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Enhancing Life’s Adventure

Enhancing Life’s Adventure
By Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS

I love studying LEADERSHIP. Leadership of the world’s most successful businesses. Leadership of the world’s best professional sports teams. I love studying Leadership because Leadership is all about IMPACT.

I was recently in Phoenix, Arizona, to facilitate a 1.5 day “TD IMPACT Leadership Program.” Our client company, Quest Ventures Southwest, Inc., wanted to “enhance life’s adventure” for their 75 employees through their annual “Adventure Summit” gathering. The interesting thing—Quest is a construction rehabilitation company. They work on civil construction and rehab projects like bridges, dams, tunnels, water treatment plants, etc.

And you’re probably thinking, “How does ‘enhancing life’s adventure’ fit with a construction company?”

The answer is LEADERSHIP. At all levels.

In the pre-event meetings, Howard Birch, President of Quest, shared with me that he had several goals for implementing our pilot leadership program at Quest:

1.    He truly wanted to improve the quality of each employee’s life. Howard believed that if each employee felt empowered to enhance life’s adventure, the entire team would be happier, healthier, more productive and more successful.

2.    Howard and the senior leadership team also wanted to debunk the concept of “balance” in life. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never liked the idea that life is like a seesaw we should try to keep level. There’s no fun in that, and who could win at that game anyway? Life is about a series of sprints and recovers. And the key to great energy is in recovery. Sprint hard and then recover hard. I call that “Mellow Yellow” time (thank you Wayne Cotton!) and we all need more of it.

3.    The Quest team wanted to marry the core values of their company to their mission and vision. And because Howard had read my book, he wanted to reinforce this with “IMPACT” messages of just how important physical/mental/spiritual conditioning is to success in life. Two core values at Quest are ENERGY and EXCELLENCE, so it was a great tie-in to the importance of fitness, commitment, teamwork, communication, and fun.

Quest is building LEADERSHIP at all levels of the organization. This was not a weekend meeting of just the executive team. I opened the 1.5-day TD IMPACT Leadership Program with a keynote address on “10 In—10 Out—The Makings of a Champion” during an “all hands on deck” gathering on Friday afternoon. This was a chance to speak to the leader within each and every person in the company.

Working with Howard Birch (and Karl Banschbach, Layne Birling, and Kalli Belt), I got to see leadership at its finest. A Friday morning pre-session focused on mission, vision, values and goals. And these topics fueled our dialogue with the team clear to the end. I witnessed heart-felt sharing in a room filled with passion and love because Quest is a company already LEADING in so many ways.

The “Adventure Summit” was a way for senior leadership to make sure their entire team could excel in ALL areas – personal and professional. Man, we had a whole lot of fun!

My experience with Quest reminded me of one of my all-time favorite authors and influencers on LEADERSHIP, John Maxwell. He is often referred to as the “Grandfather of Leadership Training.” I have studied him greatly. A favorite of mine from Maxwell’s “Developing The Leader Within You” is his description of 5-levels of leadership.

  • Level 1 Leader. People follow you because they have to. It’s the “bottom floor” of leadership.
  • Level 2 Leader. People follow you because they want to. “Permission” leadership is built because the leader has created relationships with people.
  • Level 3 Leader. People follow you because of what you have done for the organization. Level 3 Leaders make things happen and their reputation for getting things done attracts other high-achievers to them.
  • Level 4 Leader. People follow because of what you have done for them personally. It is here that leaders reproduce their influence by growing their teammates into leaders themselves. Level 4 Leaders acquire an eye for talent and they do their utmost to bring out the best of each person within their sphere of influence. As people on the team grow, an entire organization rises to new heights.
  • Level 5 Leader. People follow because of who you are and what you represent. Level 5, known as “Pinnacle” leaders, have created a legacy that transcends their organization and extends beyond their industry. Level 5 Leaders lead with spirit and emotion. They reflect the soul of their organizations.

By having the opportunity to work with Howard Birch and his company, I was able to see a Level 5 Leader at work. I also had the opportunity to work and develop an out-of-the-box program to help the team at Quest achieve their goal to “Enhance Life’s Adventure.”

My friend, what are you doing to lead your company? Your life? As mentor Robin Sharma shares, “Everyone within an organization is a leader without a title.” Now is the time to step up and examine your sphere of influence. Are you so busy trying to keep the seesaw level, you missed all the fun of the game? Don’t miss out on life’s adventure! Make sure your current habits and routines are BEST PRACTICES that allow you to operate at your peak. Surround yourself with great people. Read or listen to great leadership books. Work out intensely. Eat world-class. Get quiet time. And of course, LIVE INSPIRED!

BEST PRACTICES will enable you to find the leader within. Within you AND within those around you. Because just as one of my favorite leadership quotes of all time states, “A leader of one… a leader of many…if you can’t lead one… you can’t lead any.”

First, lead YOURSELF. You will INSPIRE the world to greatness!

Life truly is an ADVENTURE, my friend. LIVE it ABUNDANTLY!!!

Peace and love,


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