I recently traveled to a place where few people dare to go, the wild and spectacular continent of Antarctica. With all of its stunning landscapes and pristine paths, I encountered penguins, seals, sea lions, and whales at close range in their natural habitat. It was an indescribable experience, one in which I found myself marveling at the awesome beauty of this great planet and feeling extremely blessed to have such an incredible opportunity.
The journey was not easy or without obstacles - it required the courage to cross through Drake's Passage, considered to be the roughest seas in the world, in a small research vessel - not once, but twice - coming and going, and it took 2 1/2 days each way. Our daily excursions to explore the Antarctic Peninsula required ten people at a time to board small rubber rafts, called Zodiacs, with the understanding that quickly changing weather conditions could sometimes become harsh and make visibility for our return to the ship challenging.
When we landed at each remote island or area of the continent, we were challenged to climb sometimes rugged terrain, often with icy and slippery conditions, in below-freezing temperatures. Our paths were carefully marked by our expedition guides to help us avoid any dangers that may lie further off in our midst. When we were around sea lions, we were advised to stay in groups and to keep a distance of 50 meters so they wouldn't see us as a threat to their sanctuary. We were told to be aware of our surroundings and to raise both our hands and make noise if the sea lions approached, sending them off in the other direction.
Upon our return to the ship one day, we encountered three hump back whales who were swimming between our Zodiac and the ship. We kept our distance and watched with wonder as one of the whales raised its head vertically to get a look around, and then slowly swam with the rest, some 40 feet in length, right beside our Zodiac close enough to touch. When the whales got about 100 feet away from our raft, we finally saw an iconic tail rise and fall as the whales plunged deeper into the water and swam away. It was quite thrilling, and I was ever mindful that the whales were bigger than our Zodiac and could easily upset the raft if they feared us, but we remained quietly observing their grace and beauty.
I shared this Antarctic adventure with 87 other passengers and 40 crew, representing 18 countries and every generation from millennials to traditionalists (19 years of age to mid-seventies). I learned that some were what I would describe as extreme travelers, engaging in world travel for many months and up to an entire year of traveling at a time. I found it hard to imagine how some people could travel with such rigor and at such a young or older age.
It struck me with renewed clarity as I reflected on this once in a lifetime experience that we can each accomplish anything we set our minds to. We need only believe in ourselves and in our ability to accomplish our innermost desires. With planning and purposeful action, we can all overcome our fears and achieve our lifelong dreams.
Coaching can help us cross the great divide that exists between our dreams and reality - working with a certified coach provides the objectivity, the careful guidance, and a deeper understanding of ourselves. It can help us find the courage to pursue an extraordinary life, removing obstacles and avoiding any dangers we find in our way. Time waits for no one - begin charting your path today - discover what personal adventures and professional successes may lie ahead, and live your life fully, whatever that looks like for you. The decision is yours to make.
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