Four Things to Know Before You Say Yes to Your Adventure
Can a person be overly excited and scared to death at the same time? Yep!
I was sitting at the intersection of White and Broadway in lower Manhattan on a motorcycle I’d never ridden before in the biggest city in the United States… and I felt like I was going to throw up.
It was four years ago this week that I was looking the experience of a lifetime dead in the eye. I only had 15 days, 11 states, and 4690 miles ahead of me… riding from NYC to San Francisco.
But this isn’t where my story began. It started 100 years before with two women who bet on themselves, beat the odds, and became the first women in history to ride a motorcycle coast to coast. They were the mother/daughter duo of Avis and Effie Hotchkiss and their story inspired me to embark on my own cross-country journey.
Before I even got to that physical intersection, I had to say YES to the adventure.
If I had to guess, you’re sitting at an intersection somewhere in your life and you’re contemplating what to do. There’s something you’ve been thinking about (maybe it’s still a secret) or talking about (half serious, half not) and you feel this pull that you can’t ignore (I like to call it your ‘inner rumble’).
You are being called into an adventure where you are just on the edge of going for it but you’re still hanging on by your pinky toe. (Been there…)
Here are four things you need to work out so you can say a hearty YES to this adventure.
1. Rumble with Risk
There’s risk in everything we do. We can ask for the business (or the raise, or the promotion, or the relationship) at the risk of being rejected. We can launch a new product or service at the risk of not making any money. We can try something new at the risk of failing. T.S. Eliot said, “Only those who will to risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
The first question is… what are you willing to risk? Are you willing to risk rejection to get what you want? Are you willing to risk not getting what you believe in (your work) out into the world to making a pile of money? Are you willing to risk honoring your courageous self to not trying at all?
The second question is… will it be worth it? If you’re willing to rumble with risk, the answer is always yes.
2. Use the Fear
You know the feeling of having a pit in your stomach when you’re facing something big? You might label it fear. It’s supposed to be there… trying to keep you safe. But it has another function… it’s confirmation that you’re on the right track. (Unless, of course, it’s the primal fear that you’re in danger.)
Fear is you knocking on the door of your purpose. It’s not the absence of courage but the launching point of something you haven’t done or experienced before. You’re being invited into a space that’s bigger than you’re in right now and it’ll require courage to fully step into it. Just know… it’s OK to be afraid because it means you’re about to do something really brave.
3. Plan but Pivot
So many times I see people who want to have it all figured out before they even consider the yes. What do they say? Plan for the worst and expect the best? You can’t engineer uncertainty out of anything by having a well-documented plan. Shit happens, right? You can, however, take a structured view of what your adventure looks like, plan as much as you can ahead of time, but allow for the time and space to pivot where and when you need to.
- If I quit my job to do my own thing, I’ll need $20K in the bank.
- I’ll have a conversation structure in place when meeting with a potential new client but will give myself permission to go off script.
- I’ll map out the roads that will get me to San Francisco, but allow for detours.
I used to believe that life was best lived by flying by the seat of my pants. But I now plan enough to feel confident in the way forward but I don't spend excessive time engineering something I can't control. That's just part of the adventure, right!?!
4. Believe in You
One of my favorite quotes is, “It's impossible, said pride. It's risky, said experience. It's pointless, said reason. Give it a try, whispered the heart.” The belief we have in ourselves comes from our heart, the inner-most part of who we are. You don’t have to feel 100% equipped or 100% confident in your skills or know 100% of what it’ll take… you just need to believe that if you get to a point where you’re unsure, that you have what it takes to figure it out. It’s called agency. And agency, that true belief in yourself, will serve you when adventure comes knocking on your door.
I’m a big fan of Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey. I’ve lived the hero’s journey several times in my life. It’s a story arc we all follow.
The hero’s journey starts with a call to adventure. Our hero (you) will probably refuse the call at first, listing all the reasons why you can’t say yes but eventually the hero will rumble with the risk, use fear to fuel desire, plan enough to be confident, and finally believe in herself (and her calling) in order to get to the YES.
Because without the YES, there will be no adventure.
What adventure are you ready to say YES to?