Replace The Dreaded Debate with the Adventure of a “Conversation Safari”

Last fall we took an African Safari. Prior to leaving, several friends, raved about their safari experiences, claiming that it was their most epic vacation, and numero uno on a list of several destinations.

When I asked why… One friend said it was because of the animals.

Interesting. I LOVE animals, but I’ve been to the zoo and and wildlife parks. How could simply being in Africa create an epic vacation?

Once we were on our safari I realized that:Anticipation - Giraffe Almost got it...

  • In both the zoo and the wildlife park – You arrive whenever it’s convenient for you, but it may be after the animals have eaten breakfast, played, and are resting. (Which isn’t nearly as exciting as it could be.)
  • In the wildlife parks – You don’t know what’s coming, but you drive in a car with the window up and look at the animals.
  • At the zoo – You have a map and signs to follow, so no matter how magnificent the animals are, you know what’s coming next.

In Africa:

  • We were up early – to be out when the animals were moving.
  • We drove in an open jeep. No doors, no windows, no roof – nothing to limit our view or our experience.
  • Each time we turned a corner we had absolutely no idea what we’d see. …Maybe a dust cloud, maybe one giraffe, an entire herd of elephants, or a new baby zebra.

We felt like kids that were on a grand adventure as feelings of anticipation, curiosity, awe and joy bubbled out of us – each time we discovered another group of animals in their natural surroundings.   …Playing, eating, exploring, and even roaring.

Instead of a difficult dialogue, imagine having a “conversation safari” with someone that doesn’t agree with you.

Several years ago I had lunch with a lady that had recently been asked to serve on the same board I had been asked to serve on.

For more than an hour we talked about the current state of the organization, the needs we had identified so far, the things we were trying to understand and figure out, the challenges we were facing and what we needed to do about them.  She was brilliant, witty, passionate and fully engaged in our conversation.

As we both prepared to head back to our offices she observed that although we had worked through the entire lunch, she felt like we were kids that had just had a play date. 

She was spot on!  We’d been like curious children exploring “what was” and “what could be”.  Our brains had been challenged, our passions ignited, a friendship was forming, and we were solving problems!

I have frequently written about current issues that cause division and need solutions:

Instead of difficult dialogues:


  • Climbing into open jeep, instead of a car with the windows rolled up.
  • Driving without a map, knowing you will enter unknown territory.
  • Risking feeling vulnerable, so that you can feel like a child that is exploring, discovering, learning and filled with joy.
  • Being curious instead of judgmental – And talk about what that roar means, why that elephant is in the road, which animals are predictable and which ones are not, and if that vulture is good or bad…
  • Anticipating that this adventure will delight you, challenge you, build relationships and lead to real problem solving.

Sound like fun?  Then begin seeking others that don’t believe everything you believe and invite them to have an adventure with you!  

Want more on this topic?

Do you have the courage to let them speak their truth?

Image Credits –Vacation Photos Kapama Game Reserve


President, Giana Consulting

Chery believes that:
• Anyone can be a leader.
• Everyone knows something that the rest of us don’t.
• We all need to leave our workplaces, communities, nation and world – better than we found them.

Those beliefs caused her to instigate change from every position she ever had and continually provided opportunities to lead system-wide change from the middle and the edge of organizations.

Her faith and my firm belief that leaders need to walk their talk were the reasons she agreed to move to a part of the world that she once feared. As an expat she embraced daily opportunities to meet and learn from people that represent the nations in our world.

Today Chery is The Founder of Giana Consulting, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

She leverages true leadership stories and expat experiences to inform, inspire and emphasize life skills that cause her clients to be more energized and productive.

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3 thoughts on “Replace The Dreaded Debate with the Adventure of a “Conversation Safari”

  1. I love this Chery! I’ve always found that looking at life as if it were an adventure is a very positive way of looking at life in general. Again, it’s focusing on the journey rather rather than the goal…and while we need goals to give us direction, we miss the point by ignoring the journey itself…