Every successful journey has to begin with a clear vision of where you want to go. No one knows this better than world-renowned adventurer Rex Pemberton, our guest keynote speaker for Adaptive Live 2018.
As our customers map their own journeys to advance the role of finance from crunching numbers to developing strategy and shaping decisions, they’re bound to draw helpful lessons from Pemberton’s remarkable life and his unique point of view about change, leadership, trust, and the relationship between fear and risk.
A peak performance expert who today works with some of the world’s most recognized brands, Pemberton grew up in Australia. As a childhood rock climber, he always wondered what it would be like to climb a mountain. At 16, he did just that, organizing his own expedition to conquer an alpine peak in Peru.
His next goal was loftier. Pemberton spent two years organizing and drumming up financial sponsorship for another expedition—this time to climb Mount Everest. His goal: to be the youngest Australian ever to reach the world’s tallest peak.
A journey paved by challenges
The hard lessons from Everest, said Pemberton, started even before he set foot on the mountain. Three months before the climb, the 21-year-old tripped while running a 100-kilometer Oxfam benefit trail race, landing hard on the trail and tearing a tendon in his knee.
At this point, most people would have abandoned their Everest summit try, or at least postponed it, since ACL tears typically require six months to heal. But Pemberton pressed on.
“I learned on Everest that if I set a goal, an ambition, I can achieve it,” he said.
That attitude has served Pemberton well. He followed the Everest climb by becoming one of the youngest climbers in history to reach the highest peaks on all seven continents—a rare feat even among elite mountaineers. More recently, he’s taken to the skies in a more literal sense. After years of free flying in a wing suit (a special suit designed for aerial gliding), Pemberton became the first human to sustain flight using jet-powered fixed wings, a stunning achievement chronicled by Outside Television. Pemberton’s adventures have been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, 60 Minutes, Australian Geographic, and other outlets.
An adventurer’s perspective on down-to-earth issues
At Adaptive Live, Pemberton will share an adventurer’s perspective on the same issues decision-makers face every day.
Take responding to change. Mountaineering, BASE jumping, wing suit flying—as far as Pemberton is concerned, they’re all lessons in adapting to change. “Change will happen, and you have no choice but to adapt to it,” he noted. “If you’re on a mountain and you don’t re-evaluate your plan when you see a storm coming in, it could be fatal for you and all the members of your team. In business, the stakes are different but they’re no less important. You risk losing futures and hard-earned money. People count on you to make the right decision. Their livelihoods are on the line, too.”
Even fear is useful in reaching goals, said Pemberton, because it forces you to look closely at what you’re risking and compels you to make sure you are taking steps to mitigate that risk. “It’s OK to be afraid,” he said. “Fear is your mind’s way of reminding you that you’re operating outside of your comfort zone. That’s useful, because it’s a signal that you should be constantly checking in and making sure that you have the right plan, the right team, and the right data to safely reach your goal.”
As for finance professionals who every day must rely on data they can trust, well, Pemberton is right there with you. Using the right information is just as important when you’re about to be jettisoned from an airplane at 10,000 feet. “With so much at stake,” he asked, “why wouldn’t you want the most recent and accurate data to base your decisions on?”
We’re all on some kind of journey. In his Adaptive Live 2018 keynote, Pemberton will emphasize that every journey matters, whether the destination is transforming yourself into a human rocket or transforming your planning environment. “It doesn’t matter what your goal is or how hard it will be to get there. You just need a clear vision and a plan for your journey. Your summit might look different from mine, but we all deserve to get there.”