Adventure. The word itself may make your heart beat a little faster and conjure up images of far-away places, exotic strangers, and a hint of mystery. At least that’s what happens to me when the word adventure comes to mind.
For the ladies featured in our cover story, adventure has a different meaning, one related to the outdoors and the ability to tackle physical challenges. For them adventure is about asking your body to perform a little (or a lot!) beyond your comfort zone. It’s about pushing yourself to the limit. And these ladies do! I bet you will be inspired to try something new after you discover how adventure sports can enrich your life.
I like to think of life as a series of adventures. These can be physical—like climbing a rock with your bare hands—or they can be mental, such as learning a new language or attending a networking event by yourself (“You go, girlfriend!”). Then there are emotional adventures, like making a new friend or having a heart-to-heart with someone about a difficult topic. Each of these scenarios involves an element of fear, a decision to move forward or to turn back.
What’s your Adventure Quotient (AQ)? Believe it or not, there’s an AQ test online (just search for it), which will tell you how adventurous you are. But I think you know. When was the last time you did something out of the box, outside your comfort zone? For me, it was driving an ATV on very steep trails in New Zealand recently. I felt sure the ATV and I would go somersaulting off a cliff, but I somehow found the courage to inch down the trail, releasing the handbrake in miniscule increments until I was safely at the bottom—whereupon a steep trail suddenly materialized in front of me, and this time I had to go F-A-S-T up the trail in order not to slide backwards—whereupon I was at the top of another gigantic hill, facing another steep slope straight down.
Somehow I survived my ATV experience, but I’m not planning to sign up for another adventure like that anytime soon. I will admit, however, that by the end of the ride I was zipping merrily along and feeling pretty pleased with myself for finding some measure of inner strength to motivate me to do what needed to be done. Good thing, or else I might still be stuck on one of those steep NZ mountains, waiting to be rescued.
And that’s what adventure is all about. It’s finding your personal strength, your inner resolve to come face to face with an obstacle and overcome it. Sometimes the task feels impossible. I think about when my daughter, Sierra, died in a swimming pool accident in 1990. Both Peter and I had no idea how we would get through the days that followed. As you can imagine, this tragedy sucked the breath right out of us. But somehow we had to keep going. We had our other children who needed us, a new business, and everyday responsibilities to deal with. This was an adventure we didn’t want to take, but we stumbled through it. Finding the strength to face each day was a huge task, but little by little, it got easier to do.
I think that’s true of all adventures. After you overcome your fear and try something new, it does get easier. And as you progress along your adventurous path, you’ll find yourself evolving into a stronger, more confident person. You might also find yourself motivated to offer a gentle nudge to someone close to you who might need a little adventure in her life—or a kind word to someone who’s in the midst of an adventure not of her choosing.
If you’re in a rut or you’ve been feeling a little down lately, seek out a new adventure this month—whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional. Just do it. Take the first step. You’ll be glad you did.