Described as a “large, hairy, bipedal humanoid” it’s better known as Bigfoot. The story is folklore, misidentification, and hoax. Scientists consider the creature’s existence absurd; there just isn’t any physical evidence. Woodsmen and campers you can breathe easy.
Still, articles like this appear, “What’s The Most Absurd Big Foot Photo You’ve Ever Seen?” It seems John Rodriguez, a retired electrician, is stuck trying to prop up the story.
It would be absurd to cancel your camping adventure because of Bigfoot, right?
What’s about to happen?
Last week, I proclaimed 2015 – The Year of Adventure.
Of course adventure can mean different things. The word is based on the Latin adventurus – “about to happen.” What’s about to happen can be “an undertaking involving danger and unknown risks.” If that’s what you want, go for it.*
Or an adventure can be an “exciting or remarkable experience.” You choose, what do you want this year, as a leader?
The adventure I propose demands you hike out of your comfort zone. A comfort zone captures us when status quo thinking develops into status quo performance, leading to a non-threatening life. Safe. Known. Easy. Comfy.
It’s absurd to think you can take an adventure and stay in a comfort zone. But it’s also absurd to cancel an adventure because of Bigfoot. What are the Bigfoots that keep you in Stuckville? Is it because:
- You’re too busy to notice what’s happened?
- You’re in denial about unproductive behaviors?
- You believe what got you here will get you there?
- You minimize the feedback on your self-limiting performance?
- You rationalize a failure to connect with people?
- You don’t create space to think?
And slowly, the absurd becomes comfortable. You stop adventuring. What happens when a leader becomes comfortable with unproductive behavior? For example, when he or she…
- Tries to exert control over others?
- Tells people what to do as a micro-manager?
- Uses fear or intimidation as a motivator?
- Talks too much and doesn’t listen?
- Fails to effectively set expectations?
While it may be comfortable, it’s ineffective in building self-managed teams of engaged and productive employees that get results.
Your Adventure will require your willingness to change … something. And the stuff we’re talking about is less technical and more “soft skills” or core people skills.
To believe you can stay here and get there is inconsistent with the meaning of growth and development. To see leadership development as an adventure gives energy to the process of change. It’s the quest self-managed teams and leaders take.
The Year of Adventure is here. Will you engage in a process of change to expand your personal influence? What does that look like for your team? For you?
Ready to get uncomfortable?
It’s vital that you create space to think. Here are those three simple questions that will help you write your Adventure Story. And yes, this exercise is best completed with pen and paper in hand…
1. What got you here?
What will you celebrate? What did you achieve?
Who and what are you grateful for?
Who do you appreciate? Who helped you get here? How will they know?
What didn’t work out as you hoped? What did you learn from it?
2. What does there look like?
Two things set us up for a next level breakthrough:
PROMISE – hope for the future, potential, possibilities, and significance.
PAIN – disappointment, frustration, discomfort.
PAIN and PROMISE drive the desire for change.
What behavior limits your positive influence with others?
How might your thinking hold you back?
What can you learn from the truth in your Story – from the feedback, experience, success, and failures?
What does success look like?
3. How will you get there?
What support do you have? Need? Who? When?
What happens if you don’t get there?
Why does it matter that you change…?
Your life-changing adventure calls your name and creates both hope and fear. To change ancient behavior is hard work and can be scary. But you don’t have to worry about Bigfoot.
Leave the absurd behind you. Get out of your comfort zone. Choose adventure. Whatever happens, you’ll have a remarkable experience.
Here’s to The Year of Adventure in 2015!
*For an example of a crazy adventure, watch the must see video of Cody Townsend skiing a straight-line vertical chute deep in Alaska’s Tordrillos Mountain Range at about 60 miles per hour.
Image credit: Eray via flickr