My Journey in Radical Transparency

What are you the best at that you enjoy doing the most?


Not to Become Comfortably Numb

This is one of the greatest personal challenges of modern life. The crazy part is we’re taught it’s something we’re supposed to achieve. Go to school, find a spouse, get a job, buy a house, have a family, and then you get to retire. Bleh, growing complacent and becoming numb is the worst thing that can happen. We’ve all had to happen to us, you find yourself staying in more often not wanting to use the energy to go out and participate.  You get to the point where that becomes the norm.  I’ve had this happen again recently. I say again because breaking this cycle was one of the reasons why we moved to Las Vegas. Admittedly it’s necessary at times, I’m not talking about chilling out to recharge. The problem happens when gravity sets in and you can break free.

Talking about “Why Not” really puts things in perspective. Recently, I was listening to NPR during their annual silent auction. One of the available items was a ticket package for a team to participate in the Cotopaxi Questival. Now, just a couple weeks prior I had heard the Cotopaxi founder, Davis Smith, speak at StartSLC. In his talk he discussed his journey and the why behind the company. One of the ways they’ve been able to share their values is by hosting Questivals (a 24hr team adventure race.) It was in that moment while listening to the radio that I thought “Why Not.” So I put in the bid.

As you might have guessed I won the auction and then had to really figure things out. We had less than a week to put all this together. Who in their right mind would be willing to join us and give up their weekend with less than a week’s notice and run around town doing crazy activities? When it came to forming our team we wanted to take an opportunity to expand on current connections. The relationship process happens in stages. First, you collide with someone then, you share interests and connect until finally, you can build a relationship. We have tons of collisions that form many connections. However, relationships take time and we haven’t made that a priority. Here’s a chance to make that happen. We couldn’t have asked for a better team to come together.

24 hours prior to the start all participants receive a list of about 300 potential activities to perform during the Questival. There’s an assigned point value to use as a baseline. However, bonus points are awarded for creativity and some other subjective criteria. The activities are designed to be fun, helpful, and to take you completely out of your comfort zone. They require you to talk to strangers, do crazy activities, record them and post on social media; None of which we’re used to doing on a daily basis. However, it’s amazing how empowering just participating in the event can be. It’s so easy to just walk up to a stranger, explain that “you know it’s crazy but…” and then ask for their help with some task. In fact, that’s all it took almost 100 percent of the time. It’s how we got 3 ladies who were just eating breakfast at the campground to participate in arm wrestling in leg wrestling.  Another young woman allowed us to escort her across the street while one of us wore a Burt mask.  Each time we asked they started with a bit of a concerned look, but then came around and helped us out.

The Questival itself is just an excuse to start the conversion. What a great excuse, it helped us strengthen relationships, help others in the community and have a ton of fun doing it.  We had an amazing time as you can see in the video here:

I’d like to thank everyone at Cotopaxi and especially the Questival host team. Also thanks to our team, KODJAM (Karen, Oksana, Dylan, Jen, Andy and Mike) for creating such an amazing and memorable experience. You’re the best!

The event is so amazing that I’m still thinking about the tasks that we didn’t get to do. For example one of the tasks is to create a blog post about the event. Since I waited this long, I won’t be getting the points… We continue to see additional tasks all around us.

None of this is an earth shattering, life changing event but, it’s the little things in life that mean the most. We’ve begun to developed several great new relationships that I’m excited to continue. We broke out of our gravity and created an amazing experience. Do you know when you’re numb? What do you do to break out of it?


Why Not?

Transparency has been a key term being discussed in many of my conversations. I know it’s important when running a business. How then should it apply to me personally? I began by wondering what I would need to filter. I couldn’t talk about all the discussions that I’m having about new opportunities… could I? On the other hand if transparency is the goal then why filter at all? Ultimately it all comes down to one simple question: Why Not?

Unless the answer was going to create a significant moral dilemma, cause harm to myself or others, or be illegal then why not go ahead and do it. I was able to live like this for a couple of years. It allowed me to make changes and have experiences that I never would have even considered before. In recent years I’ve gone back to filtering life with a stricter set of criteria. I’m no longer as open to gaining new experiences. This needs to change.

I’m going to commit to blogging once again and working through my decision making process in the open. Right now the most pressing issue is what’s next? I don’t have a specific project that I’m working on right now. There are many great conversation happening about what could be next but, there’s still much work to be done before I can decide.

I’m talking to a half-dozen people about new opportunities. They have not signed on for this journey yet. I’m going to send them each a note to see if they are OK bringing our conversation into the open. I’ll let you know how it goes.