At some point or another, all of us wish to have an adventure. Different people have different ways of seeking the excitement and thrilling uncertainty that an adventure might bring. Backpacking in foreign countries, road trips across America, and planned vacations are common ways in which human beings set aside routine and responsibility, while throwing caution to the wind.
On adventures, we are less inhibited. We’re willing to take risks, and try things we’ve never tried before. Great feats and far distances become achievable when we’ve made the decision to accomplish them. After all, we may never get the chance to hike Mount Everest again, so why not do it up big while we’re on our climb to the top?
So many of us base the “norm,” or rather the antithesis of the adventure on our jobs. “When I go on vacation,” says one Administrative Assistant working at a hotel chain in San Diego, California, “I let all my fears go. I spend money I wouldn’t usually spend, I eat foods I wouldn’t otherwise eat, and I am a lot more fun than the person my coworkers might see me as.” Coincidentally, this particular individual also mentioned that right now, she is most excited about her upcoming trip to Canada. “I can’t wait to ride on a train for the first time!”
After hearing her describe the heroic itinerary she is hoping to complete during the week she is in Canada, I asked this kind soul what is it about her life at the office which is so different than her life on vacation. Why so different? What’s keeping her from taking risks in real life? Is she afraid of stepping out of her comfort zone?
While she would not answer on the spot, she later came through with a most detailed answer which she texted while on break during a workday. “No one can see me when I’m on vacation so I don’t mind acting wild.”
Reminded of classic films, television shows, commercials, and stage plays, all with workplace settings, it occurred to me how willing we are to make fun of the “characters” we may recognize at work. The random cast member in Office Space reminds us so much of a co-worker we know… the way he or she moved, acted, and handled situations. Amused by the absurdity of the character, we might just be acting out the role of the person we’ve become so afraid of, that we keep to ourselves in order to maintain low profiles.
Good behavior is obviously of high importance at any workplace. It does not, however, have to qualify what might or might not be a great new innovation based on bold creativity and brave ideas. Those are developed when we dare to think adventurously.
Having an adventure could be something as small as trying a new brand of coffee for the first time, or as large as sailing around the world. It could also be something so simple (and attainable) as allowing ourselves to think outside of the box while sharing our thoughts with our colleagues. Some of the greatest ideas were born because of this bold take on life. Imagine what the world might be like had Elisha Otis never proposed the idea of the safety elevator in the mid 1800’s, or had Martin Cooper decided to speak up one day while working as a researcher at Motorola and suggest that it might be possible for human beings to carry on a conversation wherever they may go thanks to the miracle of handheld devices. Some may have scoffed at these ideas, while others believed in them. Regardless, because of adventurous thinking and believing in the risks they took, both individuals changed the way we live our lives today.
Who knows what brilliant innovation you might have hidden deep within you? Speak up! The world is waiting for your ideas to become realities. Have an adventure. You owe yourself the chance.