This little one was walking with her grandpa touring a weekly local artistisan display in Havanah, Cuba when they approached me, hopeful to practice her English. As we gaze into those eyes and soak up that confident smile, it's as if we know she is assured a bright future- so eager to connect, learn and explore.
Like all great trips, time away from our usual routine, and the opportunity to disconnect from our professional lives offers a chance to reflect and renew.
"Travel to Cuba served as a reminder that we are indeed different in our thinking, actions and approach to life and unconsciously, we often limit ourselves by choosing what we know; we cling to the familiar and forego the unknown relinquishing the chance to grow.
For me, Cuba presented an opportunity to immerse ourselves in a world where what we know to be true about ourselves, others, world affairs, politics, religion, talent and team is brought in to question for a larger possibility...to go bigger.
Fortuitously, in a conversation with a professional coach before leaving for Cuba, I declared the "World Stage" as my next platform for growth. I told her that I wanted to create a conversational platform with people from around the globe that empowers and supports the growth of humanity. One that creates and generates transformative conversations that fuel a sense of connection and purpose and that cause an undeniable, positive impact.
Astoundingly and quite hilariously, my travel mates and I danced on a world stage at the Tropicana in Havana this past week celebrating with people from all over the globe. Many "know" Cuba to be impoverished, technologically outdated and politically unfriendly which is exactly what intrigued me - Cuba, like many foreign territories, represented an opportunity to engage, understand, connect, appreciate and create with amazing people.
Cuba left me with a sense of urgency and clarity to live, love and lead powerfully. It served as a reminder to continue surrounding myself with caring, passionate, hilarious and humble people who make the world a better place. I departed the USA for Cuba concerned about the mundane and petty things that consume us, yet somehow loom larger than life in the moments of boarding the plane. I returned very clear and excited about who I have become and the grand work ahead.
While we all know the power of YES is mighty, we don't always trust that intuition; instead, we opt for a seemingly safer path.
This time I said yes. Yes Kevin, I will travel with you to Cuba and am so deeply grateful. Yes Chuck, I will scuba dive. Both were first time experiences that far exceeded any joy I could have ever imagined.
Cuba served as a reminder to invite others to play and partner passionately, to say YES and most importantly, to trust.
Trust the outcome, trust your friends and family, trust yourself. Despite our world of differences, the formula for joy, fulfillment and power is the same, even in Cuba.