Week two for me was all about moving. Moving that body of mine, getting all the brain cells to work on my nano degree and breaking free of old patterns and behaviour. It took me quite a while to write this blog post. After all, we are already in week four of The Nomad MBA and today is our very last day in Valparaíso, Chile. But the second week was physically and emotionally intense and exhausting and I simply felt drained. I needed some time to process everything first before writing about it.
In diversity there is beauty and there is strength
One of the best things about being in a group like this is that you get to benefit from all the different talents people have. And everyone here is so proactive in sharing them. We had a yoga class with two certified teachers one day and a HIIT morning workout the other day. Someone else took charge and organized an authentic Chilean cooking class. Yet another tribe member taught us how to surf. I don’t think there is a more beautiful way to celebrate our diversity as humans. Instead of being separated by our differences, it’s what brings us closer together.
I get that some experiences of this program are certainly not applicable to our day-to-day lives.
However, I strongly believe that what I learned about diversity is a lesson everyone should take away and implement back home. When we meet someone new, we tend to focus on similarities and dismiss our differences. Or, even worse, use them as a pretence to dislike someone. Because if another person has beliefs deviating from ours, then how could we possibly get along with them, right? But what if we could change our attitude and approach them with kindness and curiosity instead? What if we could embrace our differences and ask ourselves ‘What can this person teach me? What can I learn from them?’? The world is beautiful because of all its diversity and we should stop thinking that our way is the only right way to live life.
The first step towards change is awareness
Apart from these more general realisations, I had some big breakthroughs in the personal growth department – again. Before I came here, I promised myself to be my unapologetic authentic self for these three months. That includes speaking my truth, advocating for myself and – if necessary – addressing any issues I have with someone or something.
During this week, I found myself in a situation where I felt I couldn’t live up to this promise. I had the impression that someone wasn’t 100% honest with me. As a response, I felt like I couldn’t be completely honest and true to myself either. This might not seem like too much of a deal. But it was someone that I’ve grown really close to and with whom I’d felt like I could really be myself no matter what. During the weekend, I got really emotional and constantly had this sinking feeling in my stomach. It took me some time to realise that this was caused by the situation I just described.
Old ways won’t open new doors
I noticed myself emotionally detaching from this person, something I used to do back home when things like that happened. It’s so much easier to just push the pain to the back of your mind and let resentment damage your relationship. Another friend suggested to go and talk to that person instead of running away. My initial reaction was ‘no way’. I’ve never ever initiated a confrontation with anyone and doing so scared me so much. But I gave it some thought and decided that my friendship with that person was too valuable to simply let it go.
So I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to talk about my feelings. And I was rewarded with one of the most beautifully honest and deep conversations I’ve ever had. I am really proud of myself that I took this low point as an opportunity to rise up and overcome my fears. And I learned that, yes, you can live a safe life and most of the time that is definitely easier and more comfortable. But by putting yourself out there and making yourself vulnerable you open up your heart to form stronger bonds and deeper connections. And I dare to say that this is something we all long for and crave.
This also shows me how far I’ve come already. If the breakthroughs I already had were the only thing I took away from my time here, I would be more than happy. But we are not even one third through the program. I couldn’t be more excited about what’s still to come and all the other ways in which I’ll grow.