We woke to calm seas off the shore of King George Island – we were back in protected waters. We were told King George Island is also known as the shopping center of Antarctica as it is the location of stations from several different countries including China, Chile, Argentina, and South Korea. While waiting to make the landing, there was time to take in the scenery which included penguins jumping in and out of the water as they went swimming by the ship (more to follow on penguins in the coming days).
Today’s landing was to the Great Wall Station.
To go from the ship to shore, we rode in smaller boats called zodiacs. These are essentially super-duty dinghies with heavy duty inflatable sides and a metal bottom. We would on and off load these from the back of the ship.
Going to the Great Wall Station was clearly a source of pride for the Chinese women in our group. Many of them said people, once hearing about their Antarctic travels, would ask if they would be going to the Great Wall Station. We did a quick tour of the facility and visited the museum. I’m pictured with Charlotte Wang. Charlotte is the founder and CEO of EQuota Energy. Her company has been able to demonstrate the financial benefits of sustainability resulting in reduction of coal powered energy in China. She is MIT educated, has personality to fill the room, and has promised to feed me good Chinese food when I visit her in China.
The symbols on the cliff stand for Patriotism, Pragmatism, Innovation, and Endeavor.
After returning to the ship, we headed south across the Bransfield Straight. The afternoon was intended to be filled with program activities. (I’m really wishing I’d kept better notes from this session.)
We did some additional LSI work. I’ve shown the circumflex with the 12 categories in prior posts. Within each of these categories are several “line items” which are specific traits that contribute to the larger attribute of each of the 12 categories. Scores for each of these “line items” were also included in our LSI results. By doing a deeper dive into these results, we were able to identify specific traits or behaviors that are contributing to our results – some of these might be strengths, but the benefit is to target areas for improvement. For example, I had a high score in the Dependent category. One of my high scoring line items in this category was over-cautious. So, to work on decreasing my Dependent score, I might benefit from taking a more risk.
Another point of discussion was how to avoid getting hooked by the stories or dialogues we have with ourselves in our own heads. Byron Katie’s 4 questions were recommended as a tool to avoid getting stuck. Simple questions, but a powerful tool. (I’m beginning to realize that many of the tools to good leadership are simple and yet, we often don’t see them until someone else points them out.)
- Is what you are saying to yourself or others true?
- Is it really true?
- How does it make you feel believing it’s true?
- Who would you be if you didn’t believe it was true?
Following this leadership work we had a session on peer coaching – the first of several. The mindset of coaching is “Nothing is Broken, Nothing Needs to Be Fixed.” This differs from mentorship in that a mentee is seeking expert advice from a mentor. The coach is not an expert, but rather someone to help the coachee learn to work through her own problems, issues, or concerns. My sense is that with coaching, we all sort of already know the answers to our questions, we just need someone else to help us hear the answers more clearly. Coaches are truly present, but they don’t give advice. They listen with generous curiosity and don’t pass judgement. Being a good coach is a lot harder than it sounds.
After coaching we were supposed to have a science session, but that got scrapped as we were all becoming too distracted by the scenery around us. First there was the huge tabular ice berg the ship’s Captain was kind enough to take us around.
Then we tried to reconvene, but “Whales!!!” No matter how hard anyone might have tried, no one could compete with whales.
There really is something magnificent and magical about whales. They are big and strong, yet they move through the water with patience, ease, and grace. Once you hear the explosion of breath as they come to the surface and watch their tails gently slip back into the sea, your heart is forever changed and you can never go back to being the person you were before.