4 Adventure Buddy Questions

I’ve traveled the world, been on incredible adventures, and lived a lot of life in my years.

Most of them were spent alone.

Traveling by yourself is especially difficult. Imagine you’re in an airport and you need to go to the restroom. When you’re alone, you have to drag all your bags & crap with you in there (and those stalls are not what you’d call “spacious“).

If you’re traveling with a buddy, however, you can each take turns watching the stuff while you both go to the restroom, grab lunch, or do whatever needs doing.

Pick the right partner, and adventures become much easier (and more fun by extension). No wonder Einstein said relationships are the most powerful force in the universe.

Whether you’re talking about your personal life, or your business life, it stays the same: picking the right partner is one of the most important decisions you can ever make.

Easier Said Than Done

How do you know you’ve picked the right one? How do you know the problems you’ll invariably have are healthy issues, and not huge red flags that you can’t ignore?

No matter how healthy your relationship, the road will get bumpy. Problems creep up, and cracks start to form in the perfect veneer. Maybe things get really bad.

It can be tough to know whether you should stick it out, or cut your losses while you can. Confusion sets in, and making a good decision gets more and more difficult the longer you stay frozen in indecision.

In a healthy relationship, challenges help you grow as a person. They foster communication skills. You’re forced to face your own shortcomings & work on improving yourself in ways you’d never need to if you were by yourself.

In an unhealthy relationship, you spend so much time on fighting, avoiding conflict, pulling the weight of two people, and much of your energy on being anxious about what fresh hell you’re going to run into tomorrow.

The very real impact of both of these dynamics ripples out into every single area of your life. (I don’t care how good you think you are at compartmentalizing. All areas are affected.)

To help you cut through the weeds of mental doubt, use the following 4 questions. If you answer “yes” to them, you’re heading the right direction. If you answer “no” it might be time to start looking at exit strategies. . .

The 4 Essential Adventure Buddy Questions

1. Do You Both Have the Same Fundamental Principles?

I don’t care how much you love each other. I don’t care how much you respect each other. If you do not share the same core beliefs about the world, yourself, the nature of relationships, or what you want out of your time on this planet, things are not going to go smoothly.

I used to be married to an incredible woman. She’s one of the smartest, kindest, most wonderful people I’ve ever known; it’s no wonder I fell in love with her. We got along great, and we were madly in love, so we decided to get married.

One hiccup: we didn’t have the same fundamental beliefs. Our core structures were not in alignment, and over time those cracks widened into a canyon that became impossible to cross. Cue major issues.

I put this question first because it is absolutely the most important question. If you disagree on this single issue, you’re doomed from the start, no matter how much you want it to be otherwise. So make sure you can answer this one “yes” without hesitation before even worrying about the others.

2. Are You Each Pulling Your Weight?

I get it. People get tired. You might fall down, and need some help getting back on your feet. But, on a broad scale, are you both pulling your own weight? You don’t have to both do 50% of every activity. Maybe you do 100% of one thing, and they do 100% of another. Strengths and weaknesses can complement each other in a healthy relationship.

What is important, however, is that you’re both committed to the success of the relationship. You’re both willing to put in the hard work required for even the easiest relationships. The instant you go on auto-pilot is when your relationship starts dying.

So each person should contribute according to their ability, and put in effort to sustain the relationship.

If you’re the only one putting in effort, you’re putting in twice as much energy for half as many results. Not good.

3. Do You Feel Challenged to Be At Your Best?

People say they want to be with someone where they can “just be me,” but you know what? You’re a procrastinator. You don’t remember birthdays. You can eat 3 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting (and often do).

In short, you’re basically an awful person.

Turns out, being that version of ourselves is not what makes us happy.

What does make us happy, is being with someone who challenges us to be our ideal selves.

This is akin to “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” But instead of “dog,” substitute “partner.”

Living up to that ideal will encourage you to go after those big projects. You’ll put more effort into making things happen for yourself.

As a consequence, you’ll wind up winning more often, which will give you something to talk about other than this week’s Netflix binge session.

Plus, you’ll get better at celebrating other people’s success, too, which is a huge marker of emotional maturity & relationship strength.

Win-Win-Win

4. Does Spending Time With This Person Make You Feel Safe?

Are they more like a harbor (calm)? Or are they a whirlpool(drama llama)? Do they help you feel calm when you’re stressed out? Or does the thought of being in the same room have you looking for an exit?

This can happen in all sorts of relationships.

Some clients are a dream to work with. They value your expertise, they trust your decisions, and encourage you to innovate.

Some clients are a nightmare to work with. They constantly change direction, tell you “some person you’ve never heard of said they don’t like that color, so I’m going to change the whole website design,” and try to get discounts.

Same goes for business partners. Same goes for romantic partners. Same goes for movie date partners.

Same goes for everyone.

Each relationship has the potential to be a net calming effect in your life, or a net stressor in your life.

If they’re an energy vampire, time to invest in some relationship garlic. #ForcedMetaphor

Relationship Audit

So how do the relationships in your life stack up? How many people can you honestly say are whole-hearted YESES on all counts?

I’ve worked very hard to make sure that I live my life in a way where I only spend time with people who are like that. Everyone in my life is a 10/10 on the awesome scale for each one of these four questions.

If they aren’t, I never see them again.

It takes a lot of courage, time, & energy to live like this, but the alternative is slow suicide.

Need help figuring out how to build your life like that? Let’s talk.

Marginal vs Full Cost

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: That was the curious incident.”

That’s an excerpt from Sir Conan Arthur Doyle’s “Silver Blaze,” a Sherlock Holmes novel, and it highlights a particularly curious hiccup in how our brains work: we’re exceptionally bad at noticing what’s not there.

In the story, detectives search everywhere for clues. They dust for fingerprints, look for fibers, etc. They’re looking for the presence of evidence.

Sherlock is the genius because he identifies the absence of a clue; thereby making it the most important clue of all. The dog’s silence means it recognized whoever was committing the crime.

What this costs you

Every time you’re making a choice, you’re evaluating what it is going to cost. There’s the marginal (or face value) cost, and full cost.

Here’s how it plays out, and trips you up.

Consider you’re starting a business, but you don’t have a big budget so you get free business cards from VistaPrint.

At face value it’s very low cost. There are no dollars involved.

You hand them out to prospective clients who you’re perfectly suited to work with. They have a huge budget, want the service you’re providing, and you guys would do amazing work together.

They look at your card and see the watermark on the back.

Get your free business cards from VistaPrint, too!

They’re considering putting you in charge of a massive project involving a lot of money, and you’re showing them you’re not willing to invest in the essentials.

They never offer you the job.

You won’t know why. The phone just won’t ring.

The dog’s not barking.

You’re paying the full price of your decision, but you’ll never see it.

Every choice you make is paid for in full whether you know it or not.

Every time you choose to do it the cheap way instead of the right way, you wind up paying more.

“If you need a machine and don’t buy it, then you will ultimately find that you have paid for it and don’t have it”. ~Henry Ford

Value

When I talk with potential clients who would rather do it on their own, I see that they’re signing up to pay twice for results they’re not going to get. They think, “Boy, that’s expensive! I bet I could do it myself!” Cut to 3 years later and they’ve missed out on all the payoff from investing in themselves compounded by 3 years. (You’re not just farther behind: You’re farther behind multiplied by how far you could have gotten with what you learned in those 3 years.)

Penny smart and a pound foolish.

Every time you consider investing in yourself, it’s difficult to identify the costs you’re not going to see. Trust the people who have been where you are & can tell you. They’re desperately trying to save you from making a costly mistake trying to avoid a marginal expense.

You can’t afford not to.

3 Things to Invest In

If I were interested in making a quick buck, I might be telling you 3 “hot stocks you absolutely must invest in.” I could tell you to buy a product that gives me a commission.

Instead, I’m going to tell you the three things I’ve invested my time, money, & effort into that’s responsible for all of my success.

They might not be what you think of first.

Knowledge

“First you do the best you can. Then when you know better, do better.” -David Hira

Knowledge really is power. Everything I’ve done boils down to having the right information on how to do it.

Or spend years with trial & error to figure it out for myself. Either way, your choices are only as good as the information you use to make them.

In a time where information is freely available online, it’s difficult to sift the golden nuggets from all the useless crap. When you find something valuable, however, there’s nobody who can take it from you.

Whatever treasures you hoard in your mind are yours, and yours forever.

Knowledge is the best return on the investment you can possibly hope for.

Assets

There are things / ideas / strategies / tools that will help you get where you want to go.

Then there’s everything else.

The secret to lasting success is owning what you build. I don’t care how many followers you have on Twitter. I don’t care how many likes you have on Facebook. Any platform you build on can change their rules tomorrow and everything you’ve worked so hard to build can disappear instantly.

Unless you own your platform.

Coaches

The quote about knowing better so you can do better was told to me by one of my favorite coaches & personal mentors. He’s an incredible person with an even more incredible story. His insights, suggestions, and advice come from a lifetime of experience, and every single nugget he shares is pure gold.

When I listen to what he tells me, it saves me years of learning it myself. That’s the power of coaches.

Great advice is worth exactly what you pay for it, too. Coaching ain’t cheap. It’s not easy to put their knowledge into action, either.

But it’s so worth it.

Coaching helps catapult you forward. It instantly establishes momentum. Momentum creates wealth.

Takeaways

  • Put in effort to gain things that can’t be taken away
  • Quality relationships with quality people are priceless & worth everything you can spend to maintain them
  • Knowledge is power (when put into action)