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Seeing Past The Horizon

This past summer I got to check off another bucket list adventure - hot air ballooning. Over the Pyrenees in the northeast of Spain, our family and friends experienced earth from an entirely new vantage point.

In addition to the views, what struck me the most was the sound - or should I say lack thereof. Silence. Silence like I have never before experienced.

We arrived at Vol de Coloms before sunrise, joining fellow adventurers as we sipped our cafe con leche, trying to ensure we were alert and ready for lift off. The balloons were huge and the baskets large, holding up to 12 guests and our pilot. Once standing in the basket, we began our ascent. My less-than-thrilled-with-heights husband ensured the kids were secured while I made sure they could see over the railing. Within minutes we were floating over dormant volcanoes as if we were keeping pace with the rising sun. We could see for miles, er, kilometers.

What struck me the most, even more than the amazing views, was the sound - or more specifically, the lack thereof. Utter, deep quiet like nothing I’ve experienced before. We seemed to be soaring to another world, one in which our height was commensurate to the silence - both increasing together.

Brief interruptions of the gas reminded us that we were moving higher, descending, or shifting our path. But the more we climbed, the more we embraced the unique focus we shared as we took in our environment and its massive details together. Even a six and eight year old noticed the difference in how we could experience the beauty around more deeply with the noise removed.

While just a few hours, the experience of soaring into the sky left a lasting imprint on how I focus. I used to pride myself on multitasking (and arguably, I still think I’m a superhero at it). But soaring to new heights, pushing yourself to pursue your ambitions, and achieving a safe ascent and landing requires that you remove the noise. Embrace the solace that comes with silence, and pay attention to the few sounds that matter. What are they telling you about your direction or pace?

Similarly, fill your basket with people who will share in your journey and ensure that your ascension is with support, laughter, and navigation.

These aren’t just #tips for enjoying a hot air balloon, but lessons for leading an organization or team’s growth. And when you reach the top, remember to celebrate and toast with your favorite cava.

It reminds me about the journey I'm embarking on to launch my next adventure, NBG Strategy Consulting. Follow along to learn more as I launch this balloon on a new journey. There will be a toast to celebrate at the top!

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