After reading Stephen Ambrose’s compelling biography “Undaunted Courage; Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West” the Athlos team spent time together considering the Performance Character traits exemplified within it. This epic journey that many would consider the pinnacle of American exploration is a true testament to traits such as courage, grit, optimism, and initiative.
During the monthly book club discussion, the Athlos team shared their admiration of this journey and how fortunate we all are to be connected to such pioneers. All 12 Athlos Performance Character traits could be seen, in some way, displayed by numerous members of the Corps of Discovery. After reading the book and imagining all the trials and tribulations, the Athlos team divided itself between four of the Performance Character traits, advocating for their trait being “most” exemplified in the journey.
Was it optimism that led Lewis and Clark to believe that, yes, they would and could find the headwaters of the Missouri River? Can we even imagine how much initiative it took to chart a new course, create new maps, and withstand such hardships? Through the many setbacks that were encountered, how much grit would it take to persevere seeing mountain after mountain in which to conquer? Or was it courage that was at the heart of their exploration, the core trait that Ambrose identifies and uses within the title of his book?
These questions are not easily answered, and that is why the spirited debate among the Athlos staff exemplified evidence that all four traits were seen with abundance! The Athlos team tried to convince each other that “their” trait was THE most important trait held by the expedition team and the arguments did sway some in the group, but in the end the conclusion was all four traits (among others) were essential to the expedition’s success.
Ultimately, the Lewis and Clark saga inspires us all to consider and strive to display performance character traits in our personal and communal expeditions.