Tag Archives: plans

You don’t have to have it all figured out, Einstein!

Herein lies the problem. Making resolutions inadvertently assumes that there are things that need to be resolved. Dealt with. Settled. Solved. Figured out.

This approach – while well-intentioned – places all the focus on what’s “wrong”. On what you believe needs to be improved upon, changed or even eliminated. It utilizes perception and interpretation of what has been in order to determine what can be now.

What you have believed, thought and been willing and able to accept up till now has got you exactly where you are. Go you! Good job.

But if reaching beyond your current reality is what you seek, a new level of thinking – and a whole lot of imagination – is required.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when creating them.

– Albert Einstein

Don’t get me wrong. Your personality is important. Your own personal genius. Flavor. Uniqueness. Individuality.

But it’s time to let your personality serve your soul – not the other way around. You can’t expect your expansive, inclusive, all-encompassing soul to be fulfilled by a lil’ resolution that was created from the same mind that has, up till now, kept you from the reality you want.

I define the soul as the essence of who we are, despite any human experiences, episodes and encounters. It’s us at our core – beyond our five senses, interpretations and judgments of the world. It’s our natural, beautiful, infinite, peaceful and passionate state of being.


From The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav:

(In reference to the writing and works of William James, Carl Jung, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Niels Bohr and, my personal favorite, Albert Einstein – who Zukav refers to as mystics.)

“…in the depths of their own thoughts they each saw much too much to be limited by the five senses…”

“…I came to understand that what motivated these men was not Earthly prizes or the respect of colleagues, but that they put their souls and minds on something and reached the extraordinary place where the mind could no longer produce data of the type that they wanted, and they were in the territory of inspiration where their intuitions accelerated and they knew that there was something more than the realm of time and space and matter, something more than physical life.”

“…what motived these men, and many others, was in fact something of great vision that comes from beyond the personality. Each one of us is now being drawn, in one way or another, to that same great vision. It is more than a vision. It is an emerging force. It is the next step in our evolutionary journey.”


What am I getting at here? This: The materialization of our ideas, dreams and visions ends at our own perceived boundaries and limitations.

The answer is not to define a NEW boundary and limitation. It is to accept that there are no boundaries, that the possibilities are truly limitless.

Don’t accept jumping from one lily pad to the next. Leap out of the pond and into the ocean.

What’s motivating you in 2017? What’s your vision? Look deep within your soul for the answers. Don’t resolve. Create freely instead. Allow expansion and openness in your heart and mind.

Here are a few simple steps to get you started:

  1. Start with your head – the mind – and make space. Clear whatever thoughts, judgments, fears, doubts you might have about what has been, what you want and how you’re going to get there.

My favorite technique is to identify the thought. Label it “thinking.” Nothing more. It just is. And then drop it. Let it go. Release attachment.

2. Open your heart. Be receptive to possibility. To not knowing. To trusting. To having faith. To allowing and having willingness to participate and trust things you don’t already know or can’t see.

Try new things. Take chances. Be silly. Allow fear to come and go.

3. Acknowledge and enjoy what the external world then reflects back to you. You will either experience things differently (perspective). Or circumstances and surroundings will actually change (physically). Take time to notice. Celebrate even the smallest of shifts.

As we enter this new year, take this week’s Adventure Challenge! Let go of what you believe you know to be true in order to make room for a new reality and possibilities beyond your current understanding.

This year, instead of deciding what you think you want, maybe it’s time to simply ask, “What now?”

Recommended reads for expanding your mind, heart, soul AND reality in 2017:

  • The Adventuresome Life Blog by Dana Shane  (If you haven’t already, enter your email address below in order to receive FREE weekly tips and tools for living an Adventuresome Life in your inbox)
  • The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
  • Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Renard
  • A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Here’s to being Adventuresome…and all that comes with it.

Recently, I convinced my personal trainer to be my partner in a local Adventure Race.

It may seem like it should be the other way around since my race partner, Payton, is a health and fitness professional, was a Big 10 collegiate athlete and just happens to be 19 years my junior.

You may remember Payton as the personal trainer I spoke of previously. He helped me become a national finalist in the Life Time 60 Day Body Transformation Challenge.

In other words, I paid this young man to kick my ass and basically torture me – and it was worth every penny, ache and pain!

The text conversation went something like this:

Me: I REALLY want you to be my adventure racing partner on Sunday. 2 mile canoe. 4 mile trail run. 11 mile bike.

Payton: I haven’t ran a mile in months. I would legit die.

Me: Paybacks.

So with less than a week’s notice, he agreed with this statement:

Excited for The Des Moines Adventure Race this Sunday. My client REALLY gave me no choice after these words (above). I inflict so much sweat, tears and pain on her. It’s time she gets to see me struggle. Here’s to being Adventuresome!

He may be able to hold grown women up in the air with one hand, do a back flip from a standing position and “walk around” on his hands with the greatest of ease, but what this race was about to ask of him would be something he had not yet experienced.

I was in my element – years of boating, biking, running, adventure racing and triathlons under my belt. But I was quickly reminded of how each and every race presents you with trials and tests that change you – offering up life lessons that apply well after the race.


Here are some of the lessons I was reminded of during the constant physical and mental demands of  this 3-part, non-stop, 2-hour race:


CANOE (2 miles) – Sometimes you intend to go one direction and the current of life takes you another.

With Payton’s upper-body strength, my kayaking experience and the fact that it was the first leg of the race, I thought the canoeing portion would be the least of our worries.

Although we managed to not tip over or find ourselves paddling in circles, the canoeing portion proved to be more of a challenge than I had thought it would be.

Unlike navigating solo – which I am used to in a kayak – we had to work together to keep the boat propelling forward while staying on course. Payton (the strength) in the front and me (the experienced paddler) steering from the back.

The more you can keep your canoe in a straight line, the less work it is – path of least resistance.

Sounds simple enough, right? Easier said than done.

The combination of our uneven strength, our inexperience with co-piloting a canoe, and the inability to read the wind direction and water current quickly became apparent – and quite humbling. We continually had to correct our position as the boat started veering in unintended directions.

There was nothing to do but repeatedly make adjustments, keep our cool, continue communicating and work together.

No amount of frustration could justify giving up. The only thing that would get us where we needed to go (the run transition area) was to keep paddling.


RUN (4 miles) – Slow and steady may not “win” the race, but it will get you to the finish line.

Running has always been “my thing.” I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. Combine running with winding trails through nature – and I’ve pretty much found my happy place.

Payton, however, not so much. Prior to this race, he had never run more than 2 miles at one time.

I was asking him to run farther than he ever had, through fields and trails of uneven terrain, after just paddling in a canoe for 30 minutes (you use more of your legs and core muscles than you might imagine). All while making sure to leave enough energy and ability to bike 11 miles after the fact.

I wouldn’t define myself as a fast runner, but I have had a close relationship with endurance over the years. I kind of go into my own world, fall into a manageable pace and keep on trucking.

Side note: In Adventure racing, teammates must stay within 100 feet of each other at all times.

But today it would be Payton’s world.

I knew from past Adventure racing experience that if Payton was forced to attempt to “keep up” for 4 miles straight, it would take a toll on him – both physically and mentally.

So I encouraged him to set the pace. My theory worked. Every time I would follow his lead, his pace would quicken.

If I had pushed Payton to run faster than his comfort level and current ability – we may not have finished the run – let alone the 11 miles of biking that was awaiting us.


BIKE (11 miles) – Keep your eye on the squirrel – or whatever it takes to finish what you started!

The bike portion of the race required us to bike around an hourglass-shaped road 3 ¼ times. Payton had ZERO experience on a bike. I was actually pleasantly surprised by his comfort level and agility on the bike despite this fact – must be the gymnast in him.

A friend had loaned him a bike and helmet to use for the day. Very kind. But after just one lap sitting on that bike seat, Payton was not feeling the kindness.

It was clear that the bike was not fitted correctly for Payton’s body. We had adjusted the seat for his height. But there are many other factors that go into properly setting up a bike.

About halfway through our second lap, we had to stop and stretch. Payton’s right quad was seizing up on him. If you have ever had this happen – you know that this can be a race ender. No choice in the matter. Done.

As Payton stretched, I looked him in the eye and said, “If we need to end it here, I support you. We did what we could. But if you want to finish this thing, I’ll get you to the finish line. But it’s going to hurt.”

Payton didn’t even hesitate. He jumped back on his bike and said, “Let’s finish it.”

About every few minutes, in no particular order, he would mutter with a clenched jaw, teeth gritted. “Damn hands. Oh, my back! My neck hurts. My quads are burning.”

I continually offered words of encouragement to motivate him, mental images to distract him, and physical tips to try and ease his pain.

As we were coming around the back loop on our 3rd lap, I thought I heard Payton say, “Where’s that f***ing squirrel?” I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. I thought he had officially lost it!

But as we came around the final bend – the last quarter lap of the race into the finish line – I saw a dead squirrel laying in the middle of the road. I hadn’t even noticed it before in our previous laps. But Payton had. And it had become his dangling carrot.

In the end, that damn squirrel would be what got him to the finish line!


Taking it all in after the fact – Phew! What an Adventure! We really have nothing to lose from trying new things, challenging our own perceived limitations (you are always stronger and more capable than you think you are) and sharing in the experience of it all with others.

In a nutshell – pun intended – I was reminded:

  • Life doesn’t always go as planned, but your only real option is to “keep paddling” and make adjustments as needed.


  • Work with your “team members” – whoever they may be. Keep communicating. And when one of you needs a little extra help – make a choice that benefits all parties involved the most overall.


  • Decide what you want, and then use whatever it takes – even if it’s a squirrel – to help you get there.


Now it’s your turn! Join me November 5th & 6th for The Inaugural Adventuresome Life Experiential Workshop at Wesley Woods in Indianola, Iowa.

You’ll face fears and address self-imposed limitations. Develop a more Adventuresome attitude and approach to life. Experience fun, joy, passion and purpose.

After all, what is life but one GRAND ADVENTURE!