Forrest Fenn is a retired art dealer, businessman, and U.S. Air Force veteran who lives near Santa Fe, New Mexico. About a decade ago, he hid a bronze chest filled with gold and jewels somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of the United States. The clues that could lead someone to find the treasure were contained in a poem Fenn wrote and self-published in 2010 in The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir. Over the next decade, thousands of people made searching for the treasure their obsession. At least five people died in accidents directly related to the search, and many others were cited for trespassing or arrested for legal infractions. Then on June 6, 2020, Fenn posted on the searcher blog Thrill of the Chase that the treasure had been found.
Something draws people into a hunt for lost or hidden treasure. Our history books are replete with tales of people searching for secrets and untold wealth. The more mysterious and vague the “clues” are, the more obsessed people become. We seem to be attracted to the process of seeking as much as the potential reward. In fact, even though Fenn’s treasure has been found, people are still “searching” for it, as the actual location was not revealed. People are still trying to solve the puzzle for the sake of knowing, without any actual reward if they are correct.
I learned about Fenn’s treasure, and that it had been found, from a dear friend. While we were talking about it, they said, “This is what keeps people alive—having a mission.” I completely agree. The difference between being alive and really living is often related to how compelling our personal mission is.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to encourage the people we serve to develop their personal mission. It is also our responsibility to help them connect to the mission of our company, so the work they do has greater meaning and importance.
Everyone needs a treasure to hunt for. Not necessarily gold or silver, but something of great value that we are obsessed with finding. Treasure comes in different forms…
We all know someone who collects. They are quick to tell the stories associated with each and every one of the pieces in their possession. Having their collected things is only important because they are the evidence of the search, the hunt, and the success of acquisition.
I think about a teacher I had in high school who taught me how to organize my thoughts and write them well. She was looking for the spark in each student that she could flame into an appreciation for the written word. She dug into us and uncovered the hidden talent buried within us.
And then there is the story in the Bible about the man who was searching for fine pearls. One day, he came across a pearl that was better than any he had ever seen in his life. It was so valuable to him that he sold everything else he had to be able to buy that one pearl. As he often did, Jesus was using a story about a material thing to describe a spiritual reality.
We all need something to pursue, something to search and strive for. People are the most motivated and the most content with their lives when they are pursuing something they are passionate about. We do some things out of habit, and we often do things because we are compelled, but passion is the source of creativity and innovation and determination.
We all have a deep need to be passionately involved in something that is bigger than we are, something that takes us out of just serving ourselves. Ultimately, we can only be truly fulfilled when we connect to the passion that Jesus was talking about, the passion of the kingdom of grace. Use your influence as a leader to help people connect to passion in their lives. It is how each of us will live our best life, and it is The Kimray Way.