Learning to Adventure – Accomplishing the Dream

It started with one of “those” talks

Yesterday, Sharkman and I were having one of “those” talks. One of those, “how are we going to make this adventure life work?” talks. We have them often. They are enlightening, exciting, scary and frustrating all at once.

As entrepreneurs, It’s incredibly freeing to live life on your own terms, to choose what YOU do on any given day. It also means that you choose the size of your paycheck or if one comes at all. There are many “boardroom discussions” on how to make it work, many trials and errors, many frustrating days. Many days it’s hard to know if your ladder is on the right wall or if there is even a wall there to support you. Some days you’re flying high and others you’re shaking your head wondering where to go next.

And so this played out yesterday in the discussion of, “Why was it so easy (relatively speaking) to accomplish the dream of climbing the world’s highest mountains, yet so difficult to accomplish the dream of a wildly successful entrepreneurial business?” Because, to us, if we are successful in one, we should be successful in the other.

It’s the ladder and the wall.

adventure couple

Get your ladder on the right wall

The steps were not hard to reach the highest mountain top. Follow one ladder after another. The ladders were pretty much in place. Don’t get me wrong here, it took an incredible amount of training and commitment and chutzpah to stand on that summit, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about knowing the right steps to take, which ladder to climb, figuratively speaking.

When Ridlon decided to climb the 6th highest mountain in the world, he knew he needed to climb smaller ones first and before that he had to get his physical body in shape. He climbed a 14er in Colorado, then went to Nepal and climbed two 20,000’ peaks and so on until he reached the top of Cho Oyu, the 6th highest peak in the world at just under 27,000 feet. An amazing goal.

 But when you don’t know where to place the ladders, where to even begin, it becomes more frustrating.

So I thought this through the other way around. For us, the steps to adventure are easy, the steps to building a business are more challenging. Then I was struck by the realization that for so many people who want a more adventurous life, perhaps it’s the opposite.

In the “normal” world, you go to work and you have a plan for success in your job. There’s a corporate structure to follow, the ladders are on the wall, you simply have to climb them (not such an easy task perhaps but the blueprint is there). But what about adventure? What if your dream is to sail across the Atlantic in your own boat? Or climb Mt. Everest? How the Hell do you do that? What walls should the ladders be on? Where does one even go to GET the ladders?

Where am I going with this post?

I have no idea. But I know it’s about the right ladders on the right walls.

I’ve discovered through this journey, that our mission to help you get the ladders and get them on the right wall to adventure. You will need to climb them yourself of course but we’ll be there on the ladder next to you, encouraging you all the way and helping you find the next rung.

So, what’s your idea of adventure? How can we help you find the path to it? How can we help you live a more adventurous life?

Here are three KEY steps.

 1. Dream Big

What is it you’ve always wanted to do? You know, we’ve talked about it, the Bucket List thing. In fact, everyone is talking about it these days, living your passion, doing what you were “born to do” and all that. And I applaud it! It’s about finding yourself at the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s about being happy with your short time on this planet. It’s about really, truly, honestly, doing what you want to do. You can read a gazillion blogs about it.

My father told me as a very young girl to live my life by design and not by default. I’ve always carried that with me and that’s what’s given me the fighting entrepreneurial drive. My mother always taught me to be a free spirit and that’s given me wings.

But….dreaming big is easy. Living big is another thing altogether.

So we get these great ideas and we get all tingly with excitement. We get out some poster board and build “The vision board”. On Friday night, we invite our friends over and we all build our boards, drink a little wine, get excited. Then we step back and look at all we’re going to do and the big life we are going to live, we drink a little more wine and congratulate ourselves and our friends. We have a fantastic time of it and drink a little more wine. We are ready to take on the world!

vision board

Saturday arrives and with it the hangover. We spend the morning downing glasses of water and ibuprofen, sit on the couch and channel surf. Then on Sunday, the lawn gets mowed and Dodgers win a game and we begin to dread Monday morning. And then life becomes too busy and too complicated for the dream….all that’s left of the big life is the hangover and a discarded vision board in the corner of the room and the corner of our life.

2. Go Sequential

This is a huge key. Go back to Friday night but with a little less wine. Look at all the goals on the vision board. Pick ONE. I believe the adage that if you chase two rabbits you’ll catch neither. Find the first dream you want to accomplish. Or put them on a list in order of how you will do them. But you must make a decision. Don’t tell yourself you can multi-task and do more than one at once. Because up until this time in your life you’ve done NONE of them, so what makes you think you can do two? Pick one.

3. Now Start Small

It’s Saturday morning and here you are with no hangover and ONE big dream. Perfect. Much better.

Here is the next step to a big life. Start small. Yep. Downsize the goal. What? Listen to me. Newsflash! You want to climb Mt. Everest? You can’t do it in a day. You have to have smaller, ACCOMPLISHABLE goals first. You need intermediate goals that are fun and exciting and that will propel you to the one big dream.

Let’s get the first ladder up on the right wall.

Let’s use the dream of climbing the big Mt. E for an example. Let’s talk about the small steps. You are in reasonable shape, can run a few miles and are modestly physically active.

Choose your first goal. Climb a 10,000 foot mountain. Pick one. Plan to go there and make all the arrangements for sometime in the next four weeks. Done. You now have your first step to climbing Mt. Everest.

This is a very do-able goal. Come on out to Montana. There is a 10,000 foot mountain 20 minutes from my house. Camp in my backyard, heck we’ll hike it with you. Plan it for a month from now. Get into a fitness routine for four weeks. That’s it. Easy.

Now the goal is not “How the Hell am I going to climb Mt. Everest?” The goal is..hey, I’m going to go and train for four weeks and climb a 10,000 foot mountain. What a great idea. Bring along some friends. Make yourself accountable. Easy. Do-able.

You can do this over a weekend, no need to take time off work. So within the first 4-6 weeks of deciding to climb the world’s highest mountain, you’ve made a plan of an intermediate goal and you’re on your way. Focus on the 10,000 footer and have fun!

Step two. Set up the next ladder.

Okay, 10,000 footer in the bag. What’s the next step? Maybe 14,000 feet. There are 54 of them in Colorado. Maybe you should plan this one for the winter since of course, it’s freezing ass cold on Mt. Everest.

Then you’ll need some serious mountaineering skills. Step three. Sign up for a mountaineering course.

And so forth.

The point here is that you MUST take small steps to accomplish big goals. These small steps must be fun and exciting enough to keep you focused.

You can dream board your way into a dull life without action

You can make vision boards and visualize and dream and on and on and on ad naseum for the rest of your life and still find yourself sitting on the couch a decade from now, too old to ever climb Mt. Everest. You want to live big? You’ve GOT to take the first step. If the first step is small, you’ll make it.

Need help getting the ladder on the right wall? Ask us. Tell us your dreams of adventure. Let’s get you on the path to a more adventurous life.

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