As an advocate of personal growth, traveling is a great passion of mine. Traveling inevitably presents the possibility for opportunities and adventure. There is usually something unexpected, unforeseen, and unplanned that happens along the way, creating the chance to spread one's wings. But it is also possible to experience fears that can inhibit growth during a trip to a foreign, unfamiliar place. Let's face it, the fears of being wrong, losing, rejection, and the unknown often test the limit of personal growth. Being in a strange land, with a different language, culture, and society is scary.
So why is it that we willingly place ourselves in such an uncomfortable situation? I recently went to Egypt because of the magnetic pull of a clear and compelling vision—a vision of riding around the pyramids at Giza on top of a willing camel. My exciting vision was of course created without the knowledge or experience of actual camel-riding. Their long legs create a rocking gate as they walk, and this motion resembles that of a small boat bouncing in choppy water. (I was gently reminded of my 2-hour ride for the next seven days.)
As I was being led away from the busy streets of Cairo on top of this strange animal, there were many thoughts passing into my mind—What if I was really being led away to be mugged? What if I was to be held as a hostage? What if I would be left at the pyramids, with no way to get back to the hotel? Still, the vision of having this experience pulled me forth, and provided courage to not break and run for help, which is what my panicked inner voice suggested. My heart was pounding as the adrenaline flowed. Then I realized it was not pounding with fear, but with the sheer excitement of fulfilling my vision. The sky was incredibly blue, contrasted by the dull grey of the desert sand and I was riding a camel!
A clear vision is one of the first steps in overcoming our fears when you find yourself in an uncomfortable position. And this position is often where you experience the most growth. Let's go!
Craig Haptonstall is President and CEO of Leadership Mechanics LLC, a Leadership Challenge® affilitate. His travels will next take him to Buenos Aires and Zurich.