Welcome back for another solo round of the Art of Adventure podcast!
The cycle of adventure, the heroes journey – applies to anything big and hard you want to achieve. This first step and last step are just steps like all other other and they are the most important at the same time.
Adventure has a time line – there is a cycle that has a beginning and end.
They say the hard part is in the middle and it will be way harder than you expected.
But the real hardest part is taking the first step – answering the call to adventure.
You might even have a big planning phase where you make sure everything is perfect for a year or two before you set off.
And I’m not talking only about traveling. Iâ€™m talking about starting grad school, getting married, moving to a new place, starting a new job or business, starting a race, etc.
In cross country races in college I knew that once the gun went off I had less than 30 minutes of pain that I would have to deal with. The fun part was seeing how much pain I could handle. That and flying across the land faster than I ever thought possible.
Another example is when you finally sit down to have a difficult conversation. It’s so uncomfortable that you probably want to avoid it. Once you set the whole thing in motion you just have to gut through the discomfort and you know that the result will be good.
The first step is like getting on a roller coaster – you are no on the ride and even if you get scared along the way you have to see it through.
There are two steps that are the most important, the first step and the last step. Iâ€™m really good at the first step, not as good at the final step.
What trips me up into not taking the last step? Feeling like I have done â€œenoughâ€. I like to pat myself on the back and basically call myself done instead of looking at the actual finish line.
Thats why it so important to know what is the actual finish line if you can. My friend Nik Wood always asks what is a win for you today? Even when you go to a party – how will you know if it was a success? That you had fun? That you met people? That you danced your butt off?
When I talk to successful people, a recurring realization is that everything great they have done took a lot more of their effort and time and blood and sweat than we see form the outside. Sacrifice is commonly mentioned – you have to close a bunch of doors so you can run full speed ahead with the most important parts of your life.
In adventure, when the cycle ends and we come back, we will be different. Just like when you write you first book or finish your first marathon or graduate college. You will have more expectations of yourself from within and from without. You will know things that you have to share with the world. This sometimes keeps people from taking the last step – responsibility is a scary because it is responsibility.
When you do something great, people will always ask whatâ€™s next? They expect you to be able to top what you have already done.
One reason I retired from cycling is that I was worried about the day when I would never be as fast as I once was. All pro athletes retire because they get old. I was worried about my own expectations.
Taking the first step is a big one because you finally move from thought to action. You can only learn so much and prepare for all contingencies until it is really time to take action. Heroes are define by the action they take, (strategists are defined by the plans the make, and you can be both).
When you bungee jump they give you two countdowns – if you donâ€™t leap in 3 seconds you get one more shot then they cut you off. sometimes you just have to make the jump and set the future in motion.
Landing in Vietnam and seeing Asia for the first time two years ago in all its hazy tropical green glory made everything real for me. That adventure had officially begun.
Make your first step a ceremony. Make it special. Beginning and ending are two sides of the same coin.
Once you come back from the adventure you begin to tell the tale and begin to share what you have learned. Yuo have brought back the treasure from you journey like so many heroes.
The first step and the last step are the same as said so poetically – “every new beginning leads to some other beginning’s endâ€ Closing Time by Semisonic
So celebrate your first step just like you do your last. And know that you last step is really just letting you start the next adventure.
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You might also like these episodes:
AOA 114 | Be Your Own Hero
AOA 116 | I Have A Dream
AOA 059 | Millionaire Mindset: Habits For A Rich Life