Thirteen of us just completed our maiden Explorers journey. Our bakers dozen, explored the frontier edges of big questions through a combination of Zoom virtual sessions and an in-person adventure weekend in Colorado. At the conclusion of our shared exploration journey, I shared this manifesto attempting to synthesize the key waypoints we navigated.
Three big questions framing our exploration
Earlier this summer, while hiking the Colorado Trail, three profound yet straightforward questions occupied my heart and mind.
- Where am I?
- Where am I headed?
- Who am I?
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given and sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. ”-Saint Paul
Explorers Wanted Men wanted. Hazardous conditions. Uncertainty. Pushing into foreign territory. Prioritizing discomfort and questions over answers. Drawing back to see. “To see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel.” Return transformed.
Number one. Taking small actions often proceed our belief and mindset shifts. Behavior first, small steps lead our hearts forward.
Number two. Our attention must be reclaimed from the pings and notifications of our distracted world. The shallows of life-our distracted living– contribute to disconnection from those closest to us. God’s voice exists in the silence and stillness. Impact and intimacy require our attention.
Number three. Building awareness of our reactive tendencies creates more choices in the moment. Exploring the old stories that drive our reactivity empowers us to reclaim that negative energy charge and pivot. Be lucid in the moment. “In this Now Moment, I know where I am.” Be your creative best.
Number four. Adventure creates an escape hatch from the mundane of life. Learning to live outside our comfort zone enlarges and strengthens our identity. Remember David Whyte’s advice, “If we can place our identity at the edge of discovery. Then we have the possibility of a vital life.” Get hungry, get lost, refuse the tyranny of a life of extreme comfort.
Number five. Our lives, vocation, and souls are sacred. Approach your life and work as a tenacious craftsman planting trees transforming the terrain of your domain. Stay on the path laid out for you. Walk with beauty the ground beneath your feet. Remember Jesus’s invitation, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”
Number six. Listen to your life. What can you NOT DO for reasons even you cannot explain? Deepen your resolve to listen intently- all of your life is speaking. Frederich Buechner “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
Number seven. Our relationships are assets in our wealth management portfolio. The grass grows wherever you water it. The better question- the ones we should ask is not how can I be better, but what is it that they need or want from me? How might I contribute to them thriving? Remember Dave and Sue.
Number eight. Start at the end and work backwards. Write your eulogy. Our eulogy is a window into the desired Future State of our life. You are leaving an impact today, is it for good or not. By working backward from the sunset of our lives, gaps are illuminated in our desired outcomes and today’s priorities, choices, and behaviors. The end is coming. What story are you authoring with your life?
Number nine. Men need friends. Thoreau lamented, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Refuse isolation as a mode of travel in this journey of life. Two are better than one. Choose friendships – even occasionally – go deeper past the plastic veneer and puncture together something real.
Number ten. The making of a brave man requires a whole heart – integrated, awake, “fierce with reality.” Exploring your frontier must become your default setting on your operating system. Life – your life – is waiting to be lived, experienced in vibrant intimacy with God and those entrusted to your care. Wake up. Choose an abundant abiding mysterious life.
Keep going. This is good for you. You can do this.
The rewards of exploring our frontier?
One guy wrote this summary about his experience, ready to live forward with more vitality.
“I used to be overwhelmed by the tyranny of the urgent.-Explorer
Now, I’m learning to prioritize what is important over what is urgent,
I used to hide myself, thinking I was small and worthless.
Now I am learning to be myself, and go the whole way.
I used to bury my grief.
I am now learning to deal with it when it arrives, and be not embarrassed by shedding tears.”