Step-By-Step Guide to Become a Leader and Adventurer
I recently finished listening to Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath. In it, several cool concepts, but one I’ll highlight now is — script the critical moves.
“Any successful change requires a translation of ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors. In short, to make a switch, you need to script the critical moves.
To spark movement in a new direction, you need to provide crystal-clear guidance.”
In this post, I’m going to talk about crystal clear steps on how to become a leader, to become an adventure, and perhaps something more that we ever expected of ourselves.
The whole reason why Venture Out exists is to help you become more. Sometimes it’s with big thoughts, and sometimes, like now, it’s with specific and concrete tips.
Scripting the Steps to Become More
In order to ‘script the critical moves’ to get you where you want to be… well, you have to know WHERE you’re going!
Where you’re going can be answered a number of ways. Who do you want to be? What’s your personal brand (read my post on Controlling your Brand)? For the sake of our conversation, we’ll break it down into just two types:
- The Leader — “I’ve been there and overcame it, so follow me.”
- The Adventurer — “I’m very curious, don’t have all the answers, and journey to discover ultimate truth.”
I took these attractive character types from the book Dotcom Secrets. It’s a masterful book that reveals the matrix behind how (literally) everybody does online marketing and funneling to drive sales. (Seriously, if you’re interested in how influencers end up driving sales, check out the book.)
I digress, but the point is, the person we aspire to is: who we are today + more bold leadership + more passion.
“If you are leading a change effort, you need to remove the ambiguity from your vision of change.”
So, let’s agree you want to be a better leader and more adventurous. Next, I’ll outline specific and concrete steps to get there, while having some fun with it.
Be a Chill Leader
Don’t you wish there was a step-by-step guide on how to become a better leader? Consider your wish granted with today’s email! We have to make it painfully easy to get from point A to point B, where point B is you’re a titan in your industry.
I’ve been a leader for most of my life and yet I’m nowhere near mastering it. Some days I rise to the occasion while on other days I’m barely keeping my head above water. With virtual meetings, I’m unable to read body language, one of my best skills. (I tried playing online poker the other day and lost within minutes!) Specifically, I outline how to become a better leader by discussing traits you’ve probably never heard of, such as being Chill.
There are a billion traits a leader must have. For us, let’s discuss some of the new traits for the leadership challenges of today and the critical steps to get there.
Defuse Tension — In a nutshell, are you adding stress to your workplace (or social circle), or are you defusing it? Leaders know how when it’s appropriate to use pressure to achieve goals. Applying pressure is easy, but defusing it is much harder.
- Empathize. Do you feel the pressure that others are facing? If you can’t relate, then you can’t be trusted.
- Offer them options. Don’t just tell them how, instead offer them multiple options and let them pick, so they can co-own the decision.
- If you’re not helping, then shut the heck up. Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit there and listen.
Be Chill — The art of being chill is so underrated. As Colin Powell wrote, “assess the situation, move fast, be decisive, but remain calm and never let them see you sweat.”
- Pay attention to your body language. Don’t fold your arms when stressed. Don’t lean back when you’ve checked out. Always convey calm and attentiveness with your body.
- Practice your tone. Use a consistent, calming, but confident tone. If you don’t know your tone, record yourself or ask a trusted friend on how you’re coming across. “Dude you sound like Batman in our meetings.”
Decency Quotient — Besides needing high intelligence and emotional awareness, these days you have to have high decency. Decency, “implies a person has not only empathy for employees and colleagues but also the genuine desire to care for them.”
- Fake it until you make it. Even if you don’t care initially, pretend to care about people’s lives. What’ll happen is that you will start caring, because you’re human being and not evil.
- Make it a habit to check in with people, and don’t ask for anything in return. Most of the time we only contact people when we need something. Add equity to your relationship with honest checkins on how they are doing.
Lessons from Adventurer Jimmy Chin
Jimmy Chin has, “scaled and skied Everest, trekked 300 miles across Tibet’s Chang Tang Plateau, and ascended Meru Peak via the treacherous Shark’s Fin — earning a Guinness World Record alongside his climbing comrades.” 
You may know him best as the director for the documentary Free Solo that won an Oscar. I’ve been a fan of Jimmy Chin for years now, initially for his amazing photography, but now also for his demeanor and perspective on life.
“I’m an optimistic person. I’m someone who likes to call out other people’s strengths. I think there are a lot of meaningful stories that come out of expeditions because they represent the positive sides of humanity. Perseverance. Overcoming challenges. Teamwork. Trust. These are the things I feel and appreciate.” — Jimmy Chin in @NatGeo
Sticking to our topic of scripting out the critical steps, below I present my novice critical steps to take to be an adventurer.
“Your innate sense of adventure is pushed back upon by society, family responsibilities and expectations. Living a full life means being open to exploring and taking risks — no matter what you do.” — Jimmy Chin in @MaisonetteWorld 
Sounds nice, but when was the last time we truly felt like explorers? With that spirit in mind, let’s be adventurers.
Romance — Chin read The Hobbit when he was a child and, “loved the idea of being brave. It was pretty romantic; I aspired to these things.”
- DO THIS: What is something you’re crazy passionate about and makes you feel alive? Make concrete plans to do something related that. For me, I’m going to camp in my backyard.
Calculate the Risk — Chin wants to teach his kids about risk. He explains…
“I want them to understand that there is a lot of calculation in the work I do. The first time Conrad Anker, Renan Ozturk and I climbed Meru, we made the painful decision to turn back within sight of the summit. We knew we might never get another chance. There are some parents who equate adventure with danger. They think what I do is crazy now that I have kids, but that’s not exactly the case. A highly tuned sense of adventure teaches you about risk — when it’s appropriate and when it’s not — and this is one of the conversations I’m looking forward to having with my kids as they grow older.” 
I’ve had my own low-level experience with this last year when I tried to climb up lil ole Pikes Peak, with my video of when I turned around here. The only competition is with yourself. That means the adventure is not actually in reaching the destination, but to feel uncomfortable
- DO THIS: Next time you’re in a critical conversation at work, get in tune with how everybody is feeling and see if you can offer something to elevate everybody. It doesn’t matter if you actually say anything, only that you’re thinking through the situation and fine-tuning your senses.
“I was told you had to sweep the front door of the Shaolin temple for years before the masters would even look at you,” says Chin. “You had to prove yourself.” @jimkchin in @NatGeo 
In other words, don’t expect to be climbing Everest out the gate. Instead, start with an adventure that builds your skills and thrills you.
I have to admit, I’ve really enjoyed writing this post. In reading about one of my idols, Jimmy Chin, it’s gotten me to reflect more about what it means to be an adventurer and leader.
“… adventure is not just about exploring the physical realm — adventure is a state of mind. It’s an instinct to look further and to look around the corner.” 
How awesome is that! I feel exactly like that as I’m hiking, getting tired, and contemplating turning around. “But what’s around the corner?” That keeps me going.
When I’m at work and the conversation reaches an impasse, I wonder, “what ‘s around the corner of this conversation?” That keeps me listening.
Let’s wrap up by identifying crystal clear steps on how to be more awesome. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these as much as I did writing them.
At the core of “scripting the critical moves,” as explained in Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath, it’s the ability to understand where we want to go and adopting successful techniques.
For us, that means to be a better leader and a real adventurer, we should adopt what we know works. We can manifest our destiny by copying the specific and concrete steps of other successful people. Here are my current favorites:
Do the Grunt Work — I’ve been observing this leader and how she is immediately receptive of any input, and goes further by taking responsibility to follow up with them as necessary.
“Yes, that’s a great suggestion. Let me add that into the briefing.”
That’s a great power move and shows decency. From an adventurer’s perspective, doing grunt work is practice makes perfect. For example, volunteer to carry the extra weight, such as the shared rope or shovel.
- DO THIS: Assign the glory job to others and take on for yourself a grunt level duty. Then appreciate what it takes to that kind of work.
Positive in EVERYTHING — Recently I observed my boss having to interrupt a paid speaker because it wasn’t working out (not the speaker’s fault). He did it in an absolutely gracious way, taking ownership of the situation, and framing it a way to better honor both the speaker and the audience. He turned an awkward situation for everybody into a moment where we all became closer.
While on an adventurer, things can turn bad in no time. Maybe the rain came in unexpectedly, you lose your credit card, or the roads are closed. It’s precisely in these situations that true adventure is born.
- DO THIS: Next time it gets negative or uncomfortable, make it your responsibility to find a way to see the positive. Reframe, remix, redo, whatever it takes.
Ready To Level-Up?
If you want to have a better chance of achieving your goals, then check out my Epic Life Planning with a free downloadable tool. No catch, no gimmicks, just a step-by-step guide to help you obtain your unobtainium.
- Switch by Chip & Dan Heath
- DotCom Secrets Review: Please READ THIS before buying! Worth It? By Khris Steven
- Three Traits of a Tough Leader by John Baldoni
- For Leaders, Decency Is Just as Important as Intelligence by Bill Boulding
- Transformational Change and Leader Character by Gerard Seijts and Jeffrey Gandz
- Photographer Jimmy Chin on Mastering the Art of Chill
- Adventure Photographer Jimmy Chin Shares His Favorite Photos By Kate Nelson
- How to Raise an Adventurer by Jimmy Chin