Alptitude- Where did all the hierarchy go?

As with most great ideas, Alptitude runs on a relatively simple premise but requires that bit of je ne sais quoi to make it work. This is where the remarkably gifted guys and girl from the Happy Start up School step in to take care of business. Or unbusiness. Or something like that.

The idea; take 25 people from around the world who want to approach their business/ career/ life from a values and purpose driven perspective. Then, from a superlative chalet set in an outlandishly pretty valley in the Alps, get said 25 hanging out for a week and set up a massive tepee in the garden to provide a gateway to Entrepreneurial Narnia. Add a seminar here, a few hikes there and then top it with a sprinkling of white water rafting and some mountain biking. Pop it in the oven with some guidance on tantra then allow to cool gently with some fresh behavioural theory. Serve with a dollop of tree climbing. The result is a week of self discovery, directional clarity, original thinking and the beginning of 25 new friendships.

How does it work each day? Well, if you fancy it, you can get zen with a bit of mindfulness/ yoga/ pilates before sitting down to an exceptional breakfast. There you can opt for something healthy or go with something more “typique de la région”- big buttery pastries (sorely missed in a world full of muesli).

After getting it on with a couple of croissants, you head to the tepee for the day’s enlightenment. The group plays and reflects on various ideas through talks, workshops and collaboration on a heap of topics that ranged from defining and realising personal objectives through to learning about different workflow patterns, behaviours and management structures; a consistent theme of gearing things to make you and your stakeholders happy, fulfilled, values aligned and purposeful.

What I loved? The group decides what to cover- it’s good-bye preacher, hello Priesthood of all believers! The guys and girl at the HSS really listen to everyone’s ideas, where people are at and what they can offer. With the deftest touch, they put a loose plan together for the morning and through their alchemy you find yourself magically engaged on topics and being part of conversations that meet you exactly where you are and with people who are in the same space. A space that’s as safe as it is joyful, one that encourages openness and rejects judgement. Really really good stuff happens.

If you missed something you wanted to hear? Don’t worry! Just ask Manuel to give you a crash course on the effective use of Lean and Agile theory when hiking up a mountain. No probs!

Missed the bit on the entrepreneurial life cycle? Fine! Just pin down Jeroeme on a mountain bike (figuratively) and ask if he’d mind running through it again. Of course he doesn’t!

Want to be inspired? Talk to A-N-Y-O-N-E there and ask them what brought them to Alptitude and where they’re at. You learn to listen properly and find seemingly normal people with deep wells of integrity, courage and vision.

So what else happens? A shitload frankly. At lunch and supper you share great food and wine and have wildly good conversations on both the serious and not so serious side of life. At night you jump into a hot tub and tell stories you probably shouldn’t, dance like a person at a blind disco and conceive ways to make the sauna ever hotter. You sleep well. Afternoons are typically spent propelling yourself up and down mountains in a variety of ways — some civilised, some requiring a more philosophical attitude toward health and safety. But you can do as much or as little as you want. There’s really no pressure. But in truth, this isn’t even touching on what happens. it’s the conversations, reflections and deep bonds that are formed between all this that make the week so special. It’s incredibly unique.

So what’s the objective? Well, that’s the beauty. The objective is whatever you need it to be but I suggest not coming with a fixed mindset– just turn up with the intention of being part of the group, being positive, connecting with yourself and not being afraid to share. If you do, you’ll come out the other side feeling like someone just pressed the reset button, your confidence restored, some genuine clarity on where you and your business is or needs to be and a really exciting group of friends to bounce new ideas off and keep you on track. That’s what I got anyway. Best time I ever had….

For more info on the next Alptitude visit

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