Dana Shane So who am I to talk and teach about Adventuresome living anyway? As paraphrased from the famous quote by Marianne Williamson, “Who am I not to be?” I encourage you to read it for yourself below, replacing the reference to God with whatever speaks to your heart and mind. Try not to get stuck on semantics. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on the real beauty of the message. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear; our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson I came out of the womb looking for adventure, seeking thrills and tackling fears like a professional linebacker with a BIG MONEY contract on the line. A real risk-taker. Afraid of nothing. Act first, think… never. (Throat-clear) Ok, not really. My favorite picture of me & my son, Street. He’s about 4 years old here. That look, directly into the camera, continues to “melt” me after all this time. Truth is, I barely left my mother’s side for the first 10 years of my life or left the safety of my home or the comfort of the pages of a book. I didn’t like trying new things or meeting new people. Anything described as scary, risky, out of the norm, challenging, against the grain or simply new was of no interest to me. Quite honestly, it wasn’t even on my radar. My curiosity, questioning nature and desire for exploration developed gradually. I’m still not what I would refer to as a take-the- bull-by-the-cojones, death-defying, adrenaline junkie. But I have fully identified that my happiness and fulfillment are directly linked to all the things that I so vehemently avoided at a young age. I am not one of those naturally happy people either. To be more specific, I don’t have an automatic tendency to see the glass half full. I often do see things that way, but because I want to, so I choose to or because I have trained myself to do so. But I wasn’t born thinking that way. I didn’t learn/develop that autonomous response in childhood. That doesn’t stop me, however, from being just as interested as the next person in being happy and feeling good. At putting that energy out into the world and attracting it back. In fact, the need to explore how to be happy qualifies me more to talk about how one actively pursues and finds happiness than if my experience were, “I was just born this way. Sorry you weren’t.” Two Happiness Explorers and Experts that I suggest as resources: Shawn Achor: The Happiness Advantage Gretchen Rubin : The Happiness Project One thing I know for sure – I am a seeker. I want to know “why” as much as anyone of us can REALLY know. Not about anything in particular, just EVERYTHING in general. My unrelentingly questioning nature and tendency toward self-reflection and solution-finding has served me well in many regards, as daunting as it can sometimes feel (it rarely shuts off). Some of my most adventuresome experiences have taken place right in the comfort of my own living room. Imagine having an ever-present, incessant 2 year old asking “Why?” or “How” in your head at all times. (Meditation is a key tool for me. My toddler mind has to be put down for a nap now and then!) But seeking keeps me alert. Satiates my curiosity. Helps me build awareness. Lets me live intentionally and with purpose. Allows me to feel alive and present. And besides, I have NEVER been able to accept “because” as an actual, bonafide answer. As Lawrence Lanoff, one of my great teachers, once shared with me, the secret is to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” He wrote that message to me on the front cover of an advanced copy of his book, “The Drunken Money Speaks” about 8 years ago. In all honesty, I didn’t really get it at the time. But over the years, and with some more life experience, it has become incredibly clear. Finding peace with the unknown (HINT: It’s all UNKNOWN) is where the potential for our happiest, most fulfilling life is found. The moments where life became increasingly and obviously unstable are where my greatest potential for realization and, ultimately, joy and expansion have been found. Adventure racing somewhere in Wisconsin, Michigan or the Loess Hills of Iowa. During one of my many moments of reflection, I asked myself, “What are some moments/times in your life where you have felt the most alive, Dana Shane?” I connected the dots and realized one of the happiest times in my life was when I was Adventure Racing, literally, physically. I spent about 6 years of my life after my son was born adventure racing, which involved constantly being exposed to new challenges. Pushing myself beyond physical and psychological limitations. Exploring and actively choosing paths, solutions and courses of action that seemed to make the most sense at the time. Learning to ask for help and rely on my team members (you’re only as strong as your weakest link in any given moment). Finding support and celebration in community. There were always unknowns. That was a given and the very nature and foundation of the sport itself. I had to learn (1) to trust the tools that were available to me, along with my own strengths and natural talents, (2) to trust that guidance would be provided along the way, and (3) to make the best choices I could given the circumstances and the moment and follow through with those choices (second guessing yourself in the middle of a dark forest or a huge lake never led to anything good). There was always excitement and, of course, constant possibility. I realized that period in my life was a metaphor for how I could live my life each and every day. That realization, coupled with my passion and vested interest in discovering what affects us, motivates us, speaks to us, encourages us, inspires us, makes us think, feel and make the choices that we do is how The Adventuresome Life came to be. I immensely enjoy and thrive on exploring viewpoints, perspectives and possibilities. An adventuresome life (a life well-lived) is full of authenticity and that includes telling and living our truth and existing at our fullest potential, to the best of our ability, in any given moment. If that sounds like fun to you, intriguing or like a challenge you want to take, sign up below for FREE weekly tips & tools.