How adventure changes your mindset

adventure mindset Dec 04, 2018

Your mind affects your body. And how your body feels impacts your mindset.

Have you experienced this? Maybe you've found that when you're physically tired, it's harder to concentrate, or when you're stressed, your shoulders tense up. Maybe you've felt your stomach flutter when you're nervous, or that physical lightness that comes with peace of mind.

The cool part is, we can harness that connection. We can tap into our bodies to help us open up our minds. We can choose what to think and believe in order to push our bodies further. We have way more control over our lives – our bodies, our minds, and our choices – than we realize.

A lot of people go their whole lives believing they can't do anything about their failures or their physical limitations. Those people give up their power – which is sad, because they are so much more powerful than they know.

So are you.

That's what Moticise ("motivational exercise") is all about – helping people understand and use that mind-body connection to help them claim their power, make empowered decisions, and go for what they really want.

But exercise isn't the only way to channel the power of the body.

There's also adventure.


A few years ago, I started offering Moti-Adventures – half-day events where I would lead a small group through a mindset workshop and then a related adventure.

We stepped off the platform and flew through the air in The Power of Letting Go: A Flying Trapeze Workshop-Adventure. We learned to navigate toward our goal in Kayak to Lady Liberty: Ride the Currents of Life. And we practiced taking a chance on what we wanted most in Climb the Wall of Success: A Rock-Climbing Workshop-Adventure (which was featured in a Clinique YouTube campaign – check it out here).

Before one of the rock-climbing adventures, I met a woman named Sarah. She'd signed up because, she told me, she was intrigued by the name—a workshop and adventure? Success through rock-climbing?

"I don't know what I'm getting myself into," she told me, laughing, "but I'm willing to try."

"That's all you need," I told her, and asked what area of life she wanted to make a change in.

Her face turned serious. "Well, I don't know," she said. "I need to figure out a new career path, because the work I do now—I'm a tax lawyer—just isn't good for me anymore. I'm burned out, and I need a change.

"I could also use some help in relationships…I'm single, but I would love to meet someone special. It's hard to meet people at my age."

Sarah also told me she'd been afraid of heights all her life, so signing up for rock-climbing was taking a huge chance. She wasn't sure she'd be able to climb with us, but she wanted to give it a shot. She thought, just maybe, she could surprise herself.


That Saturday, a group of twelve women and I met on the lower West Side.

During the workshop, we talked about what success meant to us. We looked at the things that were standing in our way. I led them through a visualization where they imagined—in detail—what their ideal lives would look like. And then, we mapped out some actions they could take to make it a reality. When we went into the adventure, I asked them to visualize their success at the top of the wall.

Throughout the workshop, Sarah looked thoughtful, like she had a lot on her mind. During the break, before we climbed, I asked her how she was feeling.

"Nervous. But hopeful," she said. "I really feel like, if I can climb this wall, then I'll prove something to myself. I'll know that I can get past the things that scare me."


As we got into our harnesses, preparing to climb. I reminded the group that this challenge was a metaphor for life. The wall represented what they wanted most, so as they climbed it, they were getting closer and closer to their dreams.

"You have everything you need within you," I said. "All you have to do is tap into your inner power, and no matter what happens, keep climbing. You will get there.

"I can't wait for you to see the view from the top."

And with that, we climbed.

When it was Sarah's turn, she got about ten feet because she started to panic.

"I don't know if I can do this," she called down. A group of us stood below her. "You can," someone said. "You're safe, you're okay," said another. "Sarah, you're strong enough to do this," I said. "See your bigger vison, there at the top."

She closed her eyes, hugging the wall. For a second, I thought she might come down.

"It's okay if you need to come down," said one woman. "We're still here for you."

Eyes still closed, Sarah nodded, then shook her head.

"No," she said. "I'm doing this." And with a deep breath, she began to climb.

When she reached the top, everyone cheered—but no one louder than Sarah.

"I can't believe it," she said, her eyes filling with tears. When she came down, we surrounded her in a big hug. "I never thought I'd be able to do something like that. I can’t believe it."


A few weeks later, Sarah called me.

"Sonia," she said, "When I came down from that wall, I felt like I could do anything. In fact, I went home and started looking for jobs at nonprofits. That came up during the visualization – doing work that has real meaning, using my expertise to help people. Before that workshop, I was too afraid of making a change—especially to a job that pays less than I'm used to. But I applied, and interviewed, and just this week, I got a job offer from the SPCA. I start in two weeks."

"That's incredible!" I said.

"I know," she said, her voice smiling. "And—this is just crazy, but when I got that job offer, I felt so good—not, no just good, empowered--that I called up an old friend from college, someone I always thought could be a little more than a friend, you know? We'd lost touch, we were both seeing other people for so long. But now—well, I'm meeting him for dinner tonight."

"Sarah," I said, "That is so awesome. Congratulations."

That was four years ago, and recently, Sarah and her "old friend" sent out invitations to their wedding. She loves her job at the SPCA. And, she told me, she's still afraid of heights, but they're planning to do a little rock-climbing on their honeymoon. "You might need to come with us," she joked, "or else I might get stuck up there."

Sarah's story is a testament to the power of adventure – not just for fun, or to have a good story to tell your friends (though you get that too).

Adventure has the amazing power to bring us to new place. To push us out of our comfort zones. To help us discover strengths that are deep inside us —that we might not even know we have. Adventure helps us take a chance on the life we really want.

Are you ready?

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