As my summer winds slowly towards August, I’ve been thinking about some of the things I’ve learned that you might find useful. (I’m assuming you don’t care who makes the best cannoli in Rovereto. Let me know if I’m wrong and I’ll send you my list of Rovereto’s Top 10.)

Three things even the fastest-paced entrepreneur can take from life in a small town in Italy:

  1. Slow down. Obviously, you don’t have to leave home to learn this, but for someone like me, who’s been trying to master the art of slowing down for decades, this trip has been a revelation. One thing that has helped is the time zone difference. Most of my clients are in the states, and most of our work is done by phone, so I really can’t start working until early afternoon. Of course, I work into the evening, but I often did that at home, too.  Somehow I’m still managing to get everything done after taking long morning rambles with the old dog and drinking coffee with the vecchi compagni who keep an eye on things in town.
  2. Explore fearlessly. One of the first things I did when I got here was get hopelessly lost in The Dolomites. You heard me right—I’m a man, I got lost, and I’m admitting it. Once I got unlost I texted my wife right away because what a revelation! It was an adventure that I’ll enjoy daydreaming about when I’m too old to get lost anymore. The takeaway here is to give up our fear of embarrassment. This can apply to business, too. Sometimes you just have to try something you’ve never tried before, because there were, and are, no roadmaps to the world’s best innovations. Great achievements are not for the timid.rov2
  3. Learn a different language. There are so many good reasons to do this. Being able to converse with people I’d never otherwise be able to talk to is immediately helpful. Learning a new language also provides unparalleled insight into a new culture. As Ann Merritt writes in the Telegraph: “Speaking a foreign language improves the functionality of your brain by challenging it to recognise, negotiate meaning, and communicate in different language systems. This skill boosts your ability to negotiate meaning in other problem-solving tasks as well.” Not to mention all the studies claiming that learning a new language can help stave off dementia.

There is so much more I could tell you, but if I only learned these three things, the experience would have been worth it.

Is there a risk or adventure you’ve always wanted to try? Or have you already taken the leap, and if so, what did you learn from it? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at

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photo credit: Scott Anderson