Matt Walker is a world class mountain climber and psychologist. He’s also a sought after coach, speaker and professional facilitator. His Seattle based company Matt Walker Adventure facilitates once in a lifetime adventures, coaches individuals to reach their personal and professional goals, and offers professional team development workshops. Matt is also the author of the book Adventure in Everything.
For Matt, the current pandemic qualifies as a unique, unpredictable and wild adventure. He says: “we are all on an expedition that none of us signed up for, and we can’t get off.”
Many people might define adventure as climbing to the top of a mountain or trekking through a jungle. But for Matt, it’s much deeper: “it’s a way of being in the world.”
Matt challenges us to find adventure in the everyday, even in our backyards, neighborhoods and hometowns. In this way, adventure is a daily practice of slowing down and seeing things in a new way. He gives the examples of baking cookies with his kids or taking a walk in his neighborhood.
Adventure isn’t just about where we go and what we do, but rather it’s a “subtle mind shift.” We allow ourselves to release judgement about our situation, become more comfortable with uncertainty and engage the world with curiosity.
Matt says that when you push through the judgement and embrace the way things are, you find the gift of being present to the moment, present to those around us and present to the curiosity.
So much of Matt’s work is about identifying personal values and making sure that they are in alignment with one’s actions. He also encourages people to become more aware of how they spend their time and whether that time lines up with their energy and their values.
Later, Matt dives a bit deeper into the five (5) elements of adventure. He says this was born out of a series of trips to the Himalayas. He came to realize that adventure wasn’t based solely on the summit experience, but rather it was a way of being.
The five elements of adventure are: High Endeavor; Uncertain Outcome, Total Commitment; Tolerance for Adversity; and Great Companionship. He says that we want to tap into all five for a full breadth of experience and life.
Matt shares some of the morning practices that keep him centered and grounded. These days, he gets up a little early with a cup of coffee and does some morning breath work for about 10 minutes. This is followed by a 10 minute walk outdoors in Nature. Carving out this 20 minutes of fresh air and space help to give him a little more resiliency with his kids and his workday.
When it comes to dealing with feelings of being overwhelmed, Matt finds two strategies very helpful: releasing and expressing anger and releasing and expressing gratitude!
In the end, Matt’s advice to his younger self: chill the fuck out. He says: worry less, breathe more, laugh more, smile more, and even say YES more.
You can learn more about Matt Walker, his book and his work here: https://mattwalkeradventure.com/