Michelle Welsch, M.S.W.
Live an Adventure
Simple ways to turn daily living into something extraordinary
Michelle Welsch, M.S.W.
Simple ways to turn daily living into something extraordinary
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.
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.
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.
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.
Why wait to do what you love?
Time away isn't just for academics.
You, too, can live the life you dream of.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How are you living adventure?Tweet me @redheadlefthand or send me a message www.michellewelsch.com.
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,
a 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.