Contributions from Priscila Nagalli and Paloma Bentes

This summer, I journeyed with two friends to Europe to hike The Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James, is an ancient pilgrimage route dating back to the 9th century to Santiago, Spain. It is believed that St. James in buried in the Cathedral of Santiago. You can start walking in France, Portugal, or Spain. The total route is over 800 km. We did 115 km (72 miles) starting in Sarria and ending in Santiago. It was an enriching cultural and spiritual experience to travel the countryside by foot, and I was reminded of a few lessons along the way.

My friend and co-worker, Priscila, was the one who asked me to join her and a friend on the journey. Before the trip, Priscila had mentioned the concept of “we” versus “me.” As we walked, we experienced this concept as we felt our energies form a community of “us.” I also saw this sense of community in the other groups walking – embracing the idea that together is better.

Each year, I embrace living life holistically and in a way in which I show up fully in all scenarios. In this piece, the concept of “we” is inspired by our journey walking the countryside of Spain. These lessons can be applied personally and professionally.

1.Diversity of Ideas – Discussions with others can broaden your horizon. Priscila elevated our trip by sharing her knowledge of highly recommended accommodations and restaurants. Paloma enhanced our daily walking by reminding us to take time to pace ourselves and enjoy the journey. I suggested we do daily foot massage and yoga to support our bodies during our rigorous journey. I was thankful, as these suggestions contributed to my being able to complete the walk. Paloma was grateful that yoga and massage allowed her knee pain to subside.

Culture Infusion – Survey Your Team Regularly: At Actualize, we thrive when we obtain feedback and survey our people often. Recently, we surveyed our team to check in on a challenging project. The results showed us that our team wanted more dedicated client-specific support, and they made suggestions on how we could meet their needs. We immediately set up dedicated times and personnel to support their request.

2.Focus on Your Strengths – As we traveled, the three of us innately took on a role that suited us best. Priscila was our leader, organizing and guiding us each day. Paloma had the fortitude of a warrior, powering through multiple sicknesses and injuries, showing us how will can guide the way. I was the caregiver tending to blister care, teaching daily yoga, and sharing natural remedies for our ailments.

Culture Infusion – Goal Setting: We counsel our team on aligning their goals to their aspirations and what lights them up. As we focus on what we love, work and life flow more easily.

3.Sense of Community – When you are walking the Camino and witness the success and determination of others, their energy pulls you forward. When you feel you cannot take another step, you see other walkers and cyclists in the distance achieving a common goal. Being part of this larger community is a powerful force that propels you to continue.

Culture Infusion – Focus on People: We genuinely care about our people and building teams that work together. We have Google email groups where we can ask questions. Our people come together to support one another and share a common goal. It is beautiful to witness the support towards resolution.

4.Build Bonds – When you share in a challenge such as the Camino, you build bonds and memories you will never forget. As each of us needed a boost, the others would support and lift our vibe. When my feet broke out in a heat rash and blisters, Priscila and Paloma helped put cold compresses on them and got medicine from the pharmacy. If I did not have them, I might have wanted to give up, but I kept moving forward to foster our team bond and to complete the journey together.

Culture Infusion – Foster Team Connection: We love to have social and cause-related events to build our team bonds outside of work. We have an upcoming event in which we will help homeless people learn how to interview for jobs. Priscila and I discussed expanding our team building experience with additional activities and work opportunities before and after our time of giving back to the community. Supporting our community has always been a big part of our culture at Actualize Consulting. Now, with the strength of deep connection I experienced on the Camino, I feel we will do even more meaningful work.

Time Magazine’s piece on Blue Zones supports that we live longer and healthier lives if we are focused on community and healthy life styles. Many times, I find myself thinking or saying I can do this alone. After walking the Camino with friends and having time to contemplate life, I now more than ever believe that together is better. Life is richer with experiences and moments of sharing.

What are you trying to accomplish on your own? Who can you share your ideas, struggles, or solutions with today? What lessons have your travels taught you?