We've welcomed adventurer Ben into some virtual conversations with real consideration for current, common challenges in our work and lives.

Like many of us, Ben Saunders can struggle to find the right job description. "Calling myself a polar explorer sounds like I'm stuck in the wrong century. Can I call myself a long-distance skiier?" Ben's spent more than 15 years leading polar expeditions, becoming an endurance athlete that competes in the coldest places on Earth. In the process he's picked up plenty of perspective on building belief, positivity and the framing of success and failure; much of which he's been kindly sharing in conversations with our community — challenging our thinking on motivation in times of isolation

Some ideas from Ben to explore further and try out:

• Build routines towards clear goals
As James Clear has written, winners and losers share the same goals. While goals are good for setting a direction, systems (and the simple habits that support them) are what makes progress. What new simple thing can you create as a habit in service of a goal?

• Be radically honest with your team and those around you. 
Ben, and his partner in crime Tarka, worked with a psychologist before their first big trip who coached them to be open and honest with each other about their emotional state throughout. Amy Edmonson's popular thinking on pyschological safety shows the relationship between continual, candid conversations and high performing teams. Is there a conversation you've been avoiding?

• Find your own space 
The size of the tent in which Ben and Tarka slep would have been considered inhumane in any prison in the world. Defining and marking out who put what where within it was vital, and Ben's felt the benefit of this too when working from home among loved ones. Are you clear on space and boundaries with those close to you right now?

• Build belief through a focus on what you are lucky to have
Ben told how in some way every expedition he's undertaken has been a failure. The magic is in what's learned each time and the realisation that "the satisfaction I’ve had has come not from achieving goals, but from striving well." Barbara Fredrikson's work on positivity ratios, has shown the impact that outlook has on our potential to flourish, and how a balance tipped the other way can drain our energy and erode the goodwill of others. What challenge might you reframe as an opportunity?


More from Ben:

Ben's official site.
White Desert. An extraordinary business that Ben's involved with.
Ben's Desert Island Discs interview with Kirsty Young.
Talking at Ted. Why bother leaving the house? and the hardest 105 days of my life.


Our members and partners' teams will find live, social sessions to explore plenty of these topics in our open programme, and bitesize video resources to support them on Can.


Partner with us

We provide growth-oriented organisations of all shapes and sizes with social, motivating and behaviourally-driven approaches to building capability throughout their teams — wherever they’re working from.

With an emphasis on virtual and remote delivery; our pioneering programmes bring people together to build skills among peers, and immediately apply them to the commercial and cultural challenges of the day.

To learn more about our transformative work with partners ranging from Dr. Martens to Dishoom, Adidas to Action for Children; and to explore ways we can support your teams — email Nick Defty or call +44 (0)20 7033 2140.

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