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Follow the Breadcrumbs

by Tammi Leader
 ∙ Sep 13 ∙ 6 Min Read

It’s Campowerment expert Tama Kieves — a Harvard-educated lawyer-turned-poet who speaks inspirationally about thriving through uncertainty — who first placed the concept of “following the breadcrumbs” before us.

She shared at one of our women’s retreats: “You can’t plan an inspired life — the big life you really want. You have to follow the inspired breadcrumbs, moment by moment. Just do one thing you love, [and go from there].”

Recently, we’ve noticed, individually and together, that there are inspired breadcrumbs — so big that they’re borderline croutons (!!) — all over our shared path.

Have they been there all along, to set us on a better way or ensure we are always moving forward in some way? Maybe! But it doesn’t much matter if we don’t take the time or space to notice, or follow them.

With Campowerment, we talk a lot about the motivation we find in nature when we look up, and with every fiber of our beings, we stand by that. But there’s an irony in the dreaming big, reminding us to look down and at what’s right in front of us, to see the breadcrumbs just ahead of where we’ve planted our feet.

Through expert meditation teacher Anne Sussman’s lens, this is how we notice our bliss, how we experience a present moment by simply being in it, and as such, catch all the signs that stare, waiting for us to stare back.

We’ll buy that, but there’s more, too!

Over the past 10 months we’ve been thoroughly assessing and reacquainting ourselves with our business that doubles as our labor of love, and we’re finding seedlings of some of our brightest-ever ideas in old notebooks and Google Docs from years past. Some of those ideas we ran with over the last few years and it’s been interesting to watch the breadcrumbs lead to unexpected places.

Over the years, sprinting towards our commitment to blazing new trails, we missed a lot of breadcrumbs. We kept on keeping on because we said we would. And because we never stopped moving, we missed some rest stops, rich with breadcrumbs all over the floor that maybe could have guided us somewhere faster, bigger or better.*

Sometimes timing is the biggest roadblock to our best ideas.

One breadcrumb hidden in plain sight: This half-baked file, “Next chapters.ppt,” last edited on November 26, 2014. Back then, we quickly dreamed of taking our community “beyond the campfire,” overcoming the geographic divide to connection with a digital extension to our retreats and experiences.

But then, for whatever reasons we had at the time, we embarked on other paths!

It wasn’t until 3 years later (October 2017) that we fully concepted and launched our digital extension and belonging-based program, Campowerment Inner Circle. We certainly weren’t working on it in between. A seed had planted, then the wind blew and  we planted other seeds that we watered more. Eventually, the wind blew this one back right under our noses, when we needed a fundraising idea for our non-profit Give Her Camp. We tested this concept that we had had floating as a “one day, maybe we’ll do” kind of idea in many a brainstorm. Camper Phyllis Shinbane purchased the experience: a live, digital Circle, facilitated by Campowerment, to offer her and her friends perspective-shifting conversation, accountability and the true feeling of community.

Since 2017, 100+ women have been engaging deeply and supporting each other through important moments, big and small, month after month. The experience opened the door for us to hire our former intern (shining star Alli Romanski), and build out a leadership pathway for Campower Rangers (who facilitate the monthly Circles), who have incredible insight to unleash within a platform of intergenerational wisdom

After we launched this Inner Circle, we realized we had basically drawn up the big-picture of the experience years prior, but never revisited an idea that has rocked on, and created a whole new full-year experience for those who are bold enough to keep showing up for themselves and one another. It was always a clear path to offering that; we were just looking past it at a different horizon…until we were ready to notice!

Think about that, and do something about it by promising/daring yourself what we promise/dare ourselves:


Every day doesn’t need to be a blank slate!
We dare you to:

  • -Dig up old notebooks for the brilliant ideas you had way back when.
  • -Remember: sometimes old ideas, relationships, jobs, scenarios – came in your life too early for you to leverage them for huge growth (but – the good news is – there’s no time like the present).
  • -With that in mind, revisit old ideas and get intimate with them; see and feel if they call to who you are and what you’re up to today.
  • -Look for patterns: What are the through-lines you can find for what you’ve wanted for yourself in the past? The qualities of the people who’ve made your heart sing? Those who drive you nuts? Characteristics of situations that make you feel a certain way: from terrible to on-top-of-the-world?
  • -Write new notes (drop new breadcrumbs): what might this all mean about your next step?

Don’t try to see the whole path for all its twists and turns, take each and every turn as it comes. We dare you to: 

  • – Write out your dream for one area of your life, then choose 1 (and only 1) action that you will take right now to move you towards it.
    -Then, anticipate 1 next step you can take from there. That’s it!

If each step you take maps to your dreams, then follow the breadcrumbs you find along that path. If each step doesn’t map to your dreams, consider turning around, with eyes wide open: up and down.

. . . 

We’d be willing to bet there are signs in your rear-view that can help you notice your bliss, your successful habits, the components of your dream life (the one that feels so tough to define when you have to make it up again). Investigate for those. Find one sign — one idea — and then build, not from leveled ground but from a platform of  where you’ve been. 

Unless you were born today (in which case, happy birthday!), you have a foundation from which to build…a well of rich insights that you can learn from.

Take our dares and tell us: What insights can you glean from the breadcrumbs you’ve already dropped, when you didn’t realize anything was spilling out from anywhere?

Join the conversation here. We can’t wait to learn about your journey. 

*And “better” is a concept that breaks our dimension because “if we didn’t do X, we wouldn’t have met/found/created Y!”

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