Brilliance nuggets and the Appalachian trail

Brilliance Nuggets and the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. It ranges from Maine to Georgia and is 2,193 miles in length. Hikers pass through 14 states on their A.T. journey. The trail follows the ups and downs of the terrain including serious alpine regions. The approximate gain and loss in elevation are a whopping 464,500 ft. Thru-hikers hike the whole trail in 5 1/2 – 7 months. Wow.

So far, I have never hiked the entire trail – I’d like to someday. But I have hiked the stretch that goes through the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. Being a Graduate student a the time, I could not do it all at once. Instead, friends and I hiked it in sections. In fact, that is the approach some take for hiking the entire trail: Hike it in sections.

I recall reading an autobiographical book by Bill Bryson, “A Walk In the Woods.” He began hiking the trail with his rather out-of-shape friend. They pressed on despite all kinds of challenges they encountered. Finally, they got to Gatlinburg in Tennessee. There, while dining, they saw a 3D map of the A.T. on the wall.

They say how tiny the stretch they had covered so far was – compared to the total length of the trail. It seemed like after all the hard work they had gone through they had barely begun their journey. Disheartened by that vision, they decided to skip a piece of the trail and resume hiking it further North.

What Does the A.T. Have to Do with the “Brilliance Nuggets“?

Writing one Brilliance Nugget per day for one year is a bit like hiking the A.T. True, I’m not in danger of getting blisters, encountering bears, or getting bitten by mosquitoes. But at least one thing is the same. It is a long journey.

How do we tackle any long journey? One step at a time. There is no other way.

Today, I’m writing my 32nd Brilliance Nugget. 32 divided by 365 days means I have now completed 8.8% of my Brilliance Nugget “trail.”

You could say “only 8.8%.” Or you could say, “wow, 8.8%! That went by quickly.” I’m going to go with the second interpretation. And so far, I’m loving the journey.

The other thing that helps with big goals and long journies is to get support. In my case, there is Robert – and there is you all. Or “y’all” as we say in Texas.

Robert is the person who challenged me to do this in the first place. He reminds me sometimes why I’m doing it – pull my “brilliance” out of my brain, and engage y’all in the idea that you are brilliant!

Thank YOU!!!

Which brings me to you. Your support has been tremendous. You keep me on this journey. Thank you!

Also, a friend and client of mine asked me whether he could share some the Brilliance Nuggets with his clients. He said he’d give me credit. I would get exposure to business owners who hadn’t heard of me yet. Of course, I said yes. That is so cool.

Another dear friend commented “Your ability to make words become more than just letters on the page is inspiring! I can hear your voice as I read this! Love it!” That is so cool. I’m humbled.

I was also asked “I understand some of the motivation for doing this and it will create a buildup of great content for a future book or …?? But, have you thought about how you will monetize this in the short term?”

Great question. No, there is no immediate monetization. Good things will happen – they are already happening.

“You Are Building a Movement!”

Above all, as another friend pointed out “You are building a movement.” A movement?!

Yes, a movement of people who realize they are brilliant. You, too, have brilliance to pass on. And if you do it with a system, you can leverage the heck out of it – and make it immortal at the same time.

I’m Curious

Which journey do you want to take on or already have taken on? How are you breaking it up into small consistent steps? Who is supporting you?

Live brilliantly,

Dr. Stephie


  1. Carolyn Koenig on at

    I think all goals are taken one step at a time! I have been working on fitness most of my life and realize that if I were to try to accomplish all my exercise goals, nutrition goals, and general wellness goals all at the same time, it wouldn’t happen. I started small and made tweaks along the way. I realize it is a life-long journey.

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Carolyn,what a beautiful example! Good for you!

  2. Don Hicks on at


    I just finished laying 200 linear feet of stone in the six gardens around our house.

    I didn’t have a detailed plan only how many linear feet in each garden.

    I have never laid stone before, so I laid it one stone at a time. I started September 1st, and finished today October 10, 2021. Forty days of pacing myself not to work too hard or get too hot.

    My cardiologist said, at 67, you just need to pace yourself. Stones weigh between 10 and 80 pounds, with the average about 30 pounds.

    Thanks for the nuggets.

    Don Hicks

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Don, that is awesome! Great job!

  3. Tom on at

    Great post Stephie! Keep up the good work, one day at a time!!

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Tom, Thank you so much! Your encouragement means a lot to me.

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