I have been struggling to explain how a leadership course delivered through travel is a truly transformative experience for everyone, but most importantly for people feeling that they aren’t yet the person they want to be, or more profoundly, who they know they actually are.
This topic has been immeasurably more difficult to detail than I imagined. I live. I experience. I grow, teach, and write. And yet pulling together these concepts that make up the heart of my entire life’s passion together into one piece left me feeling incompetent, frustrated, disappointed, angry, disenchanted, overwhelmed, and vulnerable.
Change does not come through successes, it comes through challenges, surprises, and the unexpected. Interest in Venture Within is higher than it has ever been. My recent blog posts on facing fear, successful retreats, and Nicaragua are evidence of a positive response from our work, as it received over 10,000 views and noticeably increased our exposure and following. And yet here I am with what feels like my most important piece, identifying why Venture Within’s leadership program is essential to your personal transformation, and my personal strengths of writing and communicating are failing me.
We all have. We visualize our abilities, our expectations, and our potential. We expect to always excel and be our best selves, and then we unexpectedly fall short. Well, I don’t like to fall short, I like to grow. And so I have had to dig deep, push through the unexpected challenge of encapsulating who I am and what I teach, into one consolidated post. It’s taken longer than I expected, and been messier than I imagined, but growth is rarely clean and the challenge has made it all the more worthwhile.
The transformative experiences we create through Venture Within are outside of anything trending. The experience and awareness that enable individuals to do a 180 with their lives is a force that moves individual lives forward. It is mental, emotional, and often spiritual. It’s your next big beginning, and the mindfulness to make it matter. It’s a personal experience with your own undeniable and personal ebb and flow, connecting you with your surroundings in an empowering way. It’s not something that can be boxed or scripted or quickly scooped up in a social media tagline because it’s different for each person. To sum up the act of transformation would be to pin it down into a clichéé that undermines the power of what we do, which I’ve already been guilty of a few times in this piece so far.
That’s the challenge I found myself facing writing this post –trying to explain in one brief and to-the-point sentence what transformation looks like through our travel experiences. It felt like an enormous and impossible task.
In the end, I had to break the routine I calendared in every week (brainstorm, check what’s trending, outline, draft, embed keywords, revise, distribute. . . ) That rigid routine was getting me nowhere, especially when it came to truly connecting with what I do and writing about it in a way that’s true to my personal experience.
I had to stop, be okay with getting behind [my own] schedule, be both uncomfortable and disappointed and look deeply into who I am/what I provide/why I believe in what I do and how it works.
It was hard. And frustrating that what I know best (teaching and learning and growing through travel) I couldn’t communicate through one of my greater and time trusted talents, writing.
But that’s just what transformation is. It’s facing a challenge. Not always with grace, but sometimes with kicking and screaming and wrestling to tie down this thing that you want to have caught and achieved and be proud of. The struggle is real.
Maybe you struggle too. Maybe you want to be more patient, or perhaps you want to step up your communication skills in your relationships, or be a better parent. Maybe you’re seeking more discipline, or perhaps learning how to let things go and be more free-spirited. Or maybe you just want to learn how to rock climb, or make really good desserts.
Your personal challenge is unique to you, but the process is a familiar thing. Setting your sights on what you want, and jumping into the deep end to achieve it, knowing you’ll battle the same feelings I have is exactly what it takes.
For me, and for the hundreds of individuals who have come through my programs over the years, this is accomplished through travel. It disrupts your routine. Travel means that your whole 24/7 existence is different. It’s exciting and rewarding, but challenging. The food, the sights, the sounds, the language, the routine. The “Oh shit, I’m really here! I’m really doing this!” moment that strikes you when you least expect it.
Everything about what I do is anchored in this belief. I know – I KNOW – that travelling with intention and purpose will open us up to deeper feelings. It does every time.
If that scares you, then good! You probably need this experience even more. It’s a brave thing people do when they seek to change themselves. Going after something that challenges you but ultimately serves you is what we all need in order to pivot our life in the direction we want it to go. I’ll break it down for you:
I know this to be true because I’ve seen it actualize for the last 20 years I’ve spent as an educator overseas. I’ve watched the effects of others’ personal growth ripple across their circles of influence further than I can fully see. And I am still going through these learning experiences myself. The desire to pursue a challenge, the agony when that challenge proves to be tougher than you thought, and then the absolute thrill of overcoming it. Transformational learning really is a trip – but you come out the other side a better person than you were before and better at doing the things you wanted to do.
Transformative travel can be just the thing you need. It shakes you up, challenges you, gifts you with experiences you couldn’t dream up if you tried. It disrupts your routine into something that truly gives you the transformation in yourself that you seek.
You just have to go for it.