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8 Do’s and Don’ts for Adventurous Living

“You’re so lucky! I want your life!”
If you’ve heard this, you probably know luck has very little to do with it.
If you haven’t, you, too, can live the life that gets people asking, “How do you do it?” by following these tips for living adventurously:

Don’t: Be afraid of looking like a fool.

The “foolish” moments are the stories you’ll share later on. You won’t always have the answers, and on some days, you’ll feel like you are grasping at straws. This is how you grow. When you expose your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, you’ll place yourself in situations and in relationships that will stretch your understanding of the world and test your mettle. And when you meet people who are living the life, don’t be afraid to ask them: “How are you doing it?”

Don’t: Shy away from mistakes.

Screwing up means you’re learning, and if you’re worried about making a mess, you’re going to lead a very boring existence. The grit and the dirt and the flailing around is what gives life texture. Mistakes can be our biggest teachers. If you’re not making any, you’re probably not stretching yourself. Adventure comes from trying, failing, getting back up, and trying again.

Do: Lean on the help of others.

I used to be unreasonably afraid of asking for help. Asking for something meant I was not capable of providing for myself or I miscalculated something in someway. Wrong. Deeper relationships can develop once you let go of your ego. By allowing someone else to help you, you’ll be given a glimpse into their world as you navigate your own. People want to help, but you must first give them permission to do so.

Do: Appreciate the little things.

Cherish wins, no matter how small. Take time to savor each moment. Step away from work, gadgets and screens and invest hours giving to others or spending time with your family. Sometimes you need an afternoon to do nothing — send a few greeting cards and go for a walk. The most exciting stories can emerge from everyday activities. Seeing routine with fresh eyes can make the world of difference.

Don’t: Always shoot from the hip.

While serendipity can be magical, strategic moves are necessary. Too much risk can cause unstable footing, and clear vision vision can help minimize losses while informing calculated choices. Identify your top priorities and work backwards to move closer to your personal finish line.

Do: Think…but don’t think too much.

Believe it or not, you can get in your own way. Over-thinking can be counterproductive and distract you from hidden gems. If you try to plan each and every move, you’ll rob yourself from the mystery and delight of unexpected surprise. Hand over the keys and let your heart lead the way. Once your intuition grabs the wheel, your destination might pleasantly surprise you.

Don’t: Be too busy for kindness. Ever.

This cannot be overstated. We are all in this together. Why not make the folks around you shine just a little brighter while you’re at it? Look for ways to infuse kindness into your day-to-day. Surprise a loved one with a note, pack lunch for a neighbor, host a dinner party for your closest friends.

Do: Say thank you.

What goes around comes around. A simple “thank you” can open more doors than you could possibly imagine. Thoughtful reflection reminds you where you’ve come from and where you’re going, and gratitude works both ways. You need to express it as much as the people around you need to hear it.

Essential ingredients of great dinner parties

Seating matters.

I’ve attended dinner parties with incredibly talented, driven individuals. But for whatever reason, the energy isn’t right. People who should be brainstorming and dreaming together end up at opposite ends of the table. Conversation seems forced and inauthentic.

This frustrates me beyond words.

You want people to tell stories.

A dinner can be a long time to sit next to someone in which no connection is shared. Guests don’t need to stay in the same spot all night, either. Make things interesting and shake things up.

Introduce individuals from complementary industries. Instigate unexpected relationships. Create a welcoming environment that acts as the backdrop for stories and connection.

Deliberate planning is the difference between good and great.

When a guest enters a room and knows he’s been considered in advance, a shift happens. Suddenly, he steps up his game. He’s no longer a passive observer and is encouraged to play an active role as participant.

A seating arrangement is an easy way to convey advance preparation. The right pairing of personalities can focus the energy of the party, and proper introductions is a subtle nod to the talents and expertise of those involved. Seating complementary interests next to each other is a detail appreciated by any dinner guest, and, when planned with intention, can optimize opportunities for individuals to shine.

For more tips on hosting a great dinner party, download my free ebook.

Decision making, dream chasing

A friend once posed this simple question. It’s since become etched in my mind:

“If you could do anything, anywhere, what would it be?”

Most of us don’t allow ourselves to answer this, much less answer in a brutally honest way. We’re too busy, too invested in our careers, too preoccupied with our families, too set in our ways to give ourselves the space and time to consider.

Would life change if our heart led the way?

It’s scary to go there. There’s fear of failing, of being the fool, of risking and losing, of making the wrong choice. And then! What would it look like to actually succeed?

We make decisions after rigorous cost-benefit analyses. We talk to our friends, we pay for therapists, we torture ourselves with choices. We wonder which path is the “right one,” the one that will bring us happiness and success and pay for all of our bills and more.

But really, it comes down to this:

1. Does it excite you?

2. Do you believe in the cause?

3. Can you make an impact?

Find people who inspire you to jump, dig deep, and stretch towards the life you’ve always wanted. Create time in your life to view your life from new perspectives. Give yourself permission to dream.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

-George Bernard Shaw

Predict your own trend.

We’re bombarded. With people, connections, business cards. Social media has connected us in ways we’ve never experienced before.
But is it more meaningful? Valuable?
Consider how it has changed your own relationships and experiences.
Now that so much of our lives are recorded and documented online, how necessary is it to cultivate experiences sans media and technology?
How do you cut through all of the noise to find what’s most valuable to you… as a consumer, individual, professional?
Do you take advantage of the interplay of industries, reaching out to connect with others who might contribute to better work and better ideas?

What are you collecting?

Collectors usually get some sort of attention. Whether it’s stamps, debt, records, insects, comics, paintings, or coins — collectors have something to show, something to talk about.

What if you viewed yourself as a collector, adding more and more unique moments to your personal high-value collection?

You’re the owner. How will you build upon your existing collection? What kind of assets will you preserve and who will be privileged enough hear about it (or see it)?

The more experiences you obtain, the more interesting you become. With interesting stories, there’s no doubt you’ll attract an audience.

That goes for brands and people, too.