Leadership Lessons from the Camino de Santiago

I just returned from Spain from a three-week adventure with my son, Riley. It was an adventure filled with fun, sun, cuisine, culture, and some much-needed father-son time. One of the highlights of our three weeks in Spain was a 6-day, 72-mile hike on the Camino de Santiago. We hiked the last 115 km (72 miles), beginning our journey in the town of Sarria and ending in Santiago de Compostela.

Having this experience together as a father and son has been on our list of things to do for several years. I walked this section of the Camino de Santiago in 2019, and as soon as I reached the end of the trail, my friend Riley and I made the decision that we would one day walk the entire Camino together. The past six days have provided us with an abundance of memories that we will both hold dear for the rest of our lives. These memories were shared between a father and a son.

As I launch a brand-new blog series in the coming weeks, I will be reflecting on and writing about a great number of the experiences and milestones I have gained over this trip and journey. This week’s blog will be a review of some of the important life and leadership skills that we gained while hiking close to 150,000 steps together across some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Spain.

I hope these lessons inspire and encourage you to pursue excellence in your life and leadership journey. As you ponder these lessons regarding your journey, I hope they speak to you wherever you are in your life, your leadership, and your business.

  • Leadership is a lifelong journey, an exciting journey, a challenging journey, a scary journey. I encourage you to embrace all of the journey.
  • Any and every journey begins with the first step. Do not worry about how many steps the entire journey has, just take the first one, then the next one, then the next one.
  • Don’t compare your journey to anybody elses.
  • As challenges present themselves along the way, remember why you are taking the journey, the importance of it, and what completing it will mean to you and others.
  • Stories matter. Your story matters. Share it with others.  Other people’s stories matter; when they share their story, take time to listen.
  • Your planned trajectory does not always end up being your executed trajectory. Plans can and will change.  Roll with the punches.
  • Your desired, “final” destination may just be the beginning.
  • Sharing of what you have can bring massive joy and happiness to others .
  • Having somebody to lead, guide and encourage you along the way is always a plus.
  • Try new things and new ways to do old things. You never know what you may discover.

When Riley and I first set foot in Santiago, it was a time fraught with a range of feelings for both of us. We were worn out while also feeling energized by the experience. One of the moments that will always stand out as one of the happiest in my life is the moment when he and I entered the plaza, set down our bags, hiking sticks, and jackets, and then embraced each other as we celebrated the successful completion of our trek. Then we got the realization that the voyage had just started.

Keep an eye on the coming week’s blog where I will be diving more in depth into each of the lessons I presented above.  Also, feel free to check out some of the photos from our adventure on my Instagram page.

www.Instagram.com/matthewshoup

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