Reflecting on Friends, Connections and Support Systems

In life, when you begin to follow the path you are meant to follow, it feels as if the Universe conspires to present you with people who are meant to inspire you forward. Of the many inspiring individuals I had the honor to walk with, I want to share two of their stories.

The first is my friend and client, Scott, who, prior to his walk last year, had never taken off more than six days in a given year. In 19 years of running his business, he had taken less than a third of a year off. Walking the Camino, all things considered, was insane for him­ it would require a 45 day break. It would be a massive overhaul to his way of life, which had become comfortable, familiar and stable. And overhaul it was. It changed his entire life­ the way he does business, the way he relates to the people in his life, and the way he relates to himself. He’s not the same person he was before he did the walk. He was so accustomed to putting everything before his own self ­care, and now he gives himself rest, time and appreciation. And his business has not crumbled­ it has done quite the opposite. The change meant so much to him that he even went back to the Camino a second time in the very same year.

Doing something that will completely shake up the norm can be terrifying. We’re not only stepping into the unknown, we’re risking everything we have do it. In the end, if you risk nothing, you get no further on your path. If you risk everything, you may end up gaining more than you ever imagined; you may find that doors opened where you never imagined them opening.

The other friend I write about is one of the reasons I’m returning to walk again: to pay homage to him. Meet Kevin, a 65 year old Australian, maximum security prison guard and ex­ special forces in the Australian army. His appearance was intimidating and I honestly didn’t believe we would be friends. Had I run into him anywhere else, I likely would have passed him by and missed the connection completely. He taught me many lessons, not the least of which is to never judge a person at a glance.

Kevin survived two major bouts of cancer, which had left him without several organs. He was walking to celebrate being cancer free, and to honor his friends back home who were still fighting for their lives. We spent three weeks on the path together, and it felt like we were lifelong friends. Sometimes you meet a person, and it’s as if your souls were already friends; Kevin was one of those people.

After he returned home, the cancer returned, and he passed within six months. You just never know what’s going to happen. So do what Kevin did and celebrate. Do things now. Don’t hesitate; start writing the book, tell someone you love them, open the business, run the marathon. Do what you dream of doing, because life is going to happen whether or not you do it. You can find a way, just like my friend who found a way to step away from the business he’d grown so accustomed to running day in and day out. It is possible. It is not always easy, but it is always possible.

Have you met anyone who has crossed your path and taught you something, inspired you, or helped you along the way? Do you know anyone who took a leap of faith and ended up changing their life? Think about the ways different people in your life have shaped and impacted you. Are they the kind of people you will be proud to have known, and who will support you on your great journey?

What is your next journey? I leave for mine this Friday; when will you embark on yours? Walk your own path over the next three weeks and share it to inspire yourself and others.