Back in October of this year, I had the gift of 9 days in sunny California. The first 4 days were spent at a truly inspirational leadership training event, my investment in professional development for this year. The other 5 were spent with my dear godmother, a post-war German immigrant who adopted California as her home almost 60 years ago.
The Theme of ‘The Decade’
A key theme from the training event was the idea of ending this decade strong in order to start the next decade with intention and purpose. We are now reaching the end not just of the year, but of the decade. This training theme was echoed in conversations with my godmother. She talks about her life in decades, each one reflecting a different theme or stage of accomplishment on her journey. Having turned 80 this year, her view is very much fixed not just on the year ahead, but on the decade ahead. She wants just one more.
I found this Decade Theme truly worthy of reflection. It’s an idea that has stuck with me and that I’ve shared with many since. Why? Because of a saying I once heard that we overestimate what we can do in 1 year but underestimate what we can do in 10. This week, I’d like to invite you to look back on the last decade to think about whether you could have imagined all that has happened to you, all that you experienced, all that you made possible, all that you overcame.
What 2009 was like for me
For my part, 2009 was momentous. Two years previously, my husband and I had made the bold decision to move to North Clare on the West Coast of Ireland. By now, we were in the middle of building a new house. Our coaching and training business, while successful, was starting to feel the impact of Ireland’s economic collapse. I was full-time Mom to our new baby and her two toddler siblings.
I felt the need to be back in the workplace. Early in 2009, I completed a Level 5 Certificate in Ecotourism – my very first introduction to the tourism industry. I became part of a discussion group that was working on establishing an ecotourism network in my local region. Some time later, my first a consultancy contract came as ‘Animator’ to the then fledgling Burren Ecotourism Network.
A journey I could never have imagined
A decade ago, I could never have guessed the journey that would open up for me. Then, I was simply grateful for any work that would get me out of the house and allow flexibility around my young family. I never could have imagined how the industry and its people would captivate me. I could never have imagined how passionate I would feel about contributing to the future of the industry.
I couldn’t have imagined that I would choose to train and practice as a professional coach, facilitator and trainer. From not even being aware of the existence of the tourism industry before 2009, I have the honour of closing this quarter by speaking at three national conferences and one international conference, sharing my insights in the areas of responsible tourism and food tourism. These are highlights.
There have been plenty of ups and downs along the way. It certainly hasn’t been all plain sailing and I’m very aware of moments of sadness and regret in my journey through this industry. Nonetheless, I can say with hand on heart that the experience has been a blessing and a transformation.
So, what about you?
What transformations have happened for you since December 2009? What paths did you go down that you never could have imagined? What challenges did you overcome? What opportunities did you grab with both hands?
If you’re still here and reading this, you must have lots of things to feel good about. Dwell on your transformations, however big or small, and what they tell you about the power you have to change and grow. If we can double down on this ability to change and lead, we can fortify ourselves for the future. Take the time to dwell on your accomplishments over the last decade so you can feel strong for the next one!
For an ideal power surge at the start of the next decade, why not join us at The Tourism Space LIVE 2020, on 23rd January 9.00am-4.30pm.