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What I learned from hiking in Patagonia, Chile

I had a wonderful opportunity to spend two weeks in Torres del Paine which is a national park located in southern Chile, South America. This area is known as Patagonia. I was with a group of 12 women from around the world along with two female guides from Chile. We hiked in the national park, rode bikes and kayaked around icebergs. It was an incredible experience and most of all taught me a few life lessons.

1. Give people space. When hiking, typically you are following the person in front of you. You watch where they step, which rock they step on with which foot. To actually see where they are, you need to give them space. Do not follow so close.

Isn’t that the way with people we serve? Give them space to decide what is important to them. Give them space to think. Give them space to breathe.

2. Be quiet. It is okay to not say anything. Be okay with the quiet, the pauses. Conversations do not need to be continuous and constant.

We often talk about the “power of the pause”. Often, patients and clients will fill in the quiet, the pauses. For this to happen, we need to be quiet. Reflect a comment, ask a question and pause. Give the patient time to think.

3. Be in the moment. When hiking, it is so critical that we focus on the here and now. When our mind wanders that is the time we miss a step, we get off balance and perhaps even fall. When your mind wanders, make sure you bring it back to the present.

To be truly aligned with the individuals we are coaching, we need to “be all in” with what they are saying and not saying. We want to listen fully and be totally present.

4, Have time each day to regroup. Either at the beginning or at the end of the day. In Patagonia on our tour, we all met at the end of the day to get prepared for the next day. We discussed the hike and trail we were planning to take, the time of departure and what was needed for the hike.

Take time to regroup: before the day begins, after each patient or at the end of the day. Many organizations find morning huddles beneficial so all are on board for the day.

Taking time away from our normal routine can provide clarity. After the time away, we return home to work with a renewed sense of focus, purpose and energy to make a difference in the lives of others. Along the way, we regain the joy of our work and are better able to lead others on their journey towards success.

If you know of others, perhaps your leadership team or a friend, who would be interested in learning more or receiving this and other blog posts, please feel free to forward to those individuals.

If you are interested in bringing me to your organization for a refresh training or coming to a public training, I’d love to hear from you. Send me a comment or email at beckylang@icloud.com.

Tranform Conversations. Transform Lives.
Dr. Becky Lang

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“Dr. Lang’s training provided me with a better understanding of the motivational interviewing process. The skills I learned from her training have helped me feel more engaged and thoughtful when listening and talking with those around me. Dr. Lang is energetic, knowledgeable, passionate and provides a great learning environment.”

Nancy AdrianseBSDH, Oral Health Manager, Iowa Primary Care Association

“The training I received in Becky’s motivational interviewing class was invaluable. It laid a wonderful foundation for me to effectively empower my patients to develop and implement positive changes for their health. Becky created such a nurturing, nonthreatening environment that allowed me to freely learn and practice. This is certainly a class I can recommend to anyone wanting to learn to assist others with behavior changes.”

Robin GeorgeRN, Motivational Interviewing training participant

“At the YMCA, we have worked with Dr. Becky Lang for over a decade now to help us shift and shape our culture. As an organization committed to strengthening our community, the coaching and training skills that Dr. Lang has provided have helped us immensely. With her education and guidance she has helped us establish a culture that focuses on building meaningful relationships with our members, focusing on their needs, and coaching them towards success in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Lang has trained all levels of our staff from our front line Wellness Coaches to our Executive Directors and Leadership Teams. Her on-going support has allowed the coaching-culture to come alive in our organization.”

Kim Stewart Kim Stewart Director of Operations, YMCA of Greater Des Moines

“The training Becky provided has been one of the most rewarding nursing experience I have had in 30 years. The style of interviewing and teaching patients is rewarding and positive. Her techniques drive the sessions to be more personal and patient-centered. Through Becky’s teaching, I was comfortable to practice and get familiar with the motivational interviewing process. Becky is an exceptional trainer and I recommend her training to all health coaches and educators.”

Sandy LovelessRN, Motivational Interviewing training participant

“The motivational interviewing techniques Becky teaches allow patients to set goals and work toward changes that are important to them. Patients feel in control of their own health and allow me to be in a more supportive roll. Becky has a positive and uplifting spirit that makes her classes extremely enjoyable.”

Tyra CarltonRN, Motivational Interviewing training participant

“Rebecca Lang was a respected colleague who diligently served as a teacher and mentor to hundreds of students over her long career at Grand View University. I had the distinct pleasure to work with Becky and regularly witness her vocation to Wellness education. She motivates those around her by a strong and genuine commitment to a lifestyle which promotes health and well-being.”

Katharina TumpekPhD, Professor and former Chair, Dept. of Health Promotions, Grand View University

“It has been a pleasure to work with Becky Lang over the last 25 years. Within a variety of contexts in the wellness arena, I have witnessed Dr. Lang’s mastery as a wellness educator, a health coach, a professor, and, most recently, as a health coaching trainer. I could go on at length about Dr. Lang’s passion, enthusiasm, high energy, wisdom, and deep knowledge in health promotion and behavior change. One of the attributes that impresses me most, though, is her ability to create a relaxed, fun, interactive, and content-rich training environment. Her refreshingly supportive, inviting, and empathic style of training and coaching allows learners to take risks, experiment, try on new skills, and participate authentically in role play exercises without feeling awkward and intimidated. Through Dr. Lang’s coaching and training, people learn–often more than they imagined.”

Jill NorrisRN, MPH, PCMH-CCE, Director, Care Management, University of Iowa Health Alliance