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7 Ways to Add Adventure to Your Career

December 1, 2015 - 30 Comments

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When you’re living the Cisco life, having big goals and a life filled with adventure seem to go hand-in-hand.

Just ask Brian Dickinson, Cisco Systems Engineer. Already a fan of hiking and camping, when he moved to the Pacific Northwest of the US, the thought of taking up mountain climbing.

“Once I started climbing, I just wanted to keep going!” Brian laughs.

Keep going he did – as Brian accepted the Seven Summits challenge and climbed the world’s seven tallest peaks: Kosciuszko, Aconcagua, Vinson, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Denali, and Everest – the tallest mountain in the world.

It was Everest that would be his biggest challenge. After his Sherpa became ill a mere 1,000 feet from reaching the goal, Brian decided to continue on alone. He made the summit, took a few photos and radioed in, but then became snow blind. At 29,000 feet he was left without his vision and low on oxygen. Suddenly the journey down Everest became harder than the journey up.

Spoiler alert – Brian made it back safely. Since the experience he has also written a book, Blind Descent, and even become a motivational speaker — he credits Cisco in helping make happen.


“Cisco gave me a great platform to reach people just beyond climbing mountains,” Brian said. “They’ve allowed me to really share my experience and motivate others. You can be in the perfect setting and still choose to work yourself to death. If you have discipline for a strong work/life balance and values, then Cisco is the company to work for because they’re all in. They’ll support you in whatever you want to do in your career and personal life.”

Brian had some key points to help you add adventure to your career, based on his experiences.

  1. Set A Goal – What is it that you want to achieve? Do you want to advance in your career or write a book? Maybe you want to dive the Great Barrier Reef or become a motivational speaker yourself! Decide on your goal – go as far as saying it out loud, writing it down or telling a close friend/family member to help keep you accountable. Then get to working on it!
  2. Focus – To achieve your goals you’ll need a plan, some preparation, and perhaps even additional training. Once you know what steps you’ll want to take – get to work and focus on the plan you created. A lot of people use planning as a way to keep postponing the real work, yet still feel as if they’re accomplishing something. Don’t let this happen to you. As Brian made his way back down Everest without his vision (which would not return for another month and a half) he said his focus kept him going so he could safely return to his family. Sometimes you just need to put one foot in front of the other and inch along as best you can.
  3. Learn From Failure & Adjust Your Course – Sometimes the best-laid plans don’t pan out. Don’t let this discourage you! Know that even an attempt is a step forward, re-access what may not have worked, adjust your course and plan of action and use that to your advantage in your next attempt.
  4. Know that Success Does Not Happen Overnight – Climbing Everest is a two month process. Summiting these mountains comes with many dangers, unpredictable weather – that can delay or end your journey all together, and a vast array of unknowns. Success takes time. Wear your patience with pride. A lot of hard work goes into “overnight” successes.
  5. Find Your Balance – By infusing your life and career with adventure, it’s also a great way to involve your family and friends in those experiences! Brian says, “You get married and have kids – that’s not an excuse not to live life in an amazing way, just involve your kids, family and friends. People go through tough times, but it’s these adventures and the people around you that make life worth living.”
  6. Gain Perspective – Whether it is from one of the highest points on Earth, or from your workspace at sea level it’s imperative to have perspective. Know that living a life of adventure is contagious and you can impact a lot of people in a positive way by doing the very things you love and reaching for your goals. Know when to play it safe, and when to push a little further.
  7. Give Back – On many of Brian’s expeditions, he has taken Cisco technology with him to give back to the communities he’s experiencing, “Tech brings people together!” Typically, he will visit orphanages in the area and deliver toys to the kids, before Everest he also brought Cisco technology that enabled the children in different area orphanages to connect and communicate with one another. It was an all-new experience for them and they loved it! How can you give back?


“Cisco is not one dimensional,” Brian says. “There is so much opportunity here, with a simple left or right alignment you can achieve so much.” So how do you plan on adding a dose of adventure into your day? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Awesome post…very inspiring.

  2. What an incredible journey an accomplishment! Thanks for sharing this with everyone, it’s incredibly inspiring!

  3. On a journey too!

    Great inspiration article. I have been on a journey too thanks for sharing yours it helps keep me focused on my vision of the great changes coming my way.

  4. great story! I like the tips – very actionable! Glad you and your vision made it back safe and sound.

  5. Highly inspiring story!

  6. Highly Inspiring!!

  7. A great read for the New Year! Being faced with many seemingly impossible challenges myself I know how critical it is to keep your sense of humor and sense of adventure in life -the upside, it makes you resilient, your world expands as well as your heart, and you beacon of light to others. Bravo!

  8. Awesome article – love the advice on balance – its possible to have a great career and live life!

  9. Very impressive!

  10. Great motivation to stay positive to achieve any goal.

  11. I agree with these points and strongly support #7 (give back) since the other 6 are mostly intrinsic, yet #7 involves direct positive impact on others…
    invest your time in others and give back – create a better environment and a better world…

  12. Wow! What an accomplishment….!!

    Brian Dickinson It takes special dedication and perseverance to get through such a exciting adventure.

    Thanks Casie for sharing..

  13. Great article.

  14. Great article… I also dream to reach Everest summit. This is an inspiring article..

  15. Great spirit!

  16. Inspiring..!

  17. wow!! u endeed enspire me alot, kip on doing this to us Brian

  18. Awesome article, I want to climb Everest soon!

  19. Amazing story, thanks for post Casie.

  20. This is very inspiring. Brian’s Mount Everest experience reminds me of a motivational speaker I heard years ago. Erik Weihenmayer is also an avid mountain climber. He is the first blind man to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Anyway, it was Erik that motivated me to actually create my bucket list, face my fears, and start moving toward achieving the dreams that seemed too far out of reach. One of my biggest mountains to conquer was memorizing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. I am happy to say that I achieved this just last month. For me, it was like reaching the summit.

    • Wow! What an accomplishment, Jeffrey! I love that we all have “mountains” in our life, and it’s important to realize those accomplishments may take some time and dedication…but once we reach our individual summits? What a view it is! 🙂 Congratulations!

  21. Brian’s story continues to motivate me every day since I read his book. It will be one of those books that I read yearly to remind me to stay the course and meet my goals-no matter the obstacles in my path! As he stated in his book, “There’s excuses and then there’s doing.” No excuses!

    • I just bought his book & can’t wait to read it, Stacy! Not being a fan of excuses myself — I love that it’s a theme of Brian’s.

  22. I am working with this guy every (week) day, and he is awesome. He came to speak to my kids’ Cub Scouts group. Everyone — kids and parents alike — found his story and personality truly inspirational. Read his story in Blind Descent.

    • We’re fortunate to have a teammate like Brian here at Cisco, Remi! He’s a true inspiration for all! 🙂

  23. Lets be bold enough to be open enough to share to save ourselves and save life’s around..Thanks Casie for caring & sharing.

  24. The most important thing is accept yourself. Good post. Find Your Balance.