“Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist.”-Unknown
Somewhere around the junior high school years, our U.S. history classes cover the compelling stories of trailblazing people venturing west—crossing the plains ISO (In Search Of) new country and treasures. As I remember studying those narratives, I marveled at how these explorers relied on their smarts, determined to know more and go beyond the boundaries.
These settlers faced the fury of the weather and exposure to harsh natural cycles. In addition, there were rival pioneers, Indians, bandits, or animals to confront. Nonetheless, a wonderful pioneer spirit kept these groups trekking on to fresh space in their covered wagons.
My fascination with these epic historical anecdotes has continued post educational requirements. On a business trip to St Louis in late summer of 2010, I visited the famed Gateway Arch. It stands on the Mississippi River as a monument to those who were part of the westward expansion of this great country. Beneath the grounds of the arch is a museum with an interactive exhibit chronicling the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The bronzed printed passages expertly portrayed the “guts and glory” of their pursuit to the Pacific. The end result of their voyage: 50 States claimed and inhabited because of the daring determination of those who chose to move through what was barren to create bounty.
What tips for life and leadership can we learn from these chronicles of feats?
1. Stake our claim! (Define our destination, goal or dream as ours alone)
2. Gather strength and move fearlessly onward. (Rest and revive to give the effort our best, to be ground us in our journey)
3. Be curious and open to new frontiers. (Explore a detour or two for possibilities and add-ons to enhance our onward trek).
4. Test the limits. (Risks can stretch our untapped mettle)
5. Have a pioneer mindset. (The new awaits with good)
We can’t wait for someone else to tell us what or where we should be. Forking through unchartered territories in our life or career, the mission is to inventory and gather what’s needed for our own new ‘deed’ on life. We each have a covered brand of know-how. Whether it’s starting a business, creating new ways to handle a current enterprise, dealing with client demands or embracing daily leadership challenges at work, press onward.
Go with your force of belief in all that might be possible. That’s your ultimate power!
Parts excerpted from my motivational autobiography, Navigating Life’s Roadways: Stories of Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey