the "renaissance" of walking
Being in the lockdown brings out some of the most interesting things in us.
For me, staying at home and working from there is not a new thing. I have been practicing that for a while. What I really do miss, is the face-to-face meetings with colleagues, clients and especially the travels to events all over the world, including the pleasures of interacting with many people while giving a speech.
So, my days have been a little more monotonous lately. And so have yours.
What I have always enjoyed after a long day of sitting at the desk and looking at computer screens, is to go for a walk in the woods, through streets in town or alongside the river Rhine.
You can see so many interesting things, colors and shades, see people walking by and share a smile. You hear so many wonderful and interesting sounds. You really get inspired.
I use walking for inspiration, getting my head clear and starting an internal cleaning process of which topics are really pressing and have to be solved and which are the ones that can rest for a while. My brain works at its best while walking and seems to restructure itself. Great ideas come to my mind, bad thoughts disappear.
That's one of the reasons I love golfing. Golfing combines the long walks with the ambition of hitting the little white ball with pure perfection, which requires mental strength alongside some technique. Golf is a sport that is considered to be great for having valuable in-depth conversations with the people you play with. Business can be done perfectly, while playing a round of golf.
These days I go for a walk every single day. Sometimes 4, sometimes up to 8 kilometers. Just walking, thinking and reorganizing my thoughts. Sometimes listening to a great book or podcast.
When you walk, great things happen to your body. The blood circulation is activated, and the blood cells are oxygenized optimally. The body is in movement and the brain can work so much better than while sitting down.
When we share our walk with another person (keeping a safe distance of course theses days!!), we are in a situation to discuss deeper and more thoughtfully our issues, challenges and ideas with that other person.
There is a reason that Steve Jobs used to go for a walk with people, when he had some important negotiations to do or to discuss an important topic with them.
Besides the impact the movement has to our body and health, there is another reason, why a conversation can be more constructive while walking, than sitting at a table opposite of one another: We overcome psychological barriers! When we sit down at a table, the table itself creates a psychological barrier between us and the people we want to talk to. When you walk side by side, the brain is triggered towards achieving a common goal. We are walking in the same direction, at the same speed.
As Meeting Designers we have used this principle a lot for “walk-and-talks”, when our participants have to discuss important topics throughout a meeting or event.
In smaller groups you can use the local surroundings of your venue perfectly for walking and talking. Use a nearby park, use the route between two locations, or use local attractions for walking. The participants will get inspired and create their best ideas while walking. Co-creation and workshops can be conducted very effectively this way. It always works!
So, going for my daily walks in lock-down-time I have realized something interesting
I meet more and more people, who are spending their time walking. More than ever before.
This is due to the fact, that there is nothing else to do at the moment, and just like me, people are getting drowsy within their homes and have to go anywhere not to go crazy.
But being forced to go for a walk to get away from the feeling to being locked down, people might realize the benefits of the walk itself. Some of them haven’t taken the time to go for a walk in months or even years. Among them are people, that would take the car, even if it is to go to the supermarket two blocks down the street.
It might become a new habit, for the post-corona-times.
Just imagine, if the new acquired habit would become a habit for life. How awesome would that be?? We would live a healthier life, and we would be able to rearrange our thoughts from time to time. I’m sure that would be very beneficial for great ideas and problem solving.
Let me finish here with this positive vision.
What I will do now, is to put on my sneakers and start walking.
Maybe I’ll see you outside?
Try it! You will see how it works!