I recently had the opportunity to have a one-on-one with adventureprenuer Ben Southall about his corporate team-building adventures to the wilds of Mongolia… which I was lucky enough to be a part of in 2019 and excited to be co-hosting in 2020!
Ben is the founder of Best Life Adventures and has a wealth of experience in global travel, physical challenges and out-there adventures. Check out the following interview with the amazing Ben Southall as we dive deep into the incredible adventure that is – Breakthrough Mongolia.
John: Of all the places in the world, why choose Mongolia as a destination for this program?
Ben: There’s something magnificent and mystical about Mongolia. It’s one of those far-off places people always dream about visiting but never get to, and that’s exactly the reason we’ve decided to make it the destination for the first of our Breakthrough series. If you’re going to challenge yourself and learn to think differently, there’s no better place to do it than in this winter wilderness.
John: Who is Breakthrough Mongolia aimed at?
Ben: The program is aimed at business leaders, innovators, key decision-makers, start-ups and entrepreneurs, especially those who feel they’ve lost track of where they want to go or need a kick-start to implement the changes required to succeed. Maybe they’re stuck in a rut and don’t know what to do next, are just starting their own business and need a plan, need to dive deep into their strategy with a clear mind or just want to challenge their thinking. Surrounding yourself with other like-minded creative adventurous minds is a great way to channel your thought process and build executable plans for the future.
John: What can they hope to get out of it?
Ben: At the very least, Breakthrough Mongolia helps participants improve their mental resilience, physical stamina and increase business connections through the vehicle of adventure. During our time in the country, we venture far from the madding crowd, disconnect from the digital world and embark on a week of physical adventure, personal development, business workshops and mindset coaching. Our mentors and facilitators come from a number of different backgrounds and have all been successful in turning their passion projects into fast-moving, profitable, balanced businesses. Their insights, lessons and learnings form the foundation for a week of personal and business development.
John: Do they need to be fit?
Ben: Not especially. Breakthrough Mongolia requires a moderate level of fitness and all participants need to obtain proper and detailed medical advice and checks from a certified medical practitioner at least two months prior to travel. We’ll be riding mountain bikes for a few hours – mainly downhill, jumping on local horses for a morning (no previous experience necessary) and trekking for a day to the top of a local mountain so you need to live and love an active lifestyle.
John: Who is involved in helping these business leaders achieve their goals?
Ben: Because Breakthrough Mongolia takes a multi-pronged approach, we have experts in physical adventure, personal development, business workshops and mindset coaching on board.
There’s me and you, of course, as well as peak performance guru Aaron Birkby, of Peak Persona, who helps participants get the best out of themselves and Anthony Willoughby, founder of the Nomadic School of Business, who uses the insights and lessons learnt from traditional nomadic tribes to help participants reflect on their vision and focus and what it is that really matters in life.
John: What’s the schedule for a typical day?
Ben: Each day we awake with the dawn and embark on a feast of adventures that will test the mind through personal and business challenges whilst immersing us in the traditional Mongolian culture, and physically as we journey through the local landscapes and varied terrain.
John: Has there been an element of “culture shock” for previous participants?
Ben: Arriving in a new country for the first time always delivers a slightly uncomfortable feeling, but it’s also a great way to break down hierarchies within a group when everyone is thrown in at the deep end! It can be slightly confronting when we stay on the floor of a local farmer’s Ger (yurt tent) with the family and there’s no common tongue, but sign language and a big smile overcomes this. It’s usually a source of more laughs than embarrassment.
John: Are there any “breakthrough moments” or highlights you recall from previous trips?
Ben: It never ceases to amaze me how much clarity someone can get when they put themselves into a different situation and remove the distractions. Change fatigue is real in business so the ability to invest in you and your business is absolutely invaluable for your future success. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone, exploring different ways of looking at things and welcoming new insights, will provide the clarity and focus needed to empower your strategies and plans to reality.
John: What’s been the feedback from previous participants? How has the experienced changed them?
Ben: I think if you asked all of the past participants on our last Mongolia adventure they would say they were firstly amazed by the experience itself but secondly amazed by how relevant their learnings in Mongolia were for their normal life from both a personal and business perspective. The connections made with the other attendees were unexpected but rewarding and ongoing.