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Over this past week, I worked with a very talented group of wealth advisors  to help them help their clients craft a great work-optional life beyond the finances. I asked these advisors, when was your last real adventure? Now to be clear, real adventures can be intellectual, physical and/or spiritual in nature, but they need to embody the following criteria:

  • You get a visceral response – tingling, pit in your stomach, goosebumps

  • Something meaningful is learned, often about yourself

  • The outcome is uncertain – not guaranteed

  • The experience leaves you with an increased level of self-confidence

So, with question now asked, I saw some of the audience immediately put pen to paper and jot down their most recent real adventure, while many others pondered skyward, searching. As I asked participants to share their adventures I heard great stories, including one individual who had recently proposed while a top a mountain:)

Still many others said it had been years and often many decades since they had their last real adventure. What was particularly poignant was the sobering look on these faces as they had realized so many years had passed without real adventure. So let me ask you – when was your last real adventure?

If you have to go back aways, you are not alone. Most individuals 45+ have, through the erosion of time and embracing busyness, had real adventure all but scrubbed from their lives. Lives get busy – busy is always there. But busy often hides small, the contraction of your life’s boundaries to the known and routine.

Your work-optional life should be viewed as a winning lottery ticket, one you should fully cash in. Most work-optional individuals have more resources and time than at any other point in their lives. This is the time to embrace real adventure, whatever that is for you. Surrendering to the comfortable may feel good in the moment but it signals to your mind and body you won’t be requiring their full capabilities going forward.

Real adventure, whether that is going back to school, backpacking across a country you would like to explore, riding in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, finally learning how to swim or speak Icelandic, building your own cabin, getting that motorbike, or penning your novel, these adventures will act as an essential catalyst for the rest of your life. How, you ask? When we embrace the unknown, when we learn, when we achieve or fail, we learn more about what we are truly capable of and our confidence rises.

And a rising level of confidence floats all aspects of your life. You will crave more things with purpose; you will tend to take better care of yourself mentally and physically; you will find yourself being able to solve more problems with less effort. And let’s not forget, you will feel more fully alive.

The next decades of your life are not meant to mirror a withering balloon. No, no! Your next years are where your greatest adventures will be found, if you allow room for them.