On the morning of March 4, 2022, I was sitting at the Oh La La Café in Alcalá de Henares, Spain, enjoying a cup of delicious Spanish coffee (café con leche). This café is owned by Javier, a great friend of mine who I have gotten to know over many years. Spain is a big part of my life and has been since 2002, when I studied there as a Colorado State University student. This experience left me with a deep and permanent passion for the country, the history, the culture, the people, the cuisine, and the lifestyle.
I typically travel to Spain once per year, and usually with one of my two children, alternating each year who comes with me on a father/son or father/daughter trip. We normally spend two weeks relaxing, enjoying the sights, the cuisine, visiting friends, recharging, rejuvenating, and spending some serious quality time together. Over the years, our whole family has also enjoyed extended periods of time in Spain for several months at a time.
That morning in March was similar to my normal Spain routine in the fact that I was enjoying my typical Spanish breakfast, however, this time I was in Spain for a completely different reason. A big reason!
As I sat at breakfast that morning, my emotions jumped from excited, inspired, nervous, scared, back to excited, then overwhelmed, then scared again. My biggest emotion that morning was fear. I know many people share soundbites and advice regarding how to avoid fear/have no fear/eliminate fear, and as much as I love these tidbits of advice, the truth is, in that morning moment I was scared. Here’s why:
For the previous three months, I had been planning a once in a lifetime leadership retreat for our company’s leadership team that would begin on March 5. This was one of the largest investments of time, energy, money, love and care for my team and companies that I have ever made. It was a massive undertaking on many levels, and I am very thankful for the amazing planning team of my wife, Emily, our Events Manager, Danielle, and my Executive Assistant, Frances, who all helped me put the pieces together in preparation for the execution of this trip.
As I was enjoying breakfast in Spain, my entire company’s leadership team was going to sleep back in the Unites States, preparing to board a plane the next day, cross the Atlantic, and join me in Spain for a week. We named this adventure The Gentle Art of Leadership Ultimate Immersion Experience.
The purpose behind this experience is to lead others through the process of exploring and discovering their story, cast their vision for their life, realign with their core values, eliminate, and relinquish things holding them back from growth, to understand and declare an action plan to make their vision a reality, and recognize who the people are in their life that will encourage and support them along the way.
As opposed to teaching these concepts in a seated, classroom, lecture style setting, they would be learning by participating in a set of adventures, challenges and experiences that would push the team out of their comfort zone in big ways.
As I reflect on the stories shared, experiences created, lessons learned and breakthroughs made for the team, my plans are to share many of the leadership lessons I/we learned during our first ever Ultimate Immersion Experience in Spain.
As I think back to the fear I had regarding and relating to hosting this experience, the first lesson I learned is that I am thankful for the fear! Experiencing it taught me that your goals should scare you, and if they don’t, they are not big enough. If you play it small, you will win small. If you set small goals that don’t scare you, they are not big enough.
I am excited to share more of these lessons with you in the coming weeks!
This week, I am encouraging and challenging you to set goals so big they scare you.
Remember 3 things:
I love you.
I believe in you.
You’ve got this.
Now, go get it!