100 Days Later Gaia Dell’Ariccia, Postdoctoral Researcher, reflects on her personal strategy map and how a ‘success’ mindset can actually hold us back. 


I can’t believe 100 days have already passed since we returned from our Antarctic voyage. It was so quick – like the blink of an eye, and if I look at what I did, it seems like nothing…  but this isn’t true, this is just the first sight. The first sight that sometimes we too quickly give to ourselves, misjudging or underestimating our achievements.

When back on land, life hit again making the Antarctic bubble explode too fast and the voyage suddenly seemed like a dream. I would have liked to take the time to reflect much more on the experience, to digest and go deeper into the content, to produce a number of tangible outputs.

In my case, the plan for the first 100 days was to set the foundation for a totally new life. I tried to be realistic when drawing my 100 Day strategy, but things didn’t go as planned and it needed to be readjusted.

I am in an exploration phase; an exploration of a new vision of myself, a new purpose and a new professional path. An exploration of a rediscovered potential. When never done before, starting to trust my own capabilities is not automatic. I constantly need to think about it and to remind myself “yes, I can do it”. I have to actively take notice of the narrative I use. What is the story I am telling myself? …and what if…? Yes, what if… I was thinking differently?

This is the point. When deciding to abandon the known path, the new path in front of us may not be clear, or may not exist at all and we need to create it. So, we need to accept that it takes time to advance. And the second fundamental point is that, in our societies, we are asked to always be “successful”, while we have the right to try and fail, to make errors and adjust where we are going, to learn from experience.



Writing down these reflections, I understand how much the Homeward Bound program had a deep influence and changed my way in approaching things. This is the biggest achievement, even if there is nothing tangible and visible from the outside yet.

And when I feel lost, I go back to my strategy map and to my core values, asking myself what I really want and where I want to go in my life for myself, for the people around me and to achieve the positive impact I would like to have. Then, I take a big breath and move the next little step.

I think back to the icebergs and glaciers with their white external appearance and their cracks that allow us to see inside. It is when we look inside that a stunning deep blue becomes visible… and I am there, in the exploration of the deep blue.



Dr Gaia Dell’Ariccia is a behavioural ecologist working on petrel seabirds’ migration, navigation and homing, and on their sensory ecology. After completing her master studies at the University of Rome (Italy), she carried out her PhD at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) investigating homing pigeons navigation abilities. She worked for 4 years postdoc at the Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology of Montpellier (France) studying the olfactory ecology of petrels. She spent the last two years at the University of Barcelona (Spain) studying the trans-equatorial migrations of shearwaters. She is currently based in France working on seabirds’ movement ecology.