Rules to Live by / Keys to Success / How not to die or get in real trouble in the woods:

  • Determine where you’re going, have a plan & anticipate the necessary stops along the way before just heading out. This will help eliminate a lot of problems & trouble going forward…trust me! Always let someone know where you’re going or check in periodically. (Proper Planning)

  • Make sure you’re prepared; have everything you need & check it again. Never underestimate the elements or environment. It’s usually the thing you didn’t expect or prepare for that does you in. Make sure you have what you need especially if things go south on you. Doesn’t this sound like Insurance? Make sure you are properly covered for those unexpected events & disastrous scenarios…yep! (Preparation)

  • Don’t over-pack! I think every backpacker has made the mistake of over packing or taking too much stuff because it’s easy to do and you always think you’ll need more than you actually use. Learning this balance is essential as in your workload balance. If you pack in too much without the right balance, it’s only going to slow you down and you will never be as efficient as you can be. (Balance)

  • Remember that you are accountable & dependent on yourself since there are many times when there is no one around to help. You’re on your own! (Accountability)

Group of hikers

  • The hiking/back packing community can be a very tight knit group and it’s great to get to know as many people as possible since you never know when you’ll see them again or even need their help. I truly feel our industry is the same, made up of a bunch of people from all walks of life with the same goal or interests in mind. While we are all at different levels with different destinations, we still have the same interests at heart & are in it together within a community in which we can rely on each other. I would be remiss if I didn’t emphasis that Risk Innovations is here to help YOU with any of your Workers’ Comp & Personal Lines needs. (Relationship Building)

  • Stay on the Path, know the signs and pay attention to where the trail is taking you…especially when it changes direction! Make sure you’re not too caught up in making the miles that you won’t stop to enjoy the views and vistas. It’s truly about the journey so enjoy those moments, but be prepared to keep moving. (Perspective)

Appalachian Trail sign

Just remember that like life on the trail or life in the office, some days are sunny & amazing, some have you cold, wet & miserable after getting rained on for 2 days straight and you never think it’s going to stop, some days you don’t feel like you can go any further & some you never want to end. So there you go, see how all of those things come together? I like to think & hope that my trail name mirrors my everyday name, or at least try to maintain those same traits that earned me that honor. So whenever in doubt…PUSH!


By: Dustin Yost, Territory Manager – AL/GA/MS