The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking”. I’d tend to agree.
My newsletter, Rambling On, is as much about my love for walking as it is my penchant for a chat, so it felt only right to throw some light on the incredible benefits of walking (whilst talking) and encourage you to ramble on together (whenever it’s next possible) or solo whilst the pandemic still has us in its clutches.
There’s something comforting about ditching the conference call, stacks of paper and iPad and simply falling into step with a colleague, chatting out obstacles, difficulties or opportunities. My fondness for walking meetings has meant I’ve clocked up ‘steps’ weaving through city pavements, during unhurried countryside meanders and on occasion (during particularly ‘British’ weather days) – I’ve got to know client offices extremely well as we walk the hallways. Whatever the location, and whether I’m in the company of clients or I’ve needed a little time to work through my own thoughts – the result has always been positive.
Here’s the point I could spam you with the incredible results from numerous walking studies (and the impact it has on creativity and mental health) but there are too many to choose from, so please Google away.
Whilst lockdown has scuppered some of my favourite time spent walking side-by-side with clients, I think it’s even more important to acknowledge the power walking has to completely rejuvenate us. Walking improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue. I’m no doctor, but as the nights draw in – there’s more than a little something to be said for stepping away from the screen and taking time to move in daylight hours.
This article began with intentions of setting out a step-by-step guide to creating an effective walking meeting, but circumstance means many of us are unable to enjoy this collaborative small pleasure at the moment. So instead, I would simply urge you to plan a short route – perhaps to your local takeaway coffee spot, or even just up the road and round the last lamppost – plug in a podcast if you need a little company, reassign your zoom call to a phone call, or be alone with your thoughts. Trust me when I say you won’t regret it.
If you’re a business leader, I would also encourage you to let your team know about the benefits of walking. One of my clients recently shared his team email – a ‘daylight directive’. And I thought it was absolute gold standard leadership. Take a look.
If anyone is interested, I’m planning to run “Rambling On Goes Wild” – a two-day walking retreat for leaders of agencies and professional services businesses in 2021 (once we’re all free to do so). Please sign up to the newsletter to make sure you’re the first to know.