I first came to Asia in 1992. My visit included a stop in Tokyo and then on to the Philippines in Metro Manila. On the way home I passed through the old Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong. It was a memorable airport because the runway approach flew us between apartment buildings. I could see people doing their laundry and preparing meals.
I don't remember if it was then or a year later when I passed through Hong Kong again. But that time, Hong Kong became my city. To me, "my city" means a city where, in the midst of discovering it, it discovers me. I come alive in these cities. I have other cities that are my cities: Detroit, Nashville, Seattle and London. Each time I go to these cities, I discover something new. And I become more of who I am as an explorer. These cities bring my work alive, and my perspective becomes sharper because I have been there.
As an explorer, I've learned the importance of discovering the essence of an opportunity. In every expedition The Exploration Group undertakes we seek to identify the core DNA, the essence, the core of the organization and its thinking. A recent expedition allowed us to dig back to the core of an organization which started 20 years ago. In this expedition we reached back to the point where we uncovered the foundation of who they were in their essence. And in this rediscovery, they are becoming who they are more than ever. More mature, more wise and more thoughtful as an organization. By living and doing the essence of what they are, they can accomplish what they are built to be for today.
As I walk the streets of Hong Kong it is not the same city I visited 20 years ago. Much has changed with the handover to China and new construction. At the same time there continues to be energy on the streets. There is a lot of new and old to discover and there are opportunities all around.
As I ponder Hong Kong and who I am, I end up digging deeper and ask questions like, "Why did these things happen? How did these things happen? For what reason do they happen?" And in the bigger scheme of things, "What does it mean to make a difference in this place?"
As an explorer, yes, I want to know what happened in the past, but I cannot live there. We must understand the essence of who we are for today and each day, each month, each year and bring that alive to make a difference. In that practice we discover the essence of what it means to live, to create and what it means to make a difference in the fullness of life, not only where we live and work, but in a bigger sense to flourish for the glory of God who created us.