Grit.  Resilience.  Determination.  Perseverance.  When I deliver the Endurance Leadership program, I encourage attendees to substitute whatever word they like with the word endurance.  While they may not be technically synonymous, I find that people connect with those words similarly based on their experiences.  The word adventure is just as important and just as adaptable.

The word adventure may conjure up images of mountain peaks, but it can mean facing a personal challenge, taking a new job, or starting an exercise program. It resonates with me because in my mind it means something significant, something that has real stakes, and something that takes discipline and endurance to tackle.  What does adventure mean to you?

Adventure Photo

Night training for the Arrowhead 135 Winter Ultramarathon

Why Does Adventure Matter?

Among many other things, we are shaped by our experiences. In my work with professionals, I find again and again that people’s stories matter to them and impact the way they approach life and work. When I ask groups or clients to explore their stories, the tidbits that stand out seem to have consistent themes:  Challenge, adversity, adventure, hardship, struggle, determination, and perseverance.  People talk about difficult childhoods, they talk about travel to wild places, they talk about things they’ve chosen to tackle and those they had no choice but to face.  I use the word adventure in these instances because it connects for many of my clients and groups, but often people insert their own word that captures their personal thoughts better.

Those people I know who seek out adventure do it for a wide variety of reasons.  Personally, I like the challenge and the test those adventures present.  I like finding myself in new situations, only a portion of which are under my control.  Whatever word we use, adventurous experiences shape who we are and how we see the world.

Adventure Inspires

Another reason I spend so much time examining adventures and challenges is that we are all inspired by heroic stories of exploration, determination, and fortitude.  We connect with underdogs, root for people up against all odds, and hope for positive outcomes.  The secret of the workshops I do around adventure, endurance and challenge though is that we don’t need to look outside the room for those stories.  I’ve seen it so many times.  When people start to reflect on things they’ve accomplished, or hear stories from co-workers it becomes clear that inspiration is all around us.  Our friends, co-workers, and members of our communities have stories of grit, resilience and amazing endurance if we are willing to hear them.

Adventure Pushes Us

In a recent blog, Jessie Diggins, a U.S. nordic skier, talked about how she addressed pressure and stress before big World Cup races.  She cited this quote from Andy Andrews.  “Success required the emotional balance of a committed heart. When confronted with a challenge, the committed heart will search for a solution. The undecided heart searches for an escape. A committed heart does not wait for conditions to be exactly right. Why? Because conditions are never exactly right.”

Conditions are never “exactly right” at work or in our lives when an adventure presents itself. When we challenge ourselves or address challenges forced upon us, we are forced to learn and grow.  And, when we successfully tackle an adventure our confidence to face the next challenge should grow as well.

Jerritt Johnston is the Owner of True North Consultants, which promotes organizational, individual and team growth through challenging, fun and relevant activities and processes.  True North is an Authorized Partner for Everything DiSC®and The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™.  Create a unique adventure and training event for your team Leadership Giants at Giants Ridge, in Biwabik, MN.