We recently returned from a nine day tour of the Pacific Coast Highway in scenic California. Here’s what we were reminded of as a result of our surfin safari:

1. We’re all connected. We started our trip with a business conference in sippin Sonoma wine country. I keynoted at a senior insurance leader luncheon for the International Association of Claims Professionals. The topic was leadership resilience and the conversation with colleagues was connecting and encouraging for many. When we engage fully, we’re reminded of our collective efforts to insure, restore and endure as we share and craft meaningful solutions to life’s challenges. As Liane Cordes once shared, “Continuous effort…not strength or intellect is the key to unlocking our full human potential.” It’s great to be smart, but the long term imperative is to be effective, connecting and resilient.

2. There is an opportunity to create value everywhere. Social psychology is the scientific study on how we think about, influence and relate to one another. Long after the networking was done at this business conference, we continued to create meaningful connections with old friends from prior lives to new friends at trendy coffee shops. Exercising interest in others and being skilled at eliciting thoughtful responses always pays dividends on and off the job.

3. We are at our best when we have the courage to seek out new experiences or stretch assignments. Whether we ‘re finally having courageous conversations or losing ourselves to a passionate cause, we’re reminded that life doesn’t come with a money back guarantee. Going after what we want or feel compelled to share, especially if we’re up against established interests, requires our best energies without any certainly that we’ll be bridging any gaps. But it appears that the happiest people in the world are the ones that embrace the challenge for the benefit of the cause with courage and conviction. They learn so much by living for something outside themselves that the joy is in the struggle, not in the coveted prize.