Outdoor Survival School for Business People|Podcast Episode #4

Night in the dessert, BOSSAre you tired of having the same experiences in life? Being a successful spouse, parent, business person, etc is all great, but are you really living? Are you really digging into life? Are your conversations with people the same old boring discussions?

Take some time to listen to this podcast and learn about what a group of people are doing in the very rugged high plains section of Utah as they give people experiences of a lifetime. Have you wondered what it would be like to live on your own in the open landscape, desert, woods, etc and survive on your own? Did you dream about this as a kid? Today I talked with Laurel Holding who is a Director with BOSS Boulder Outdoor Survival School in Boulder, Utah.  I met Laurel on an adventure I went through with her as our group instructor in the BOSS program in 2011.

Laurel Holding

BOSS, the Boulder Outdoor Survival School, is the oldest and largest traditional living skills / survival school in the world. Since 1968, we have offered adventurous souls the chance to learn indigenous skills in an active, hands-on environment. Courses range from 3-28 days in length and take place in the spectacular landscape of Southern Utah.

Laurel and I discussed her philosophy and ideas related to:

  • What are the different types of people that attend BOSS
  • Escaping our insulated and our air conditioned worlds
  • Pushing one’s own personal limits
  • Involving the senses again that have not been engaged in years
  • Learning primitive and traditional skills
  • The value of discomfort and it builds capacities of gratitude
  • Freedom as it relates to personal resources like: resilience, patience, knowledge, and experience
  • Freedom as it relates to physical resources like: equity, homes, earning power, cars, gadgets, etc
  • True freedom is freedom from fear; a fear that limits our field of view and choices.
  • Exploring your own unique personal edge
  • Humility, being real, and vulnerable
  • What it means for her to live a no limit life

We also discuss her harrowing experience navigating a BOSS group through a dangerous flash flood situation that occurred during a 21 day course.


All methods of how to access the show are below: 

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 Show Notes:

  • Earlier conversations with Bill touching on the concept of “the other world” and the other reality where you can experience adventures [2:00]
  • The feeling of being trapped – 2 groups of people  a) group that practice primitive and ostensible skills b) another group with some measure of success, and work really hard, very accomplished…but can’t escape this feeling that there is something missing in their lives. [05:25]
  • We are not using our senses the way we are evolved to (do so) [06:30]
  • There are very physiological reasons why we should get in touch with our environments [07:28]
  • Group of people that feel they need to experience this – something about going to nowhere…[08:46]
  • Favourite trivia factoid about human beings – we are much more intuitive and emotional in our decision making than we like to think [09:30]
  • Our cortex will confabulate on why we do what we do.  The cortex’s job is to come up with reasons after the fact. [10:27]
  • Strong connection to the landscape [12:20]
  • There is a part of being on the other side – in this world it is easy to get sucked into the addiction to comfort. [13:45]
  • What is need for security and how cope with people every day, and how do you educate them on discomfort [13:55]
  • Natural instinct informed by millions of years of evolving. Number of concrete threats were more real and present, seemingly.  Our drive to safety and security is therefore understandable. [15:00]
  • According to former owner, Josh Burnstein, Mozart wrote the melody but the musicians are playing that melody.  Somewhere along the way someone already wrote it, and we just play it the way it was written.  Maybe we have a slightly different interpretation – but people get what they need. [17:38]
  • Experience is educating – the discomfort was being on the ground and being exposed to the elements – and you sit there and question the reason why you are doing there – [19:26]
  • You end up feeling a sense of gratitude – by experiencing something different [19:45]
  • Nothing like sleeping on the hard ground for a few weeks to be grateful for the simple things.[20:55]
  • Also about connection, and feeling connected. When you suffer and feel uncomfortable it connects you to the universe and to the human experience across time and across the world
  • Stephen Callahan – a man who was adrift in the Atlantic ocean for 76 days – he was constantly on the brink of death – he had limited water and at risk of being capsized by sharks hitting the bottom of his raft – but he dedicates his experience it to all people everywhere who experience hunger or loneliness.
  • 21 day course – flash-floods – are a late summer experience.  Monsoon season – from Gulf of Mexico.  In Fall the danger is much reduced.  [26:11]
  • Do instincts kick in? Very humbling because it is so out of your control.  But good opportunity to practice what is a professional goal to be more vulnerable, and less in control, in an appropriate way with students. [30:47]
  • A certain amount of fear and anxiety produces growth – and then sometimes it is too much.  Determining where the line is – and it is overwhelming and it is not serving you – then it is important to find that balance.[34:10]
  • People’s concept of what their edge is – is different. Sometimes an edge is too much and you don’t want to just beat yourself up, or be masochistic.  Sometimes public speaking is an edge for some people. [36:40]
  • What does it mean to have a no limit life? In our life we confuse personal resources such as patience and resilience with material resources such as equity, house, car or gadgets. These are not the same.  Material resources are No substitute for personal resources. In our society, we get mixed up with freedom.  Freedom is not the freedom to choose amongst 100 different brands of a product, or the freedom to jet-set across the world.  This is not TRUE freedom.  True freedom is the freedom from EXCESSIVE fear, which limits your field of view, limits your perceived choices.  [40:20]
  • Freedom is to truly choose and not have your choices be dictated by fear[41:00]
  • If we are choosing because we are genuinely passionate about what we love that’s great. But if we are choosing because we are moving away from what we fear, that does not seem like TRUE freedom.
  • Being fearless doesn’t mean you have no fears, it just means you fear less.[42:15]
  • Laurel still challenged on a daily basis by many aspects of work that is a sign it is a fruitful exercise. A responsibility to pursue a level of expertise – the more you know the more you realize you don’t know. 

To learn more about BOSS and The Bolder Outdoor Survival School and get more information to explore the different options to do the BOSS Field Trip experience visit the website atwww.boss-inc.com or call the field office – and speak to someone On Toll Free 0800 335 7404.


No Limits Life is a show containing a mix of interviews with people who inspire me with their heroic Journeys, their fearless approach to living a ‘no limits’ life, and A commitment to integrating  all aspects of their life into inner and outer success.

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