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We live in a culture of complaint.  Growling grumpy attitudes rumble and rage. It is the lazy man´s take on a call to action. They think that by pointing out a problem they are participating in the solution.  Yet, problem finding is lifeless without a passionate approach towards creating solutions.  In our books, we call that noise.

Peak performing teams must dial down the noise and amp up the pursuit of passion.

It is far better to build a small, tight knit and highly passionate team, then keep noise makers on board. The objective is to build into the endeavor one team member at a time an individual that gets the vision, brings to the table that passion level of energy and who thrives on persistence.

Pioneering in particular calls for that crucial mixture of passion plus persistence.  The persistence is the X factor that drives an individual or team well past its competitors.  When the noise makers drop out from frustration, the passionate and persistent team pushes past that point and seeks an alternative route to the peak.

They tackle it until they have exhausted all their possibilities.  And when they do find the solution, create the value and reach the peak, they savor it and then move onto the next big challenge.  They keep that passion at their core.

World class rock climber Sharma embodies this pioneering mindset of persistence + passion:



Exercising choice is powerful.  Its effects ripple out in every direction in our lives, personally and professionally.

Yet many individuals compartmentalize their lives, forming a faulty foundation for making effective clear decisions.

It is in this ability to take a full spectrum view on one´s life, that effective paths are forged.  It is a sign of maturity and ultimately of wisdom.

Another factor we encourage people to take into consideration is the span of time in which they evaluate their trade-offs.  In a culture of quarterly returns and hyper-drive, short-termism creeps into the scene and clouds long-term thinking.  This in turn shuts out the voice of perspective.

While it is impossible to estimate the full impact of any given decision, it is possible to be value driven. And these values are enduring and last a life time. The best pioneering minds we have met to date have character built on rock solid values.

Sit back and enjoy this reflection:

UP is a film in the theaters now.

It is a must see.  While most of the reviews focus on the humor and box office sales figures, we focus on the message of this film.  This is a story of substance that brilliantly displays the spirit of adventure, collaboration between generations and the value of leadership, team work and commitment.

The story is driven by the spirit of quest, discovery and exploration.  All key elements which drive the innovator, builder of social ventures and individuals that seek to pursue a fresh professional path.

US President Woodrow Wilson said, “We grow by dreams.  All big individuals are dreamers.  They see things in the soft haze of a spring day, or in the red fire on a long winter´s evening.  Some of us let those great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nourish them through bad days until they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.”

The quest is the adventure that calls us.

Discovery is the fuel that drives the quest and moves us to explore.  The film´s setting is rooted in a powerful tradition started by Arthur Conan Doyle´s Lost Land.  The backdrops to these stories take place in a real remote part of the planet situated in the depths of Venzuela and Brazil.

It is easy to see why this land sparked a burning curiosity:

Most people appreciate the AH-HA feeling of discovery and most get excited about the quest.  Yet, the vast majority of individuals stop short of exploring.
And it is in the commitment to action and exploration that a true quest is commenced with the potential for discovery. It is in this union of questing, discovery and exploration that one begins to exercise the muscles which advance the Pioneer Mindset.

The Skoll Foundation  is at the cutting edge of searching, selecting and backing the best and brightest social entreprenuers. They point to Muhammad Yunnus´s Grameen Bank, the world leader in micro-finance, as the birth point of what is social entrepreneurship.  

The founder of the Pioneer Mindset had the fortune to witness the rise from the Grameen´s small beginnings over 15 years ago as an early adaptor of the organization´s intiative.  It went from a small, clear, focused endeavor into an platform that has extended over $6billion in micro-loans, keeping its original values and reaching expotential growth.

Here is a great clip from the Skoll Foundation telling the story of social entrepreneurship:

The social entrepreneur sees massive possibilities where others see massive problems.  Social venturing demands a pioneering mindset and an enduring commitment to expotential results.

Being in a start-up, scaling a business, switching careers or starting a social venture all demand an incredible amount of focus, investment and time.   It always takes longer than anticipated and as success is acheived trade-offs start emerging in the personal life.

“If you don´t feel out of control, you are not driving fast enough,” said race car legend Mario Andretti.  

Mario is one of the most competitive and aggressive professionals to seek the role of apex hunter and champion.  He pushed his team, equipment and himself to the outer limits.  And if you strip away the showmanship and the cult of personality that emerged around him, you will see at the baseline, someone who was driven to realize a vision day in and day out.  

This culture is important in a hyper competitive world both commercially and in the social venture.  On the business front, it is a free market and clients are ever more demanding.  And on the social venture side, each non-for-profit is competing for scare donation dollars.  

Translation, work ethic, fierce focus and rapid response are key ingredients to acheiving expotential results.

Yet, there is a trade-off to this culture.  There is the danger of spill-over into your personal life.  If you are going to shift into overdrive to realize a venture or switch, then you must equally build a complete Pioneer Mindset, which includes slowing way down in the off hours. 

This means repair, maintenance and respect for yourself, family, inner friends and your broader tribe.  You must check that hyper competitive attitude at the door and cultivate a spirit of sanctuary.  For many, they fail to do this, logging in 80 hour work weeks month after month, till they are isolated, burned-out and wondering what happened.

As important as it is to sprint during the day, it is essential to create the space and time needed to rest and restore.  One place to find inspiration is in the Slow Food movement.  The Founder Carlo Petrini is a brilliant character with a witty outlook on life.  Here is a small excerpt translated from a conference:

The bottom line message.  Place a real value on health, family and your inner circle of friends.  You will need them all throughout your pioneering journey.  

You must learn how to hurry up and slow down if you are to build a sustainable and successful path.