My four short days in Hong Kong have been packed with concentrated activity, rich friendships, and meaningful work. This, my first trip to this extraordinary place, has been the perfect blend of adventure, culture, business, fitness, and play. Allow me to share just a few highlights, and perhaps, some ideas that will help inspire action.
I stayed at the Shangri-La Kowloon, which was also, conveniently, the place the AT&T meeting was held. This two-day event has crisscrossed the US, hopped to London (last week), and now reached the Asian Pacific. I have been truly blessed to be part of the faculty, offering a closing keynote on Day One to help their managers Embrace Uncertainty and live/work in an environment that is Off Balance, but On Purpose – enriched with phenomenal importance and opportunity.
This property is world class, and I would highly recommend it. The service is unparalleled, as we were constantly greeted with courtesy and prompt responses to our every anticipated need. The food, fitness center, meeting space, and rooms were at the highest level, consistent with what I’ve experienced at other Shangri-La properties throughout the world.
Whenever I travel to a new city, I love to get out and about to experience the energy or “vibe” of the locale. There is a tangible buzz in places like this that are so alive with energy, commerce, and interests. Being in the midst of the action, whether in a crowded street market, aboard the Star Ferry, or at a must see destination like “Victoria Peak,” you literally are energized by the surroundings. This is also the perfect antidote (or at least, an aid) to off-set the unavoidable jet lag of being 12 time zones removed from home.
Spending time on the road by myself is relaxing and offers its own rewards. However, being at an exciting place like Hong Kong is always more meaningful and “real” when you share it with someone else. When I can, I always bring my wife and/or kids on adventures like this one. Or, in this case, I seek out friends (some of the AT&T University team, fellow speakers, or members of the Production Crew) who can join me on an excursion, or at least for a meal.
I believe that enriching your life is all about strengthening the “Lifelines,” or vital connections between the five spheres of your success: work, relationships, health, spiritual growth, and personal interests. Travel provides ample opportunities and unlimited creative ways to integrate the spheres of life with one another, expanding what could be an isolating experience into an multi-faceted adventure. It could easily go either way – but I opt for the latter. Life is too short to stay in your hotel room, aimlessly flipping channels on the TV.
So in Hong Kong, I rode the underground train to a busy shopping district, got lost in what seemed like an endless street market, secured a local tailor to make me a customized new suit (which rocks), and sampled local food and even some live music. But for me, the highlight, by far was an excursion yesterday to go cliff climbing in a beautiful setting with a new and inspiring friend.
Erik Weihenmayer is an extraordinary human being, and also one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met. He is world famous as the first blind person to ever climb the Seven Summits (tallest peaks on each continent). Erik has no sight, and yet possesses a rare and unstoppable vision. There is nothing beyond his reach , literally. I actually spent about an hour teaching him and his family to juggle yesterday. Now, I’ve taught thousands of people to juggle, but Erik is my first blind student. And he is really into the challenge, determined to succeed. I have no doubt he will.
Erik brought his family on this trip. Like me, he is married with two children, roughly the same ages as my kids. Having spent a good bit of time in Hong Kong, living and adventuring, he also had a local connection and friend named Jai Leal. who arranged our outing to Shek O, a magical spot on Hong Kong Island, away from the madness of the city. Jai is in the business of arranging world wide adventures for everyone from celebrities to disabled children, and he is, himself, a remarkable person. Together, we all rode to Shek O in taxis, then trekked across the bridge to the mountainous peninsula and hiked to the top of the ocean side cliff. From this lofty, spectacular vantage point, we rappelled down, and then climbed various routes back to the top. It was awesome.
To me, this is the perfect way to fully enjoy life, whether at home or in a brand new destination – building new connections/lifelines between the spheres that truly matter:
Work –Relationships: Erik and I are on all of these programs this year, tag-teaming the AT&T audiences. We would never have met if not for this work opportunity. And, I have no doubt that our friendship will lead to other business somewhere down the road. It was also wonderful to meet his beautiful family and develop a bond with them as well, through this shared experience. I look forward to the day my wife and kids can meet them, as well.
Health: No doubt, we were engaged in challenging exercise, while hiking and climbing. We were breathing in magnificent, fresh ocean breezes and enjoying the “Great Outdoors.”
Interests: Rock climbing is becoming a new hobby/interest of mine. Also, just the notion of traveling, learning about new places and cultures falls squarely (or should I say “roundly?”) into the sphere of personal interests.
Spiritual Growth: If you cannot encounter God in a place like this, then I don’t think you are really trying. Trust me, during and after this experience, I thanked my Creator for a life rich with opportunities, friends, a loving family, and an amazing world to explore and enjoy. I was truly blessed by the day, as I am every day in different, divine ways.
How are you expanding all of your life spheres and strengthening the vital lifelines that connect you to a more complete version of success and a more enriching life?
Hong Kong was a hugely successful business trip. The audiences gave us rave reviews, and we continued to deliver in our roles as speakers and partners with our clients. But Erik and I are alike in that we don’t just judge success from one angle. Keeping a multi-dimensional view of a life pattern that encompasses all of life’s important spheres in a limitless, connected pattern… now that’s the view of true success.
Today I head out on the next adventure, and the next engagement. I am speaking this weekend at a resort on the island country of Mauritius, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I will once again expand my gaze and my life in yet-to-be-discovered ways. The adventure continues, and it is awesome, humbling, and unfolding every day. I do thank God for my profession, my family, my talents, and my shortcomings. Some moments it is easier than others to see the Purpose in the Off Balance moments.