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The Last Office Before the Jungle: Adding Adventure to Work Culture

The Last Office Before the Jungle: Adding Adventure to Work Culture

I once went to a beach restaurant on a small island in the Grenadines called The Last Bar Before The Jungle.  It was an oversized beach shack with weather-worn tables in the sand and a happy-go-lucky bartender waving at me.  As I approached the funky restaurant, I laughed to myself and thought, “Now this is gonna be a good time!”

Mallory Brown photos (1)Photo courtesy of Mallory Brown - St Vincent and the Grenadines

We all want to go on an adventure instead of going to work.  Am I right?  

The definition of adventure is an exciting experience or undertaking that is typically bold and often risky.  Business may be presented this way on Shark Tank, but in reality, the day-to-day of professional life is much more mundane.  It’s controlled, predictable, and transactional - the very opposite of an adventure.  

One of the largest frustrations of business owners is the lack of motivation and productivity of their employees.  Yet, the repetitive tasks and “play it safe” culture of our workplaces causes the very inertia and stagnation we loathe.  We create boring environments which produce bored employees.  And we wonder why we all want more vacation days!

How do we add more adventure into our workplaces?  How do we make our people show up with positive attitudes, open minds, and the giddy excitement they would if they were about to take a cruise down the Nile?

We need to make going to work feel more like going on an adventure.  

There are simple challenges we can add to our daily workplace culture that will improve workplace morale and ultimately increase motivation and productivity.


How to add an adventurous spirit to your workplace culture

1. Challenge Your Team to Try New Things  

One of the most exciting parts about travel is doing things you’ve never done before.  You might try zip lining while in Costa Rica or eat a spicy jalapeno in Mexico.  You adopt a “when in Rome” attitude.  But at the office, we tend to categorize jobs and delegate to categorized people.  All financial questions go to the Accounting Department.  All design decisions come from the Creative Department.  We get nestled into a specific role and stop challenging ourselves to expand.

Create a culture that encourages people to try new things.  When an opportunity arises to use a new technology, learn a new skill, or head up a new project, challenge yourself to do it.  Lead by example.  Take a risk.  You’ll realize you are much more capable than you think you are, and if it goes wrong, keep a light heart.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Just try again.   

When we see others taking risks, we are more willing to do so ourselves.  This creates a ripple effect of courage in the office.  Courage is contagious.  When your team feels comfortable to try new things, they will set bigger goals and have more fun doing it!  


2. Take Small Steps Toward Big Goals

Once you set a big goal - like increase your sales volume or break into a new product category -  take small steps to build momentum.  If you try to jump to the finish line, you’ll overwhelm your team and fail.

Have you ever seen someone who is afraid of heights try to cliff jump?  You can tell they want to jump but fear is taking over their body.  Their legs shake, their throat closes up, and tears come to their eyes.  They stand far away from the edge and let everyone else go ahead of them. 

I’ve watched many people in this situation, and there is a distinct difference between the ones that jump and the ones that back out.  The ones that eventually jump work themselves up to it.  First, they first dip their feet into the water to test the temperature.  Then, they jump from a low rock.  Then from a medium rock.  Then, they climb up to the high rock and stand there for a long time getting comfortable.  Then finally, they take a deep breath and jump.  The ones that climb straight to the high rock, with no small steps along the way, are the ones that wimp out.  They never jump.  

Don’t try to race to meet your goal, instead, take small steps to build momentum.  You’ll find yourself accomplishing more than you thought possible. 


3. Help Others

I love talking with people who have just returned from service trips.  Whether they went to a homeless shelter or a developing country, they are filled with so much emotion and rarely have the words to describe their experience.  It’s like they have discovered the core of humanity, and their priorities have shifted.  This is because human beings find purpose in helping others.  It’s what ultimately brings us meaning and fulfillment.  

Businesses were originally designed to solve problems and help people, but slowly, over time, business seems to be more focused on making money than helping others.  If we can refocus our business priorities back to their roots and encourage our employees to help people, we will all be so much happier.  Whether helping our customers or mentoring our younger teammates, we feel our time spent is worthwhile when we help others.

Mallory Brown photos
Photo courtesy of Mallory Brown, Ryan Doyle, and Mike Corey - Madagascar

To summarize: 

Try new things.  Be bold.  Courage is contagious. 

Take small steps to build momentum toward big goals.

Fulfillment comes from helping others.


If we can challenge our teams to follow these three principles, our work days might feel more like travel days.  And we’d all be happier and more productive.  

Maybe even hang a sign on your office door to set the mood: The Last Office Before The Jungle.

About Mallory Brown

mallory author photo - fullMallory Brown is an impact storyteller and keynote speaker.  She travels the world to tell real-life stories of human connection.  Mallory has visited over 60 countries, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight poverty, and spoken to audiences globally about leadership, culture, and doing meaningful work.  

Learn more at Mallory Speaks or follow her adventures 
@ MallorySpeaks