Adventures (and Misadventures) Lead to Growth

Photo by Steven Depolo 

Photo by Steven Depolo 

It is so nice to meet you! I want to introduce myself. My name is Bree Groff, and I am the newest addition to the Peer Insight team. Previously, I was the head of innovation at a K-12 private school, before that I was an instructional coach, before that a math and physics teacher, a psychology researcher, an actress, and way back in my high school days, an assistant in a magic show. Those were the days.

I have taken many paths in life, both figuratively in my career and literally in my travels around the world, and from those experiences, I can tell you this: the best stories of my life describe times when something went awry.

Serendipity and itineraries just don’t mix. For example, there was the time I missed a flight connection in Toronto and, instead of spending the night in the airport sleeping on my suitcase, a very sweet customs agent took me back to her home for a homemade Filipino feast with her family. She gave me a place to stay before driving me back to the airport in the morning. It was an experience filled with surprise and uncommon generosity, and it never would have happened without a little misadventure. My favorite travel quote is by Gilbert Chesterton:

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”

It’s not always an easy philosophy to live by (I once got on the wrong bus in Santiago and found myself stranded and shivering in the Chilean Andes. I tried really hard, then, to remember that I was having an “adventure”), but the rewards of embracing and finding meaning in a “pivot” are plentiful.

It is for this reason I find design thinking so powerful. It expects and revels in surprise. In fact, if you don’t find yourself thinking, “Well that’s different!” at some point during the process, the process isn’t working. In order to grow you have to learn, and in order to learn, you have to see something you’ve never seen before: you have to have an adventure.

Have you ever felt, in your life or your business, that something that went "wrong" ended up contributing to your success?

Message me: @BreeAGroff