I never blogged about my second trip to Auckland, New Zealand. I think subconsciously it felt like once I took to reflection I’d have to admit it was time to move on… And selfishly, I wasn’t ready to do that.
So, why share this piece now? Easy. I’m ready. Plus, I’ve finally put the finishing touches on this post that has been a draft for too long.
For one, New Zealand is the most beautiful place in the world – “Arcadia” some would say. The people are fantastic. Everyone I encountered was cool and hospitable. If there is one thing both my teams have learned from working over there, its that Kiwis love to have a good time with their guests. Besides being a pleasure to hang out and work with, our new friends loaned surfboards, cooked homemade dinners, hosted dance parties, supplied us gear for motorcycle trips, gave us an awesome beach batch, showed us insane ocean views, and so much more. There was no point during our stay that I felt like an outsider. It was lovely.
The Maori culture is pretty interesting. Curiously, I looked up what the term Māori means and found this:
If you’ve been to New Zealand you know that the scenery and nature is absolutely breathtaking. The outdoors lifestyle feels intrinsic. There is a wholesomeness that runs through the veins of Kiwi culture. It’s anything but ordinary. There’s also so much tradition. I was lucky enough to watch my second Haka this year at the ‘Breath of the Volcano‘ show. You can see some of my personal experience with the fireworks on a cool app called Lightt. The footage is here. Going back to the Haka for a second, it was so culturally enriching to see the historical dance. Here’s an up-close and personal video of my first Haka in October 2013.
So, why was I there? The purpose of my trip was business with Hyper Island. I have said this to my client and I will say it again to everybody reading this post, the company I worked with in New Zealand is the best I’ve ever collaborated with. Imagine a business where upper management invests in their people because they believe in the potential that exists amongst their teams. Envision a culture unlike any other in the places you’ve been employed, one that has healthy competition but is mindful of individual needs. Picture a group of talented folks so driven, so motivated, and so hungry to learn that nothing seemed out of their reach. With these attributes on their side, they have the potential to dominate their industry. This group deserves massive amounts of continued success for their kind hearts, positive attitudes and tenacity. Here’s a little taste of what we did on-site in our session down under: Hyper Island Master Class – Harlem Style. It was produced after group reflection on day 2 of the #HIMC.
On top of having a fantastic client, my team was top notch. We called ourselves a Hyper Island “League of Nations.” We had a Dane (Sarah Gregersen), Irishman (Paul McCabe), Brit (Christian Payne), Kiwi (John Dawson), and Yankee (me). My HI crew was made up of true professionals who embraced feedback, despite how difficult it can be sometimes (here’s an article the NY Times just published on feedback.) Additionally, they’re experts in their respective fields who will never settle for mediocrity when delivering or working in mixed teams. As individuals, we stretched ourselves. As a group, we challenged each other’s the limits. It was beautiful.
One might argue it was living under the same roof for nearly 3 weeks, others will say it was the delicious breakfast at the Stamford Auckland Plaza that brought us together. Hell, it could have been all the karaoke. I believe it was our paralleled passion to make a difference in our client’s business and in their staff member’s lives… I won’t lie. It was about us, too. We sometimes joke at Hyper Island that our end goal is world domination… But really, the goal is to change the world and make waves that support a necessary shift that needs to happen. HI strives to make the world a more peaceful, insightful and enjoyable place to live. Individually, we all do this every single day from around the globe. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the team for 3 weeks nonstop!
Another insight into my trip was the amount of “wow” moments that occurred. On one of our few days off, I was able to take a motorcycle ride into the NZ countryside (though according to my Kiwi friends it was just outside of town). Oh. My. God. It was gorgeous. I’m a total sucker for landscapes. The day trip reminded me just how much I adore feeling limitless. To be so free and to exist in the present is tough for a lot of people. That trip allowed me to lose myself. I truly felt alive. Sure, I know that’s a feeling that most of us chase on the regular, but I hold that day in my heart. There was a moment where a bird struck us on the bike when we were cruising. It could have, maybe should have, killed us. Let me repeat… We were cruising. Oddly, when I look back, I realize that bird run-in was a turning point in my life. Major lessons were re-learned.
- Live in the moment and take the hits [or birds] that life throws at you as they come.
- Learn to let go. Scream at the top of your lungs every so often. It feels good.
- Disconnect. It’s vital for well-being.
- Trust others.
- Do things that scare you. They may end up exposing a passion you never knew you had.
- Remember, the more certain we are of ourselves, the less likely we are to fail when tested.
To feel like you’re making a difference in the lives of others daily – clients, colleagues, friends, lovers… Whatever – it makes you feel alive. That’s more fulfilling than anything else in this world if you ask me. It’s when I feel purpose.
Alex Noble once said, “If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.” This leads me to some questions I’d like you to ask yourself.
- What do you need to do in order to have a successful day?
- How about a successful life?
- What do you desire?
Alan Watts, an incredibly intelligent philosopher, once did a talk on pursuit of happiness. In the beginning he asked, “What makes you itch?” Listen to his thoughts on the subject. Check it out here. I’m certain it will help guide you to find answers.