The Bravery of First Days

Choosing an organization doesn't just happen once, but it happens every day we continue to show up.

The Bravery of First Days
Photo by Laura Lefurgey-Smith / Unsplash

Today is the first day for Uncharted's newest member of the team. We are so excited to have her join, and it has me reflecting on first days. Below is a letter I wrote to our team this morning about the bravery of first days.


According to the internet, my first day at Uncharted was 3,446 days ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I showed up without a computer at the small garden-level apartment in Boulder, Colorado and met the team for the first time. I remember so much about this day: we went through this onboarding presentation, and I remember slides from it, where I sat in the room, even a comment I made.

Why do I recall my first day so well? Was it because it was simply the first? Or do I remember it because it represented a moment of personal courage and agency, a leap into something unknown? Perhaps first days stand out because they are profound markers of our own bravery to choose something and step into it. Over the last nine years, there have been so many days that have faded from memory. But there is a high correlation between the moments I remember and the moments when I made a conscious choice to be brave. Perhaps choosing bravery is our memory's indelible ink, and it is bravery that makes all the "firsts" so memorable.

Whether our first day was nine years ago or if it's today, each of us has had our first day at Uncharted, and I want to acknowledge the bravery in each of us to choose this organization, to show up courageously on your first day, and to bring your full self on that day and all the days since.

I am struck by the idea that choosing this organization didn't just happen once, but it happens every day. We choose this organization and we choose each other afresh every day. In fact, Uncharted is powered forward by nothing more than the collection of daily choices each of us makes to keep showing up. Without those daily choices by each of us day after day, our organization simply wouldn't exist. When I think about it like that, I feel humbled and invigorated to do everything I can to play my small part in making those choices great ones for each of us individually and for all of us collectively. To be sure, that is all of our work.

I might suggest there is no greater leading indicator of organizational success than having great people choose to show up and lean in again and again and again.

So, yes, today is Joi's first day, and it represents her brave choice to join Uncharted. Let us celebrate her and make this day powerfully memorable for her in every way. And today is also another day where each of you have chosen to lean in and keep going.

Before there is culture or impact or a paycheck, there is a choice. May we salute that today.

"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward." - Amelia Earhart