The Spirit of Adventure

By Laureen Golden

Happy Friday! This week we took our learning about the context of exponential change and made it practical with ideas to try in our daily life. We close our week with “The Spirit of Adventure.

To help people and organizations adapt with our rapidly changing world, it is important that those who lead stay alert to the “regressive pull” that can happen when we feel fearful (ie, stepping backwards instead of forward to greet change).[1]

Whether we are a parent leading a family system or a CEO leading a global institution, it is essential that leaders remain mindful that the emotional tone we set is key for how a system responds to change.[1]

So check in: Are you orienting yourself and those you lead towards safety and certainty or boldness and adventure?[1]

An orientation towards safety often leads to stuckness while an orientation towards adventure leads us towards action and learning through our failures and success. “Great leaders in complexity host life-giving contexts for action.”[2]

Tips for Cultivating The Spirit of Adventure:

  • Getting Vulnerable & Authentic: Developing our own “capacity to sit in and lead when we don’t know what we’re doing and don’t know where we’re going. To call it and say, ‘I’m here without knowing where we’re going and I’m trusting you and trusting us to do this together.’“[2]
  • Getting Curious: Humbling ourselves before Uncertainty, embodying a learning stance, and inviting others to step in to discover together, “What really works in our new world?”.
  • Getting Playful: “Play is the opposite of perfectionism and doing it right.”[3] Play is what helps us experiment, try new things, and discover what’s effective in new conditions

[1] The terms and ideas around “regressive pull,” emotional tone, “safety and certainty” and “boldness and adventure” are from Edwin H. Friedman’s incredible book, Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix.
[2] These quotes are from Chris Corrigan in the video clip below.
[3] Stasia Savasuk (email)