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One big adventure: How a simple metaphor has inspired my year

As I reflect on 2012, the year I started this blog, the year I decided to give my own business a go, the year I decided to start my book, the year I said YES to lots of exciting and scary things, there is one word that I feel has become very important to me and enabled me to do everything that I have managed to do, be it successful or unsuccessful. That word is ADVENTURE.

It is a word that I’d never before considered to be relevant to business but ever since I quite casually decided to use it as the subtitle for this blog it has become a very meaningful metaphor and has changed my perception of my work and my life far more than I could have imagined.

The word is full of movement, excitement and energy. It implies risk, danger and uncharted territories. It conjours up images of half-drawn maps, stories of hidden treasure and legends of mythical monsters and magic. It brings to mind words such as possibility, discovery, hope and ambition. Adventurers may spend some time on their own but they are very rarely alone for long, meeting different tribes, joining other adventurers for new expeditions to places of common interest, sharing stories with each other around camp fires before moving on to explore new territories. These personal adventures can continue indefinitely for as long as the adventurer’s insatiable curiosity can keep coming up with new propelling questions.

2012 has seen me really blur the lines between ‘my work’ and ‘my life’ in a helpful way and seeing it as one big adventure has liberated my imagination, my creativity and helped me be a little braver in the choices I make.  2012 has felt like an adventure.  I have met people I never would have met before.  I have experimented in ways that I would previously have talked myself out of. I have learnt more in 2012 than any other year and in doing so I have come to realise that there is even more to learn than I had previously imagined and the size of my ignorance has grown, uncovering a multitude of intriguing new questions.  Behind every question it seems there are another 10 even more curious questions and I find that incredibly exciting.

I long for the day when I feel brave enough to ditch the tags of ‘consultant’ or ‘researcher’ and introduce myself to organisations as an ‘Adventurer’ and talk to them about potential ‘expeditions’ that we might embark on together in a way that better conveys how I now feel about my work.  But until that day, just holding the metaphor close to my head, heart and gut is enough to keep me feeling curious, excited and a little anxious about 2013.

Anyone can become an adventurer.  You may need to be a little braver, a little bolder and take more risks, however the start point is simple. There are two little words to bring into balance: NO and YES.  “Those who say NO are rewarded with the safety they attain. Those who say YES are rewarded with the adventures they have.” (Keith Johnstone 1981)

Footnote: I asked my creativity mentor to draw a picture of “Daddy having an adventure”.  It is the resulting picture that is included in this post.
  1. Tracy Brubaker says:

    Steve…so great to meet you at Ashridge and now read your blog.

    Love the concept of adventure. One of the most creative periods in my life was when a friend and I were inspired to start Adventures Unleashed….a boutique coaching business that integrated custom designed outdoor adventures with intentional change processes to empower folks to lean into challenge and fear. It was a highly creative time in life that I would love to return to with new approaches such as improvisation!

    Thanks for taking a risk and sharing your talent with the world!

  2. Hey Tracy, great to work with you at Ashridge…was one of the highlights of my year and lovely to see you here – thanks for your comment.

    Your story is wonderful and reminds me of the power of environment in creating a sense of adventure. Makes me think that a stimulating external environment can really help energise one’s spirit of adventure wheras in a dull, office environment one has to use one’s imagination a little more vigorously.

    Brilliant (awesome!) idea of outdoor improvisation adventures. Let me know when you do it! I’m likely to be in the US (Cleveland) next fall if there are opportunities to play.

  3. Pingback:Can Scorpions Smoke? A graphical reflection of 2012 – Can Scorpions Smoke?

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