Today was our day off. It was nice to have a break, but it signified the halfway mark of our voyage on the ship, and I didn’t want to think about being closer to the end than the beginning.
I decided I would let myself sleep in, though I don’t think I actually slept. Between the intercom announcements, the buzz of activity on the ship, and the bright sunlight, sleeping was hard to do, but I was content having a lazy morning in bed without worrying about walking Curtis, doing laundry, or going grocery shopping. My lazy morning extended to lunchtime.
Our travels today took us to Flandres Bay. On the bow of the ship, the wind was brisk, the air was clean, and the feeling exhilarating. (Photo credit to Rachel Bice. Rachel is the head of the Environmental Growth and Partnerships for Cornwall Council in the UK.)
As we got closer to land, the wind died down. I could have stood there forever. (Photo credit to Steph Gardner. Steph is a marine biologist.)
Teammates Deidre Collins and Beth Strain modeled the Homeward Bound logo on the bow of the ship. Deidre is a microbiologist and Beth is a marine biologist.
Truly, this was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, maybe even the most beautiful. When I close my eyes now and I think of Antarctica, this is the first place I see. Ironically, I don’t have many pictures. I made a conscious decision to leave my camera on the ship during our zodiac cruise so I could simply experience my surroundings. There were several glaciers converging from different directions on the bay, each separated by tall peaks. The sun was bright, the water was blue and the icebergs hovered over patches of turquoise. In the distance there was an avalanche of ice, the valley filled with powder white, and when it cleared, the landscape was changed. It was gobsmacking to know that with each crack in the ice, each shift of the glacier, the continent was changing. What was here 1, 10, or 100 million years ago and what would be here 1, 10, or 100 million years from now? And yet, here I was at this one moment in time, to witness it firsthand, my snapshot of Antarctica. I was awed, humbled, and, inspired. I felt both big and small.
Since the agenda was light today, I’m going to mention a few things that happened along the way, though I don’t remember the exact timing.
One of my US teammates, Alicia Collins (a pharmaceutical industry professional) brought a stack of letters from her sister-in-law’s 3rd grade class. These were adorable and full of great questions, some even came with jokes. I got Madisyn’s letter since she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. I encouraged her to keep helping others and let her know explorers sometimes wear lip gloss.
Throughout the trip we had the opportunity to receive individual coaching from the on-board faculty. My first session was with Kylie Lewis. Kylie is an executive coach, presenter and digital strategist (ofkin.com) and was part of our visibility team. Our visibility work kicked off in Ushuaia before we set sail. The very first thing I have written in my note book under Visibility is “Starts with personal visibility”. Kylie also had us do an exercise where we wrote down 50 of our beliefs. I walked into my session with Kylie wondering exactly how these 50 things tied into my visibility, but we never got there because, as was written plain as day in my notebook, visibility starts with personal visibility and we quickly realized that was where we needed to focus. This tied perfectly to the personal strategy work. We discussed a few critical action items and pinned down dates by which they should be accomplished. There was no getting away without being accountable.
In case you are wondering, here are items 1 – 24 and 33 – 50. A couple of the items between 25 and 32 were politically charged and not necessary here. As I re-read these, I’m realizing this is me, this is simply how, at least at this juncture in my life, I need to show up.
My second session was with Pollyanna Lenkic. Pollyanna is a coach, mentor, facilitator and speaker who works with leading organizations. Pollyanna was part of the leadership team and led the peer coaching and cover story exercises. Again, my session with her focused on showing up for myself. She taught me an incredibly powerful and yet (again) extraordinarily simple tool. Every time a person says “yes” to something, she is simultaneously saying “no” to something else and vice versa. For example, if I say “yes” to a late task or meeting at work, I am saying “no” to having more time to spend with Curtis (my dog). If I say “yes” to walking Curtis in the morning, I’m saying “no” to sleeping for an extra 30 minutes. There are tradeoffs in every decision we make, the important thing is realizing each of us has agency over these decisions, and most of the time, it is okay and important to chose fulfillment.
Pollyanna also set some accountability goals with me, but she must not have been as emphatic as Kylie, because I can’t find the dates written down in my notes.
As a post-voyage note, I’m pleased to say that I’m ahead of schedule in the biggest personal visibility task. Not only did showing up for myself feel good, it was empowering.