The Leadership Pilgrimage - A Journey with a Purpose

The Leadership Pilgrimage: A Journey with a Purpose

Several years ago I completed the UNESCO World Heritage site/trip commemorating the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James in northern Spain. The day that I started the journey, I stood on a bridge that crosses a river that makes up the modern border between France and Spain just outside of Irun, Spain and near the Sea of Cantabria. It was upon this bridge and others like it throughout the mountainous corridors between France and Spain that for over 10 centuries pilgrims have converged upon as they continue their journey westward some 500 miles to Santiago de Compostela and just beyond that to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is a great interest to me what has motivated millions of pilgrims through the centuries to make this incredible journey. Imagine the sacrifice it must have meant to pilgrims one thousand years ago to leave everything that they had behind and to take a journey of some 500 miles or more to a land that they had never been before and to sacrifice both physically, emotionally, and mentally to make that pilgrimage. These pilgrims believed that upon arriving there, not just upon arriving there magically at one spot, but through their efforts, their sacrifice and the expression of their core values that they were demonstrating that they would receive a better life, that they would receive Enlightenment for their efforts.

It’s because of this interest in this motivation from these pilgrims that brought me to that spot, where I would retrace that exact journey. I learned a lot on my journey about myself, and about leadership. I believe that many of us could learn from the motivations and experiences of these pilgrims of old. Unfortunately, many of us will never have the opportunity to make such a huge sacrifice, but I do believe that there's an opportunity for us to make a type of inward journey, an inward reflection of who we are as individuals, who we are as leaders with our organizations and the difference that we can make. I call this the Leadership Pilgrimage.

My belief is is that by learning from these ancient pilgrims that we can also reflect upon some lessons in modern life that will make us better leaders, better people in our communities and make a bigger contribution and effectiveness wherever we work and serve.