Facilitator José Gonçalves

Meet José Gonçalves (Portugal)

Life Sharing Purpose

My name is José, I’m 58 years old and always had an enormous curiosity for everything. Being a marine biologist, doing research and teaching at the university was one of my first dreams that came true. When I achieved it, things started pushing me into another direction, and I moved into the corporate world starting as a trainer and developing my skills as a salesman. Innovation was always following my actions whether developing new processes or creating new strategies. I have spent the last 20 years as a country manager leading a team in a multinational healthcare company.

My professional life has given me the chance of learning many tools, such as: coaching, NLP, communication and body language, systemic constellations, Toyota Production System and more. Curiously some years ago in one of the communication trainings, I was introduced to LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. I remembered playing with LEGO® bricks as a child, being fortunate that my godparents gave me boxes of LEGO. I could spend days building, always creating something. But I lost sight of them during my professional career.

Back to the Bricks

During that training, I was completely caught by the bricks again. It felt simple and at the same time it included so much. My curiosity of how to learn about this LEGO approach couldn’t be stopped, so I immediately started looking for how to learn it. Again life was gentle on me, finding exactly what I needed: a training course in Madeira, Portugal. I’d like to add that I was fortunate to meet Michel Cloosterman. Those days were really a confirmation that LSP was a simple tool and yet so powerful. It helped me during the last years working with the team and find new strategies to the challenges we went through.

Santiago de Compostela

The LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method turned out to be more for me. It also became a great tool for individual coaching. After all these years of working, I decided to stop my actual job and created the chance for reflecting and find a new way. With that decision, I became fascinated at the end of 2021, to walk the way of Saint James. This is a millenary pilgrimage from France across the north of Spain to Santiago de Compostela.

And since things never come alone, dates started coming. But I didn’t have the proper equipment nor any experience of hiking. And there were ‘helpers’ that made it possible. From the stores’ attendants to friends of friends that gave me hints and strength to go ahead.

On 26th February, 2022, I left Lisbon for Saint Jean Pied de Port where I would start the way. Me with my backpack, expecting to walk over 800km without knowing where I would be staying in each stage, not knowing what kind of ground I would find, and not knowing if the weather would snow, rain, hail, be cold or sunny.

The Reflection Phase

The days in Saint Jean already made such an impact on the decision of going ahead until the end, that even on the worst days, not arriving in Santiago was never considered. During the pilgrimage, there was a person that would help on something that I needed or giving me a message or a simple sign that I was doing the right thing. I also believe that I had helped others too.

At the start, for a rookie hiker, it was hard to finish each stage. I had to deal with body pain but also my mind wanted to give up. Nevertheless, the goal was so ‘engraved’ that I always found a way to keep going.

Facilitator José Gonçalves

There were so few things that I needed every day. For instance, I literally sent home half of what I brought in my backpack and eventually got myself a smaller one. There are lodges along the way and although many of them were still closed after two years of pilgrims not coming, I always found a place to stay. The best moments were when I had the chance of sharing with people I met on the way. I experienced the greatness of humankind at its best. Some days – and I would call them ‘angels’ – someone would just appear at a certain moment and help me get to the place I had planned for that day. And finally, they would follow their path and I would continue on mine.

New challenges will appear

On 30th March I arrived at Santiago de Compostela, my anniversary. Therefore, also a great day of being thankful for the many blessings I received during the pilgrimage and through my life. The opportunity of choosing and experiencing these life-changing moments, makes you humble, brings you back to who you are and what you stand for, your authenticity, not being judgmental, breathing the sense of freedom, and just being there for another without being imposing, just being, and a servant of that moment.

These values help me now on my way to the next tasks in life. Most certainly these values stand for me as a facilitator for LSP. And my next task is already there for me.

Download the article from the magazine here

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