Extreme Adventure: What Erden Eruc Teaches Us About Work

An adventurer in the midst of circumnavigating the globe knows how to overcome obstacles.

By + More

Curt Rosengren
Of all the ways I fuel my career journey, one of the most important is with the energy I get from people who inspire me. One huge source of inspiration is my friend Erden Eruc.

Erden is in the midst of a human-powered circumnavigation of the globe, with summit attempts on the highest peak on six continents thrown in for good measure (more on that at around-n-over.org). Recently, he spent 312 days crossing the Pacific in his ocean-rowing boat. Before that, his efforts included a solo row across the Atlantic and bicycling from Seattle to Alaska in the winter to climb Mount McKinley.

The physical accomplishments are impressive, but for me, the biggest impact has come from watching him overcome obstacle after obstacle.

Rather than wasting energy bemoaning the challenges, Erden simply looks at them and says, "OK, what do I do about it? How can I get around this? What are the options? Who can help me with it?" He takes a look at them, breaks them down, and comes up with solutions. And sometimes, when a problem absolutely can't be solved, he simply changes the plan to take into account the new reality. But he keeps it moving forward.

I'm constantly struck by the parallels between Erden's journey and pursuing your dreams in your career. There are some valuable lessons to be learned from his approach.

It's not always going to be a smooth ride. You're likely to encounter bumps along the way, sometimes big bumps. How you deal with those bumps—whether you see them as insurmountable or simply say, "OK, now how do I keep moving forward?"—will say a lot about whether you turn those dreams into reality.

After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As a speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work and his E-book The Occupational Adventure Guide offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker, explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.