BEing is a Trip.

February 4, 2012

Have  you ever taken a trip that lined up perfectly with your living priorities?

I did this week.  I took a social business trip to Central America that I wont forget.  I visited field programs and offices of World Vision International in El Salvador and Panama then convened 25 humanitarian professionals for a LinkedIn learning summit at Latin America’s UN OCHA (Office of Coordination & Humanitarian Affairs).  My inner and outer life were in congruence on this trip.  Joy tears were on the verge of leaving my eyes on multiple occasions.

You can always hug the trunk of a tree (says the Northern California tree hugger), but if you wanna grow or fly you have to get out on the branch.  I saw the above tree in the Ciudad de Saber (City of Knowledge) outside Panama City, home of Latin America’s top humanitarian NGO’s.

There are several things that would have kept me busy in my office in California, but I know I needed to get closer to the enablers that we enable.  I needed to see the work that we indirectly support up close.  This trip was good for LinkedIn members and clients, for LinkedIn and for me.  Everyone won this week.

Reading last Sunday’s edition of the SF Chronicle on the first flight of the journey affirmed that I’d made the right decision to go.  Every section of the paper spoke directly to the passions and interests of my fiance, my daughter and me.

The cover page was about an endurance athlete that pulled himself across Antarctica’s ice for weeks to his south pole destination.  The phenomenal part about the accomplishment is that he did it paralyzed from the waste down.  He’s the first adaptive athlete to do it.  From the time of his accident 18 months ago to his amazing accomplishment, his wife and tribe were with him every step of the way.  His wife surprised him at the South Pole.  I cried twice reading the piece.  See the affirmations he used on his >40 degree below zero journey.

The Bay Area section spoke to my fiance’s passion about helping young people suffering from trauma.  The Travel section spoke to my daughter’s passion about raising butterflies.  I’m staring at the monarch butterfly cocoons in her “butterfly habitat” as I type this entry.   The Business section talked how people are hiring again.  My LinkedIn colleagues and I are very pleased to play a small role in this.  The Sports section covered my beloved Jayhawks.  This affirmed I was meant to be on that plane heading south.

All four of my Core4 living priorities came into play on this week’s journey.  Since my journey to India in 2001, the vision for my life has included traveling the globe and lending a hand.  This week I was BEing in that vision.  Here’s some detail on this:

Click on this picture to see a short video about Core4+2.


I was myself 100% (authentic) with my colleagues the people we met with.  The people around me knew I was present and available to them.  I knew this too.

People were putting themselves in the shoes of others and taking action (Compassion) all around me.  I added fuel to that fire in tours of tiny villages and in meetings with NGO leadership.


I lent (support) and felt supported by everyone around me.

I felt at (home) even if I was nine hours of flights away from my actual home.  Warmth and smiles greeted me everywhere from the busy and often unsafe streets of San Salvador to the impoverished drought stricken villages in the hills.

My heart ached for one of the little village children I met.  He looked up at me from his coloring book for most of the 10 of 15 minutes I sat next to him.  I wanted badly to stay behind and resolve his runny nose and raspy chest rooted cough. :(  I know he’s in good hands.

My family members and colleagues here at home stayed in touch as well.  We’re all connected (beyond our social network connects even). These trips well beyond US borders remind me of this every time.


My version of health was boosted significantly, but especially in the mental arena.  I learned things about Central America, the Panama Canal, road safety, humanitarian aid work in the last mile and country/regional offices, change management, mental health and much more.  It was applied learning at its best.  My Spanish skills got a work out for sure.

The intersection of perspectives (faith-based or not) and business models (charity or sustainable) and all the intellectual and complexities they represent is the stuff of nirvana for an inquisitive (curious) person’s mind.

My physical health broke even.  I surged more than I rested.  Adrenaline induced late night collaborating, writing and working meant I slept way to little.  Who knew these humanitarian and advocacy types work 20 hours days six days a week!  The food I encountered was so delicious I couldn’t stop stuffing myself with it.  From the candy made by youth in El Salvador’s villages to fresh ceviche made for the lavish buffet next to the Panama Canal…delicious.

The only saving grace on the physical health side were my two brief runs and a sweaty gym visit.  My next visit to Central America will involve more of the rest side of (Surge and Rest).


(Man of Action) has already been covered, I’d say.  I lived in my (Mission, Role and Goal) all week.  I stayed 100% in each.  I said YES! and jumped in with both feet to everything that came along.  The lives I touched and the great organizations I enabled with LinkedIn got my best effort.  Long flights, late nights and days away from my family and busy desk in California were 110% worth it.

I was BEing vs. just being this week and I know exactly why.  Everyone benefits when this is the case- not just me.


Grab a notebook and journal about a trip you’ve taken or one you will take in the future.  What did you (or will you) do to bring your Core4 living priorities on the road with you.  Where will you go?  Who will you go with?  What will your agenda be like?  Share your thoughts somewhere public so we can all support and learn from you.




One Response to BEing is a Trip.

  1. ali on February 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    So proud of you!!!!!! I love that you always follow your heart!!!!!! Life is good!!!! Xo

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