The human heart is an intersection where aspirations and self doubt collide. The ultimate outcome of that struggle defines our lives. And so it is—or should be—the goal of any leadership school to help give the advantage to aspirations. Any other program is really just a camp.
Intersections are places where destinies are forged. Some are personal battlefields where conflicting emotions contend, but others are confluences where life-changing possibilities wait to be discovered. Steve Jobs use to say he lived at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts [in his case, design]. And he was able to position himself in that extremely propitious location because he had traveled some distance down both roads. Whenever you are willing to seize opportunities that expose you to new ideas, places, and experiences, you create the possibility of finding new intersections that can transform your own life, and the lives of others.
Certainly, you don't HAVE to go sailing in Europe to expand your horizons any more than you HAVE to go to, say, Africa to lend a hand as part of a service project. There are always things to see and people to help closer to home. But, like adversity, the experience of foreign travel—particularly culturally rich or spiritually rewarding travel—never leaves you where it found you. In an age when technology and high-speed travel are rendering geography increasingly irrelevant, it still remains true that different cultures, sights, and sounds can point your life in exciting new directions.
The ELS is not spring break on a boat. Yes, it can be lot of fun, but chiefly it's designed to be a challenge, an occasion to redraw personal maps. Each activity and destination along the way is a life intersection—an opportunity to leverage a disorienting feeling of "lostness" in a new environment with a sense of impressive accomplishment and wonder to connect dots that previously were hidden from view. We can't guarantee you'll always be smiling after a long, hard day on the water. But we think it's likely you could be pumping your fists. And that's really the reaction we'd prefer.