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White Water Rafting and Business Building

What does white water rafting have to do with business building?  Apparently everything.

I had the pleasure of rafting down the Ottawa River a few weeks ago.  It was an incredible day and as I was going through it, an amazing thing happened.  The tour company we went through led us through the experience with virtually the same process we use at SuccessQuest.  Some say that synchronicity is the arbitrary alignment of seemingly unrelated events.  Some say that if you look for it, you can find synchronicity in almost anything.  Either way – the parallel between a great white water rafting experience and building your business is uncanny.

Self Discovery:

The first thing they did was gather us all together to do two things. One, assess our experience level and two,  have us tell them what we wanted to get out of the day.  Did we want to go hard or easy? Did we want to hit the big waves or the small ones? Did we want to get a little wet, or a lot?  Were ready for a thrill ride?  Where were our team strengths and who wanted to just enjoy the ride?

On a Mission

On a Mission

Vision and Mission:

Next, they helped us build a mental image of what we would achieve based on our stated preferences.  They let us know that the water level and temperature were perfect for what we wanted to achieve. We were going to get really wet and, with a team effort, we were going to hit the big waves.  They gave us an overview of the day including the first leg, lunch, the second leg right up to our departure.  Before we even got on the boat, we had a clear picture of the entire day and why we were doing it.


Two major objectives were set and both needed to be achieved.  First:  have fun – this would be measured by the hooting and hollering.  Second:  be safe – zero injuries.  Clear instructions were given on how to achieve both.


They instructed us on the strategies we would be pursuing to achieve our goals:

Following our Strategies

Following our Strategies

  • Follow the guide’s instructions.
  • Put our muscle and risk seekers up front for power.
  • Hit the waves hard.
  • Paddle in unison for maximum maneuverability.
  • Always wear safety equipment.
  • Follow instructions if thrown from the raft.


Each set of falls or rapids was taken on as a separate project.  Before the run we would discuss who needed to do what to achieve the impacts we were looking for.  Before we went down each run everyone knew their respective roles and the importance of that role to the team’s success.

We also did some cliff diving and body surfing.  Once again, there were clear instructions on how to perform the task for the maximum “thrill” and what to do if someone got into trouble.  Defined processes and accountabilities were part of every piece (project) of the day.


Achieving our Goals

Achieving our Goals

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the tasting.   After the day was over, we revisited our Vision & Mission (although we didn’t call them that) to restate what we wanted to achieve out of the day.  Then, to prove we achieved it, we watched a short video of ourselves complete with splashes, spills and a healthy dose of hollering and screaming. Goal # 1: Fun, 100%.  Goal # 2: No injuries, 100%.

Mission accomplished:

Imagine the difference between this excursion, complete with discovery, vision, objective setting, strategies, accountabilities and measurement, and the opposite extreme of just escorting us to our boats and starting to paddle and then just “going home” afterwards.

Would the possibility of having a great day still exist? Sure.  Would it be as probably? Definitely not.

The same is true with business.  It is possible to achieve success without first understanding your passions and then documenting a plan to achieve them.  It is however unlikely.


The Power of Coaching

The Power of Coaching

That brings me to the last point of comparison; our guide.   I am 100% convinced we would not have achieved the success we did with our white water rafting day without the council and direction of our guide.    

In the business world your guide is your business coach.   The SuccessQuest process, resources and software was built by coaches for coaches to assist coaches in leading their clients to unthinkable success.

There you have it: synchronicity!

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