FOCUS: Adventures

DISCIPLINES: Mental Models, Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting
— Goethe


I have been having adventures all summer! Webster’s Dictionary defines an adventure as an exciting or very unusual experience. It’s exhilarating to plan or happen on adventures, experience them fully, then relive them.

I had a 9 day visit from Sam and Ruthie, grandchildren ages 14 and 11 from across the country. They flew here by themselves, and we played all week! Then Hal and I flew to California to help my ancient Uncle Buddy settle into The Golden Living Center. This adventure included learning all about nursing homes, enjoying my sister Wendy and her family, reminiscing and laughing with my uncle. In a side trip to my daughter Lisa’s house, a great adventure happened on us. An escaped zebra ended up in their backyard and it took police and trainers about three hours to corral it.

But the adventure I want to talk about jump-started my summer. And it contained so many qualities of a good adventure that I want to tell you more about it and dissect it a little.

I sang with 180 people from around the world in the 4th annual Baha’i Choral Festival. What an extraordinary adventure! Such an interesting, diverse group – including very old people, some rickety on their feet, but still singing like angels, young vibrant kids with earrings in their lips and everything in between! From Uganda and Barbados and every part of US…, white, Asian, Latino, Persian, etc. etc. Van Gilmer, the director, demonstrated leadership at its absolute best. He gave us a huge vision, then required a lot, was demanding, inspiring, funny, respectful and acknowledging. I felt inadequate at times – had fantasies that someone would point to me and say, “You there….how did you sneak in here?” It was quite a stretch. These were mostly REAL singers. With beautiful voices. Van kept promising it would come together. And on Sunday we had to get up at 4:30 A.M. after just 2 1/2 days of intense practice…and give two, hour-long, a cappella concerts. The glorious Baha’i House of Worship was full for both – 750+ people. It is an experience to remember singing in that amazing structure. And we truly did what we set out to do….touch people’s hearts with the word of God. Mostly I watched Van very carefully – he is an expressive director who gives so many clues about what to do and when – but once my eyes wandered to a man in the front row. Tears were streaming down his face. This was a huge, thrilling adventure, a dream come true. There will be a CD and even maybe a DVD. I was in the front row of the 180 people choir, the only woman 2nd tenor. Experience the concert for yourself here:

For me a memorable adventure includes at least these factors:

  • Something about it is a stretch or a surprise
  • I learn things from it
  • There is either beauty or fascination connected with it
  • It stays with me long after it’s over

Coaching Tip:

Plan an adventure. Something you’ve wanted to do for a long time. It doesn’t need to be expensive. It might be volunteering at a soup kitchen or a place that rocks preemie babies. It might be bungee jumping, sky diving or going from couch to 5K. ( It might mean traveling somewhere unknown, a new state, or a foreign country. Plan it and begin to enjoy the rewards of “plunging boldly into the thick of life,” as Goethe describes it.


  • Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore the topic of adventures more deeply. Call Tuesday, August 31 at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific) 1-218-862-1300 PIN 276583. No need to register…just call at that time!
  • Some of you expressed interest in the full text of the talk I gave last month on Saying No to Say Yes at the Women’s Small Business Association Conference. Here it is:
  • I’ve mentioned the Systems Thinking in Action Conference to you many times. This year is very special – it is the 20th conference, an anniversary to celebrate and a time to bring systems thinkers from around the world and from different disciplines together. The conference will be in Boston from Nov. 8-10, and its theme is Systems Thinking in Action: Fueling New Cycles of Success. ( I want to invite you into this extraordinary conversation. Peter Senge, Robert Fritz, Daniel Kim and people like you and me from every sector will be there. The conversations we will have there will be like four star meals. Pegasus has given me permission to offer Fresh Views participants the early bird low price. Please consider joining my team! Shoot me an e-mail at to say yes and make arrangements. We’ll have an adventure!

Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail

Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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