Updated: Dec 10, 2020
So there I was. On paper, my life was a success. And there I was, sobbing in my friend’s living room.
Life is an adventure
And in order to fully live your adventure, the first step is to let go of control. The following is an important story from my own life that illustrates this point beautiful
ly. This is really where the importance of letting go of control - after a bit of reflection - was revealed for me. I've always been a hard charging, achievement-driven type of person. This has led to a lot of great successes in my life - at least when you use the typical industrial age measuring stick. I left my parent’s house and lived on my own during senior year in high school, graduated from college with a bachelors in mechanical engineering, served 4 combat tours with the Army's 75th Ranger regiment special operations and then pursued an MBA from Cornell. Along the way I developed a serious control addiction. And I was increasingly miserable. Near the end of the MBA program, during which I was working full time and married with 3 very young children, I decided to accept a management position with a great company located in NJ. Since we were living in NH at the time, this also meant moving my whole family, selling our house and basically uprooting our entire lives. Long story short, this turned out to be a terrible decision, and looking back I wouldn't change it for a million bucks. Well, maybe for a million... A few months into living in NJ, I was crushing it at the new job and my life was spiraling into a deep dark pit of misery. One major element, my marriage, was falling apart. I was fairly oblivious to why, but I knew I wasn't happy. That's how 'in control' I was. While we were visiting friends and family in NH, I went to a friend's house to catch up. He asked me how things were going, and I shared with him that I was unhappy and things were not going great. When I shared with him my unhappiness with my marriage, he asked a simple but profound question: Do you want to stay married? BOOM. Veil shattered. I replied, "I...um...huh..." Tears. Sobbing. I couldn't answer this question. But I knew deep down that this was the key. My marriage was a symptom and a reason for my unhappiness. My answer, eventually, was YES. And with this answer, I knew I had to let go. But what did I have to let go of? I realized I had to let go of control. But what does that mean? Well, control means playing it safe and going down the well-trodden path. Too often, this is the path to misery. So I knew I had to let go of control, let go of the lies, of the plans and the sunk costs of the MBA and the move to NJ and more. I had been blind, but now I saw. I had to choose a new path. And this meant I had to face my fear of the unknown. And I did, with a guide. I had a guide to walk with me through the winding path of facing fear, releasing and re-writing my stories. This was the beginning of my journey into adventure. Here's the biggest insights. I needed to walk down a more ALIVE path for me! And I couldn't do it alone, I needed a guide to help me see my own stories, my own life and show me the possibilities. And I needed to have faith that increasing clarity and confidence will come as I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Anytime you want to move forward in your life, to live more adventurously, feel more alive, you risk bumping up against the self preservation that keeps you playing safe, but small. Some call this the edge of the comfort zone, but in reality, playing small is not comfortable, at least not for long. When you really pay attention, you notice the sense of dis-ease, the frustration, with not living the adventure that is there for you. Right outside of the 'comfort' zone. There's nothing wrong with this feeling. This self preservation intent is not 'sabotaging' you; it's merely trying to keep you safe. The first fear I had to face was being really vulnerable with my wife. I shared with her my experience with my friend and my answer to his question and my realization that everything had to change. The very first thing that needed to change was that I had to quit my job and leave NJ. This conversation felt very risky to me. Very vulnerable. Because I had to admit that I was not in control of everything, that I did NOT have all the answers. Her reply? "Hell yeah! Let's go!" She was all in! The adventure was there for me the whole time. All I had to do was let go. Ultimately, this small but significant step led to me leaving the corporate life behind, to living a life of imagination and adventure, to becoming a coach! And I've been on this amazing adventure ever since!