I love going for hikes myself. The picture above was taken on one of my hikes in Gatineau Park, Quebec which is a favorite spot of mine, and my family’s, for hiking. Reconnecting with nature is a powerful thing. So I was thrilled when Victor Prince asked if I would help to support his new book, The Camino Way. The book is an inspiring read and will have you thinking about leadership in a whole new light.
I am honored to host a guest post from Victor below:
I frequently hike long-distance trails during my time off. My most hiking vacation was two weeks of walking part of the ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail across Spain. There are many physical and mental fitness benefits to outdoor trips like that. Surprisingly, I have also found many career-boosting benefits from vacations like that.
Boosting your Confidence
I like to pick trails that have impressive starting and ending points, like being more than 100 miles or kilometers, or crossing a state. After I walked the Camino all the way across Spain a few years ago, I got a big confidence surge from being able to say I had walked across an entire country. The confidence I got from completing a crazy goal like that convinced me I could do another crazy thing on my career ‘bucket list’ – writing a book. My first book, Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide their Teams to Exceptional Results (Career Press, 2015), emerged from that surge in confidence. Now that my third book, The Camino Way: Lessons in Leadership from a Walk Across Spain (AMACOM, 2017) is coming out this month, I think I can say that confidence surge has become more of a wave that continues to lift me.
Question – What big goal do you have that you just need a boost of confidence to achieve?
Expanding your Network
I find I meet many more new people when I do an adventure vacation versus a relaxing beach vacation. There is a natural camaraderie you share with strangers when you are doing the same adventure like a trail. I’ve made dozens of friendships from acquaintances on the Camino. And unlike friends you meet through work, these new friends probably have nothing in common with you in terms of professional or educational background. They provide a great way to broaden your horizons. Beyond friendship, these new relationships have helped me in my career. My new book, for example, includes stories from other Camino hiking veterans from 16 countries.
Question – When is the last time you added someone to your social network who is in a completely different field (or country) from you?
Reducing your Stress
When I do an exercise workout, I find my stress goes down significantly. When I do a whole vacation centered on hiking or biking, I find my stress goes down more than just from the workout aspect. When I do a trail, I have a simple, clear goal each day and a predetermined way to get there. I don’t have to worry about anything other than just doing the work and following the path. I find that very mentally relaxing. And best yet, every day I know I have met my goal for the day when I reach my bed for the night. (Note: I don’t camp, so my adventure vacations days always end with a hot shower and clean sheets.)
Question – When is the last time you were able to completely forget about work while on vacation?
Strengthening your Personal Brand
Whether we know it or not, we all have an identity at work beyond our job title. It could be about our background before work (e.g., “she’s a military veteran”) or our life outside work (e.g., “he has a rescued greyhound dog.”) You can add to or change your extracurricular identity by taking an adventure trip.
Question – What is your extracurricular personal brand at work now? Would it be more interesting if you hiked or biked across a state or country?
Finding your Career Passion
Hiking long trails provides a nice combination of alone time for introspection plus social time meeting strangers. I have found that to be a great recipe to find my own career passions. On the Camino, I met folks from different careers and enjoyed hearing about them. In turn, I had to describe my own career. That was a fascinating exercise because I have had several different careers. By describing my career to others, I was able to find the favorite part of all my jobs that was a theme I had not seen before. By talking to a teacher, I realized I did a lot of teaching in all my jobs and that was the part that I had the most passion about.
Question – What is the common theme across all your jobs that might be your career passion?
If you are interested in doing an adventure vacation, you don’t have to start by walking across a state or country. Try it for a weekend or a week and see if you like it. Who knows, maybe I will meet you on the Camino some day.
About the Book:
A leadership journey unlike any other.
Stretching across 500 miles of northern Spain, the Camino de Santiago has been a pilgrimage route for a millennium. Each year, hundreds of thousands of peregrinos make their way through rugged countryside and medieval towns in order to reflect, test their will, and join a community of strangers on a shared mission. In short, it’s the ideal training ground for authentic leadership.
Challenged to walk the Camino, Victor Prince began his trek as one person: driven, work-focused and highly competitive, and he finished it a very different one: more balanced, more caring, and more present in the moment. In this transformative book he guides readers on their own Camino, translating his experience into seven essential leadership lessons inspired by the values emblazoned on the back of every pilgrim’s passport:
Treat each day as its own adventure – Make others feel welcome – Learn from those who’ve walked before – Consider your impact on those who follow – And more
Leadership is a journey. The Camino Way prepares you to tackle it with a pilgrim’s heart, a wayfarer’s grit, and a leader’s vision.
About the Author:
Victor Prince is an author and speaker who teaches strategy, communication, and leadership skills to clients around the world. Victor’s book, Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide their Teams to Exceptional Results, was named a Top 20 Leadership Book of 2016, has been republished in audiobook and Korean-language versions, and is available at retailers like FedEx Office, Barnes & Noble, Hudson Booksellers, and Amazon.com. His new book, The Camino Way: Lessons in Leadership from a Walk Across Spain, comes out in July 2017 from the American Management Association in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.