As #TeamHB3 make their way home from Antarctica after a life-changing experience, we share more photos and reflections from aboard the #MVUshuaia. Stay tuned for more updates as the women return to their homes, families and lives, and apply their leadership lessons.

Each time I tried to envisage or be clear on my expectations for being part of the on-board leadership faculty of Homeward Bound, I had to stop and say to myself, ‘This is not like anything I’ve ever done. Lean into the expertise and experience of others’.  This helped me to prepare for the journey and to let go of any expectations. I noticed that it wasn’t just my expectations I had to manage, it was also the expectations of others.

Homeward Bound has a strong, supportive community consisting of the current team and participants to Homeward Bound 1 and 2; all who come with incredible expertise.

When I reached out to TeamHB3 and past participants they all echoed the same response: being part of HB was unlike anything they had experienced.  This helped me move from being anxious to being excited. Having expectations initially for something I had never experienced wasn’t going to work. Being excited did.

On board, I came to understand the importance of setting boundaries around self-care early and then, to stick to them. The wonderful Hayley Young, project coordinator at Homeward Bound, said, “If you care for yourself, go to bed early”. That was key for me, though it is hard to do when it’s so light. I closed my blinds against the endlessly exciting world beyond lit by the summer sun. Getting enough sleep helped me engage with the program and all the demands of it. And of course this was constantly tested; just before closing the blinds in the distance whales appeared, or the conversations were just so interesting. Stick to a routine meant I was fully able to play another day: in my case delivering leadership content and supporting the participants through coaching.

I became deeply aware of the shift that happens when you bring so many people together: women, who initially felt that they may not have a lot in common, that they are different, but of course as human beings doing the best they can in the world, found they are not so different at all.

This comes up in the work I do. Everyone insists we are different due to factors including, age, ethnic origins, organisational structure or sectors we work in, but of course, in reality we are not so different. In fact, when you focus on similarities you find alignment; normally, however, we have a habit of focusing on differences.

The beautiful thing I watch for is that moment when everyone gets that we are more connected than disconnected. I was looking out for this and I saw it happen, in action, around the mid-way mark of the voyage. To be able to witness such deep connection and ‘aha’ moments has been a true privilege. Someone in the group would share an insight and the whole room would get it. The words didn’t matter so much as watching the ripple effect of the insight as it landed, allowing others to see and feel the connection that came instantly.

What we observed and felt consolidated the culture of Homeward Bound, were those transformational moments of connection. I feel incredibly blessed to have witnessed so many of these moments in the past three weeks.

Pollyanna Lenkic is a member of the Homeward Bound on-board faculty. She is a coach, mentor, facilitator and speaker who works with leading organisations. Find her here on LinkedIn.