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2006: Issue 19

Life in the Vast Lands

Theodore Roosevelt experienced it and now I have too, only to a much smaller degree – the Badlands of North Dakota: inspiring in their beauty, awing in their vastness and contrasts, fascinating with their geologic formations, and brimming with wildlife.  A herd of bison blocks our van’s passage; a snowy owl flies beside our car; prairie dogs scurry about their towns; elk stand regally on the top of the butte; wild horses graze; mule deer sense our presence but choose not to run away – these are the scenes of my first morning in the Badlands, officially known as Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I encourage you to put it on your list of places to go.

An opportunity to lead a leadership team training took me there, and I only hope that the twelve participants got as much from the experience as I did.  I’d like to begin with what I have learned about Theodore Roosevelt. A couple of months ago, I simply knew he was one of our former Presidents. I know more now, yet probably not near enough given what I have discovered leads me to view him as a servant leader.

Raised in New York City, Mr. Roosevelt was full all intents and purposes a city boy, until tragedy struck – his wife, having just given birth to their daughter Alice, and his mother died on the same day. Escaping from familiar surroundings to grieve, he moved to his ranch in the Badlands where he lived for the next two years, hunting big game, driving cattle, and sitting in his rocking chair, recovering from his day’s work to get ready for the next, and contemplating life. One would be hard pressed to find a greater contrast in life style than that of NYC and the Dakota territory.  It took courage to live after his tragic loss; it took even greater courage to move to unfamiliar territory and make it his home. 

Mr. Roosevelt was a prolific reader and writer, often intermingling sketches into his letters. He believed that it was important to understand the history “of the world of the past” in order to adequately appreciate the world of today. And he looked to the future, far beyond his own generation, taking responsibility for doing what he could as common man and President to create a better life for those who follow.   I dare say he ever saw something as impossible, and if he didn’t know how, he sought out those who did to teach him and to lead the way.  He knew success, and he knew failure, and he seemed to understand the connection of the two.    

Mr.  Roosevelt lived life as an adventure, and encouraged us to accept it “in such a spirit.” As I had my “rocking chair” time on the plane ride home, I challenged myself to embrace life as he did, seeing each day as an adventure, some of my creation and some of others; all adventures that I simply need to explore to their fullest and see where they take me. 

Mr. Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “I would not have been President had it not been for my time in the Badlands.” After a few days as merely a tourist with all the modern conveniences, I now have a better idea of what he meant.  I believe it was there he learned how to be self reliant and how to live in community, dependent on others for survival; how to rely on all his senses to make difficult decisions; how to find joy in each day, despite an ever presence fear of survival; how to care for mother earth, believing that no responsibility was of greater importance than that of “leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.”;  how to collaborate as men shared responsibility for rounding up all cattle each spring, no matter whose brand; and the power of adventure and story, as he read, wrote and shared them at nights around the camp fires. 

We all have experiences that have dramatically shaped our lives.  Mr. Roosevelt lived an extra ordinary life, incorporating tragedy and triumph, and claiming in the end, he couldn’t imagine living a life of greater happiness.  Seems his family motto, “Qui Plantavit Curabit” which means, “he who has planted will preserve” served him, and us well.

What adventures have you had today, this week, this year, years past, that upon reflection have shaped your live?

What explorations do you want to make over the coming year to add an element of adventure to your life?

What would others say is your family motto?

Founded in 2003 and based in Roanoke, Virginia, Extra Ordinary Living works with individuals, organizations and teams to identify possibilities, create opportunities, remove obstacles and through deliberate action, optimize results.

Usually the first question we are asked, is why Tiberius? Our trivia friends can often identify the references……yes, Tiberius was the 2nd Roman emperor, and yes, Tiberius is the middle name of James T. Kirk from Star Trek. One of our life mottos and business principles is “to learn from the past, look to the future while living in the present.” Thus, Extra Ordinary Living.

As Professional Coaches, we are trained to listen, to observe and to customize our approach to our clients needs.  We provide tools, support, structure and accountability to help our clients unleash their full potential and optimize results.  The best thing about coaching is it is all about you – the client, and what you want.  We may share our opinions and give you advice, but it is up to you to pick and choose what you want to accept.  We suspend judgment and will support you in your decisions. 

As Professional Speakers, our messages are inspirational while imparting useful, practical and memorable information in a fun and dynamic way to help our audiences live  extra ordinary lives.  

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
– Joseph Campbell

Janet Crawford, MHA, MBA
Professional Certified Coach

A publication of Extra Ordinary Living,  Extra Ordinary Living is written for aspiring individuals striving to make a difference, and wanting to explore, experience and excel in all aspects of their life.

"The joy of living is his who has the heart to demand it."

"It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it."

"The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom."

– Theodore Roosevelt


September 19-21, Janet will be in North Dakota facilitating a teambuilding workshop for the Natural Resources Conservation Service