Michelle Welsch, M.S.W.

Live an Adventure

Simple ways to turn daily living into something extraordinary

Live a story

I saw this written on a climber’s memorial along the trail to Mount Everest. It got me thinking about the story I was telling. 

Stories are beautiful because they are always changing. If we remain open to possibility, there’s no limit to the chapters to be written.

I have bargained with chance and tried reasoning with disappointment. My lips have tasted risk and failure. I kept going because I wanted to see what was on the other side.

Here's to writing a story of your own.

What if it felt like heli-skiing from your desk?

James Altucher interviewed Seth Godin on fear, anxiety and doing work that matters. They talk about the separation between Do-ers and Sitters, those who put themselves in the game and those who watch from the sidelines wishing they could play.

One of the main differences is fear: Do-ers don’t let fear paralyze them. They find ways to circumnavigate their anxiety so that they can act. They learn tactics to manage their stress along the way. 

Sitters haven’t quite figured out how to conquer fear. Paralyzed, they’re crippled by the weight of self-expectation and prediction.

Seth brings up an excellent point (41:25): No one learns to ski by jumping out of an airplane. 

First, the bunny slopes are conquered. 

The skier builds confidence and skills before dropping down black diamonds and tackling out-of-bounds terrain. If all goes well, then the skier looks for higher, steeper, rockier, riskier mountains. 

We all have different thresholds for anxiety and adrenaline. Not everyone enjoys skiing. ​

Your job is to find your edge, the line that seems scary to cross, the place you are most true to yourself. This is where your best and most meaningful work await. 


That's when you sign yourself up.

Get lost today

Leave your phone at home. 

Close your internet browsers.​

Forget your schedule and lose track of time.

Drive out of the city or ride your bike to the nearest town.

Call a friend.

Play something new on the radio.

Hold hands.

Dine at a new restaurant. ​

Climb to the tallest building or hill or rock or mountain you can see.


Cry until you laugh. Laugh until you cry.

Savor every bite.

Quit questioning. 

Be thankful.

Listen carefully

Refuse to settle into a rut that's binding. 

If you're in one now, get out. 

What excites you? 

Visualize possibility. 

Pinpoint goals that move you closer to what you want.

Don't be afraid to listen to the answers that come in quiet moments. It might not be clear; it might seem out of reach... 

The important thing is that you listen.

What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?

Why wait to do what you love?

Do what you love.

Stop trying to find your purpose

15 reasons you should consider a sabbatical

Time away isn't just for academics.

  1. Reevaluate your goals and aspirations
  2. Update your personal narrative to accurately reflect you and your work
  3. Build and nourish your relationships
  4. Write thank you notes to those who have supported you
  5. Consider what risks you’ll take in the coming year
  6. Read a book (or two) you keep meaning to
  7. Find new sources of inspiration — a coffee shop, a nature trail, a hidden park bench, a museum exhibit, an antique store
  8. Contribute to the communities and tribes that are important to you
  9. Dedicate time to your health
  10. Be alone with your thoughts and dreams
  11. Connect with nature
  12. Wander aimlessly 
  13. Travel someplace you’ve never been 
  14. Listen — really listen — to a favorite album
  15. Enroll in a class (SkillshareGA

What do you want?

Give yourself something invaluable: Time and space to answer

What do I want?

I'm not talking about a pay raise or a bombshell partner or a new car (though all of these are great). 

What makes your heart soar?  

What is your wild adventure?

Do you feel connected to the people around you? Do you look forward to coming home at night? Do you feel good in your body? Are you creative? Abundant?

Where you channel your focus is where you'll attract opportunity.

Rules for adventurous living

You, too, can live the life you dream of.

DON'T Be afraid to look foolish

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. "Foolish moments" are the stories you’ll share later on. 

When you expose your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, you’ll place yourself in situations and relationships that will stretch your understanding of the world. Test your own mettle. And when you meet people who are living a life you envy, don’t be afraid to ask: How are you doing it?

DON'T Shy from mistakes

Screwing up means you’re learning. If you’re worried about making a mess, you’re going to lead a very boring existence. Grit and dirt and flailing gives life texture, and mistakes can be our biggest teachers.  

Adventure comes from trying, failing, getting back up, and trying again.

DO Lean on others

I used to be unreasonably afraid of asking for help. Asking for something meant I wasn't capable of providing for myself or that I had miscalculated. 

Deeper relationships develop only 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 give them permission.

DO Appreciate little things

Gratitude wins, no matter how small. Take time to savor and cherish experiences. 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 --- write greeting cards and go for a long walk. 

Exciting stories can emerge from everyday activities. Try seeing your typical routine with new eyes and see what you discover. 

DON'T Just guess

While serendipity can be magical, strategic moves are vital. Too much risk can cause unstable footing; clear vision can minimize loss while informing calculated decisions. 

Identify your priorities and work backwards to move closer to your set finish line.

DO Think...but not too much

Over-thinking can be counterproductive and distract you from hidden truths. If you try to plan each and every move, you'll rob yourself from the mystery and delight of the unexpected. 

Hand over the keys and let your heart lead the way. Once your intuition takes the

wheel, the destinations may pleasantly surprise you.

DON'T Be "too busy"

We are all in this together. Look for ways to make the people around you shine brighter. Steep your days in kindness: Surprise a loved one with a note, pack lunch for a neighbor, host a dinner party for your closest friends.

A simple thank you can open more doors than you could possibly imagine. 

Jumping is scary. Do it anyway.

In my late teens and early twenties, I hitchhiked alone and traveled across continents. I went head-to-head with lawyers and counseled delinquents. I earned a masters from an ivy-league, wrangled my way into an entirely new industry, and directed and produced successful events.

It wasn't enough.

I wanted more. I wanted more experience, I wanted more connections. I didn’t have enough knowledge. I wanted more meaning. 

Every day I receive messages from entrepreneurs, executives, and artists who want to take a leap into the unknown.

...But it's not the right time...I don’t have the resources...I can’t adjust my schedule...I'm worried about money...

We do this to ourselves. We sabotage our dreams. Because we’re afraid.

Deep down, we know that if we put our mind to it, we have the capability to break our biggest dreams into manageable, digestible goals. 

We over-chew. 

We convince ourselves the path we’ve been traveling on, the one we've been walking down for some time, is the best option. We lower the height of our own sky and the limits to which we’re capable of flying.

Nothing will happen until you decide to venture away from safe waters. This is the territory where there is no rulebook, no play-by-play. There won't be “on the job training.” It’s up to you to figure it out.

The hardest thing is recognizing what you want. The next hardest is to begin. There’s no prescribed way to land that dream job, dream family, dream life. That world is waiting for you to create it. 

Don’t hold back. 

Dare yourself. Gather information, collect the necessary experiences, and step confidently in the direction of your dreams. Plan checkpoints along the way. Reward yourself when you reach them. 


If not for yourself, do it for the people around you. Show them what it looks like to lead a life that is uniquely yours, a life filled with magic and dreams and adventure.

A manual for daily adventure

It's easy to get stuck in a rut. Go to work, come home, throw together dinner, veg out on the couch. You'll never live the life you wish for if you become slave to routine. 

Passion and excitement are contagious. 

When you enjoy your life, you'll inspire people around you to test the limits they've drawn for themselves. ​

Sounds great, right? But how does this happen? 

We all have different thresholds for daring and adventure. Pick a few that feel brave to you and dive in.

  • ​Pack a lunch. For a friend.
  • Go see a movie by yourself.
  • Bring a slinky to the office. 
  • Rotate a stack of favorite photos in your wallet.
  • Buy sidewalk chalk.
  • Invite people you don't know very well over for dinner. 
  • Dance.  Call a friend unexpectedly, for no particular reason.   
  • Put Play-Doh on your desk.
  • Write a love letter. To yourself.
  • Stroll through a bookstore and notice which section pulls you in.
  • Buy the Sunday paper and savor it with a treat.
  • Do something to fail. 
  • Do something you know you're miserable at. And try to enjoy it.
  • Ride a bike. Rent if you don't own one.
  • Host a themed party.
  • Use public transportation, even if it's slow.
  • Start a scrapbook. Use images from magazines, newspapers, even funny office memos.
  • Schedule a coffee date with someone you admire.
  • Write a pageful of questions. Don't worry about the answers.
  • Try a new restaurant.
  • Mail a thank you note.
  • Walk home from work a different way.
  • Book a trip.
  • Stare out the window. 
  • Set aside fifteen minutes to write. 
  • Make a themed playlist.
  • Ask a friend for a book recommendation. 
  • List 100 things you'd like to do before you die.
  • Sign up for a class.
  • Teach a class.
  • Move! Jump. Climb. Skip.
  • Bake lasagna for the local firehouse.
  • Compliment a stranger.
  • Brush your teeth with opposite hand.
  • Run an extra 5 (minutes, miles, blocks, laps).
  • Concentrate on nothing except pouring yourself a cup of tea.
  • Host a trivia night at your place.
  • List 10 "self care" items. Aim to complete 2-3 each day. 
  • Order in. 
  • Unplug and turn off everything. 
  • Eat by candlelight.
  • Support a local business owner.  
  • Take your workout outside.  
  • Don't send an email or message. Walk over to your colleague's desk.
  • Smile at a kid who isn't yours.
  • Find a new recipe and cook.
  • Look up. See the sky.
  • List 4 things you are thankful for in this moment.
  • Pick up your favorite book and head to the park.
  • Watch a black and white movie.
  • Make yourself feel uncomfortable.
  • Consider the book you'd write.
  • Bake something: Cookies, a pie, bread. Wrap it in pretty paper and give it away.
  • Set a new fitness goal.
  • Initiate conversation at the coffee shop.
  • Volunteer.
  • Do 1 thing that really excites you. Tell no one.
  • Sing loudly in the shower/your car/your backyard.
  • Doodle.
  • Clean.
  • Plant something.
  • Allow yourself 5 minutes of doing nothing.
  • Set out to scare yourself.
  • Paint. Draw. Make something. It doesn't have to be good.
  • Visit a farmers market.
  • Count your breaths, 6 seconds for each: Inhale. Pause. Exhale.
  • Buy yourself flowers.
  • Book a massage.
  • Style your hair differently.
  • Hide a note for your partner to find.
  • Put your other shoe on first.
  • Don't make the bed. 
  • Daydream.
  • For one day, don't make any plans.
  • Write on a napkin.
  • Sleep in.
  • Eat with chopsticks.
  • Act like a tourist in your hometown.
  • Organize. 
  • Set your alarm one hour early. 
  • Build a tent in your living room.
  • Pretend you're famous.
  • Donate money to a cause​ you're interested in.

Write your own fairytale

Happily-ever-afters. Exotic adventures. You've read them, you've dreamed of them,​ You can live one, too.

This isn't about children's tales. Or luck. But you'll need to put some work in.

Get honest

Find a place with no distractions and create time in your schedule without needing to answer emails or rush to meetings. Once it's quiet, list what you're really good at. This list doesn't necessarily need to be things you like or enjoy. I want you to write down your skills and areas of competency: Things you know you can rock out in your sleep.

​Once that list is complete, write another list of what brings you joy. You don't need to "be good" at these things; you just need to love doing them. 


Don't sell yourself short. Ignore that voice that laughs or says, "Impossible."

Have fun with this. And be specific.


Before you begin to obsess about writing business plans or quitting your job, move in manageable bursts.​

Maybe it starts with a stroll through your local bookstore, noticing

which sections excite you. Maybe it's taking a day off work to shadow someone you admire. Maybe you visit a new exhibition.

The big picture is overwhelming. Small, tiny steps will do just fine.

Get frustrated

You will want to give up. You'll be pissed at yourself for trying, you won't feel like you're making progress. Acknowledge your frustration, accept it, and keep going. Sometimes, functioning is fine.

Watch a movie that inspires you. Take a break and regain your strength. Just don't lose momentum. For now, it doesn't matter the direction. Move.

Partner up

There will be times you don't believe in yourself.

Find someone who does, someone you trust, who is fine seeing you at your worst.

Take care of yourself

Make a list of ten things that bring you comfort. They can be small (listening to music or lighting a candle) or big (booking a massage or buying a plane ticket). Commit to two each day.

About the author

Michelle Welsch

Michelle Welsch, M.S.W. has advised Fortune 500 brands, produced large-scale events, and has raised over $550,000USD for various social causes. Her experiences in government, private, academic, and public sectors have provided her unique insight to help businesses and entrepreneurs refine communications and strategy.


After founding Project Exponential, an invite-only dinner series, she raised over 500k to help buy a mountain, fundraised 9k for a NYC nonprofit and brought solar to a monastery. Her experiences teaching English to Buddhist monks led to the establishment of Khata: Life,

nonprofit encouraging education and leadership in Nepal. Her attention is now focused on the Learning House, a community center she built from the ground up to foster creativity and learning.


Michelle earned her masters from Columbia University in New York City and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado. She considers Seth Godin one of her greatest teachers.

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