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When I first started the No Map. No Guide. No Limits blog, in 2009, I thought I was writing a blog about passion and adventure. And on one level, I was. But as time has gone on, I’ve realized that what I’m really writing about is much bigger than that.

What this blog is really about is power. Not power over anything, but finding and embracing power to–the power to have a positive impact on all kinds of things, from the meaning and quality of our own lives, to the quality of the world around us.

What gives us the power to change, impact, or influence the quality of our lives or the world the most? In truth, there are many paths to power–not all of them admirable. But there is a particularly strong and unshakable kind of power that comes from authenticity; from having your thoughts, actions and pursuits integrated and aligned with values or goals you believe are important, at your core.

To have that kind of authentic power, of course, you first have to have an  idea of who you are, at the core. So it all starts with an open, honest, and ongoing assessment of ourselves; our evolving strengths, limits, values, likes, dislikes, and unique traits that make us who we are.  That’s why I’m such a big fan of adventure - because when we step into the uncertain realm of adventure, it almost never fails to teach us valuable lessons about both ourselves and this challenge called life. And while passion is an internal force that allows us to accomplish many things in the outside world, it’s also a complex, two-way street. Discovering that we feel passionate about a vision, a cause, or a path can also help us define, or change, who we thought we were, at the core.

istock_000004171936xsmallWhy does all that matter? Because I’ve discovered that there’s an amazing strength that comes from knowing, being comfortable with, and taking responsibility for who you really are and what you care most about. It allows you to make far better decisions about what paths to pursue and what trade-offs are worth making, and it allows you to be at peace with the risks and costs of whatever decisions you make. It allows you to let go of all kinds of external and petty distractions and pressures, and focus instead on elements like purpose, quality, and what makes you feel fulfilled and alive. And it allows you to bring an astounding kind of passion, perseverance and strength to both individual and team efforts you pursue in the world. It allows you, in other words, to become a wise and powerful captain of your own ship, capable of steering it in whatever direction resonates with, and nurtures, your authentic inner compass the most … and gives you the ability to have meaningful and positive impact beyond yourself.

This goal of becoming the captain of your own ship, and trying to make the journey as vibrant, meaningful, and fulfilling as possible, is the core philosophy of No Map. No Guide. No Limits.

But journeys are always challenging. And being a wise and strong captain requires more than just self-knowledge - as any adventurer very quickly learns. So this blog is also about how to navigate an uncharted journey successfully, whether that journey is physical, entrepreneurial, professional, or personal. It’s about how to overcome fear and find the courage to explore both within ourselves and the world at large. It’s about decision-making under pressure, and evaluating what risks are worth taking. It’s about finding the strength to embrace the discomfort of uncertainty, and endure the challenges of adversity, so we can reap the benefits that new territory and change bring. It’s about exploration, innovation, and creativity - all of which are powerful tools in overcoming obstacles and navigating unknown terrain or futures. It’s about finding the strength to be independent, and the wisdom and skill to work well as part of a team. It’s about finding meaning and purpose, and bringing the power of an authentic voice, and authentic passion, to those pursuits.

It’s powerful stuff. I know. But that’s why I started this blog.

Most of the essays on this site are my own. But I’ve also been fortunate to benefit from the insights and wisdom of other contributors, every now and then. I even have one particular feature called “I Do This Because…” which showcases authentic voices and stories of other adventurers who are pursuing uncharted but passionate and meaningful paths and journeys. (If you’d like to read my own “I Do This Because …” essay, you can find it here. And if you recognize yourself, or a kindred spirit, in these stories, I welcome new additions! Contact me! In fact, I welcome all readers’ thoughts and stories about adventure, challenge, voice, mission, passion, purpose, life choices, or exploring and surviving uncertainty (in comments to posts, or by email).

After all, one of the reasons I started this blog is because I know that striving to build an integrated, authentic life filled with passion and meaning … while deeply rewarding and good for long-term happiness and health … is not the easiest of paths to take in life. And that good traveling companions-even virtual ones-can make all the difference in a challenging journey or adventure.

In the end, we all have to figure out our own answers and journey. But fellow travelers can offer valuable perspectives and advice, point out a few danger spots, and provide an essential element for giving us the strength to keep going: the realization that we’re not alone. So whatever your situation, story, or perspective, welcome to the campfire! I hope that by spending some time here, you find some of that valuable advice, perspective, and kinship … and find yourself inspired and recharged for the journey ahead.