"Courage is the gateway to freedom, to fulfilling your life’s work, and to answering the call to lead. Courage is the choice to do something that frightens you and that stretches your capability and capacity to grow and give. Courage is the constant companion in Outward Bound and in Mark’s writing. Without it, you’ll not take the first step towards your calling."
These words from best selling author and master coach Richard Leider are part of the foreward of my soon to be published book Outward Bound Lessons To Live A Life of Leadership. It will be hitting the bookstores in October of 2019. Richard served on the board of the Voyageur Outward Bound School when I was an instructor and leader there, and his writing and work had a deep impact on my life and work. Richard is the definition of a courageous Expeditionary Leader--a term I am using to describe the principles, approach and impact that comes from people who have experienced Outward Bound in their lives.
I spent more than two decades working for Outward Bound. I led wilderness courses in some of the most remote and beautiful wild places in North America. Those experiences shaped me, my worldview, and my approach to my own leadership.
In 2012 I had the opportunity to really put all I had learned to the test when I joined the leadership team of a 90+ year old, family owned auto dealer group. I had been asked to lead the culture change of a business where all of the leadership team except me had more than 20 years with the company, in an industry that I had never worked in before.
Outward Bound is a nautical term that refers to the moment when a ship leaves the safety of its port for the unknown adventure of the open seas. The "P" flag, nicknamed the blue peter, is raised to call all hands back to the ship so that it can set sail outward bound.
When I joined the Grappone Automotive Group I was most certainly "outward bound." And although the industry was completely new to me and the direction of the future of the company was completely unknown and unknowable to me, the experience itself felt very familiar. It was the same that I had experienced dozens of times before when I led leadership programs, wilderness expeditions and team building trips. The wilderness is merely the catalyst--the feelings, emotions, ebbs and flows of the experience are the real journey.
It was through this experience that I leaned on the lessons I had learned through Outward Bound. As we turned the company into, if you'll pardon the pun, a vehicle for good in the world, we began to receive national recognition. And a thought crossed my mind: who else has taken the lessons they learned from Outward Bound and taken them into the world? What lessons might they teach me if I could speak to them? What could the leaders of the world learn from the millions who have experienced Outward Bound?
This was the birth of Outward Bound Lessons To LIve A Life of Leadership. And after speaking to leaders who have reshaped entire industries, led environmental and social change movements, and had stood in some of the most historically significant moments of our time, I knew that I had stumbled upon something very special.
I am so honored and excited to share these lessons with you, told through the stories of the Expeditionary Leaders that I had the privilege of meeting. I hope you'll keep reading.