Adventure Stories

Explorers Who Lead

explorers who lead
Written by Jen Cox

We all need an adult recess. I find it interesting that all throughout childhood we encourage children to play outdoors, be active in sports, take time for recess. Yet, we arrive at adulthood and often spend endless hours a week behind a desk with no exposure to the outdoors.

Adult recess, or exploring outdoors, provides playtime necessary to re-energize, re-fuel creativity, get unplugged and decompress. Most are aware that nature refreshes our souls, and that making time for the outdoors is a good idea.  Have you ever considered that it also makes you a better leader?

Leaders are innovative, curious, and consistently search for new ideas. 

When I’m trying a new trail to hike or exploring a new city, there is excitement in trying something new. I used to be closed off and resistant to change, but exploring has radically changed my openness to a new idea. While hiking, you do not always know what’s ahead, and plans frequently change while traveling. This adaptability and willingness to innovate will carry over into the workplace or home, wherever you lead. Whether you are curious why sales are low, how to better enhance processes in your office, or creating a new recipe for dinner, being willing to try new ideas will set you a part from those who have lost their curiosity in life.

Leaders can endure challenging times.

Let’s face it. Businesses can struggle. Our careers can feel as if they have flat-lined. At home, there is yet another load of laundry to fold. A person who leads well can press on through tough obstacles or even just patiently endure a slow season of life. On my summit hikes, I have often wanted to quit. If I’m being completely honest, I have wanted to quit every single time. Outdoor adventures are not always easy, and it can require training to reach the goals we want to achieve. Learning to build this endurance and working hard, whether indoors or outdoors, is mandatory to great leadership.

Leaders have confidence, even when they have fears.

People are drawn to confidence. Confidence does not mean I know how to do everything, simply I trust my ability to find a way to get it done. If I do not believe in myself, it will be difficult to have others believe in me or my ideas as well. Exploring outdoors helped me build confidence through photography. I longed to capture the views I saw to share and inspire others to travel. I had one problem. I am not a photographer. I do not even own a camera beyond my iPhone.

Often, I have felt like an imposter in the photography world, showing up to photography InstaMeets with my little phone among dozens of amazing cameras. Over time, I began sharing my travel photos and received such overwhelming positive feedback, I decided to start my own blog with my amateur photos and writing. It’s important to continue to grow and learn, be self-aware of our weaknesses, but never let it shake who you are and that inner confidence.

Leaders are passionate and visionary.

Most leaders are great story tellers and can inspire action. When others are motivated and full of energy, it’s easy to accomplish the goal at hand. I am crazy passionate about hiking and exploring the outdoors. I am fully living in those moments, full of vitality. This energy and passion is needed wherever I am. Adventures and exploring also provide excellent stories to use to inspire those around us. Often, my energy and excitement will be contagious, which creates the utopic atmosphere to tackle great work.

Women are amazing because we do not compartmentalize our lives, and our spheres blend and influence each other.  We are never just a woman who explores. Wherever life finds you today, needing to lead at home, in the workplace or community, allow your wild and messy adventures to grow and stretch you into a beautiful leader.

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About the author

Jen Cox

I passionately pursue a life of adventure, joy, and getting dirty outside. By day, I work in accounting at a large financial services firm. By night, I am often with my husband and son, hanging out at home, or working on my travel blog. My favorite moments are exploring with those I love and capturing the outdoors to inspire adventure. Where shall we go next? Check out more of my writings and photos at www.exploringsunshine.com or www.instagram.com/jen.explores or www.twitter.com/jencox777

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