How to Leverage Adventure In Life To Succeed In Business
What does the word “adventure” bring to mind for you? For me, an adventure is an experience that gets me out of my comfort zone. An undertaking. It’s challenging, exhilarating, and risky. If you’re a startup founder and that sounds like your average Tuesday – that’s a good thing. Throughout my life, I have sought out experiences that get my blood pumping and heart racing, from heliskiing to mountain climbing to diving and spearfishing, and even just my recent decision to live abroad with my family in Italy for a year. While I’m not averse to risk and I enjoy these experiences, there’s another reason I pursue them. Our work and our life aren’t two separate entities, they’re intertwined. They impact each other. Seeking out adventure in life provides valuable lessons that you can leverage to help you succeed in your work. Here’s how to do it.
5 Tips For Leveraging Adventure To Succeed in Business
1. Embrace Risk:
I talk about risk all the time. Being open to risk is a mindset. It’s something you can develop over time. Adventure often involves taking risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone. By taking calculated risks, and preparing for them, you realize that even the most intimidating challenges can be overcome if you break down your approach and develop a mindset that is open to learning. By building up your experience with and tolerance for risk in your personal life, you’ll learn lessons that you can leverage in your work.
In life and business, calculated risk can lead to opportunities if you aren’t afraid to try. Risk isn’t your enemy. Fear is.
2. Build Resilience:
The startup journey is brutal and full of challenges, failure, and adversity. You have to be resilient to survive. Seeking out adventurous experiences will help you build resilience, which is a critical life skill, in the business world, especially in the high-risk, high-failure world of startups. The reason is, adventure naturally comes with challenges and obstacles to success, which you have to overcome to achieve your goal. The tools you leverage and the resilience you tap into in what can feel like (and sometimes are) very high-stakes situations are then available to you in other contexts as well. The decision-making, analysis, and patience you use to rappel safely down a rock wall benefit you in the boardroom, too.
3. Practice Adaptability:
This goes hand-in-hand with resilience. You have to be able to adapt in business – and especially in the world of tech startups. In adventure, when you face an unexpected obstacle, you have to be adaptable enough to change your plan on the fly, without being impulsive or emotional. The ability to think clearly in a stressful situation and to remain calm enough to be adaptable is critical in business, too. Seeking out adventure will help you hone the critical ability to pivot your strategy in response to new circumstances or information while staying true to your mission. Being adaptive as a person makes you a stronger leader and being adaptive as a company makes you naturally more competitive and resilient to challenges like market fluctuations and changes in consumer preferences.
Remember that Netflix’s original business model was shipping DVDs through the US Postal Service. If they weren’t adaptable, they’d be dead in the water now.
4. Develop Creativity:
Startup founders know you don’t have to be from a creative field to be creative. Creativity is a prerequisite for anyone who wants their business to grow, scale, and thrive. Success in the startup world requires creative problem-solving skills, which means being creative in the way you think and approach problems. Adventure in life teaches you to navigate a situation with a creative mind, improvising and coming up with collaborative solutions to resolve complex problems, navigate difficult terrain, or get back to your vehicle or base safely. The best-laid plans go awry. Knowing you can pull through challenging times with a creative, optimistic approach gives you the confidence you’ll need when your team is depending on you to keep the ship afloat.
5. Cultivate Networking:
If you’re engaged in fundraising for your startup, you know how small your network can feel. Even outside of asking for financial investment, if you’re always talking to the same people, you’ll always get the same advice and ideas. Seeking out opportunities for adventure can help you expand your network, meet new people, and make new connections. Over my career, I’ve met people and developed a relationship with people while on adventurous pursuits who would never have returned my phone call if I had cold-called them. Sure, not every connection you make will be a direct fit for your business. But I’ve had conversations with people I’ve met deep sea fishing, or sat next to on arctic explorations, that have ultimately impacted my work. Even something small, like a book recommendation that changes how you approach an area of your business. The bottom line: relationships open doors and lead to new opportunities. Create new ones wherever and whenever you can.
Seek out adventure whenever possible.
I’m drawn to entrepreneurship, angel investing, and adventurous pursuits for the same reason: nothing feels better than rising to a challenge. As people and as leaders of companies, we are all capable of more than we think. There is so much to the world outside of the walls of your office that can impact how you lead and grow your company. Never stop seeking out opportunities to challenge yourself.
When you seek out adventure in life, you will gain skills and knowledge that will make you a force to be reckoned with in the high-stakes world of startups.
And don’t forget: enjoy the ride.