A Proper Wilderness

2009 July 3
by Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher

Creative Commons License photo credit: rickilevy69

I’m an unrepentant Bear Grylls fan. His show on Discovery Channel, “Man vs. Wild,” always inspires and encourages me. Most of us will never encounter the challenges and outright risks and dangers Grylls does, but this weekend’s show got me thinking about how we may not be so far apart after all. He used the phrase, “a proper wilderness,” and that feels like a great metaphor for so many people striking out to find their new best careers and goals.

Grylls served three years with a special forces unit of the British army. One can really only officially be on active duty in the army for so many years before one has to start thinking about other things; particular if one has broken one’s back in three places during service! But what if what you do, what you love, what you were meant to pursue and prove and teach, is the very thing you feel required to depart?

Today’s economy and the dramatic shifts in the work place have required many of us to take a step back and start thinking about how to answer this question. If you find yourself required to make a change, don’t be too hasty to assume that all of what you loved about what you used to do is now out of reach. Spend some time in self-analysis, identifying not only your hard skills but your favorite pursuits and activities. Think not only about yourself as an individual, but about your skills on a team, and within an organization.

Grylls left the special forces, and one might think he would never skin a rattlesnake barehanded and eat it raw for a living again; yet here he is, still doing what he does better than anyone, and doing that in which he finds the most personal and professional satisfaction.  (He earns a nice paycheck as well.  Coincidence?  Probably not!)

Give yourself a taste of something new and off-the-charts innovative this week, but bring your favorite existing skills. You might just find yourself rethinking what is and is not possible for your own next adventure.

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