A lot of people might go to the beach for their 40th birthday or take a big group trip to Las Vegas.
I flew to Iceland and did a 24-hour Spartan Race. In the dead of winter nonetheless.
It’s something I’ve always done. I celebrate my birthday not with a big party or anything like that, but by pushing myself. For example, on my 42rd birthday I ran 42 kilometers. What happens next year is anyone’s guess, but even my kids are starting to pick up on this.
My son turned seven last year and proudly announced that he wanted to celebrate his big day by climbing a mountain, so we all went out and climbed a local mountain. When my daughter turned five she wanted to do an obstacle course race, so we set up a Spartan-like race for her and her friends at the playground. For us, and for them, it’s a great, yearly reminder to get out of our comfort zones and explore the outdoors.
For example, this month I completed an event called 29,029. In summary, it involved climbing Snowbasin Mountain in Utah 13 times over the course of 36 hours, which added up to the equivalent vertical height of Mount Everest – 29,029 feet.
This practice has even bled over into the DNA of the team at PowerPlant Partners and the work we’re doing.
For example, we have two offices: one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco. This fall the whole team worked out of our Northern California office for a few days and one of the days after our work was done, we hiked from our office to Stinson Beach. Over the course of 3 hours we covered 8 miles, 2,000 Vertical Feet and passed thousands of tall standing California Redwoods. It was a good chance for everyone to connect, have fun, and remember just why it is we do what we do. Getting outside like this is a powerful way for us all to gain a much greater appreciation for what we’re fighting for – when you run, when you bike, when you hike you get to see firsthand why it’s so important that we maintain our planet and our environment for future generations.
This isn’t a one time thing, either.
Not too long ago we held a team offsite in Zion National Park. We went deep on strategy and planning, but carved out time to hike, rock climb and get in a few epic trail runs as a team. For our partners’ retreat last year, instead of going to some high end resort my partner Mark and I completed a three-day climb up 10,781-foot Mount Baker in the Northern Cascades range of Washington State. And 3 years ago we even worked in a weekend mountaineering expedition in the Swiss Alps while traveling to Europe to meet with several of our key investors and partners.
The truth is, these experiences in the outdoors are core to what we do as a firm and who we all are as people. And those personal connections tie directly into the work we all do together to accelerate the transition to healthier lives and a regenerative climate.
Sure, we could be investing in better-for-you CPG companies and supporting innovative companies across the health and wellness market if we all weren’t personally connected to nature and the outdoors. But the fact that we all are gives us as a firm a much greater appreciation of the impact and reach of the investments we’re making. For us, it really is personal.