2017 was a wonderful year spent developing my coaching and walking practice, meeting and connecting with people and places. Walking has become so important to me. It is at the heart of how I work, think, communicate, support others, de-stress, explore the world around me, boost my health and express myself. One of the more exciting aspects has been encouraging others to come outside and see their enthusiasm for this uplifting practice. This could be experienced walkers who haven’t walked for a long time, people who don’t normally enjoy walking and those who have discovered new ways of walking that enable them to think effectively and communicate comfortably. What does walking mean for you?
2017’s walks have been so many things: business focused, transformative, productive, emotional, uncomfortable, mindful, peaceful and noisy. Through walking I have made incredible connections with strangers, deepened connections with loved ones, moved with small and large groups and communities and spent many hours exploring alone. Here is the story of my year told through some of the key walks I took in 2017.
- Walking marathons. This summer I walked two Macmillan sponsored walking marathons. 6 years after beingdiagnosed with cancer myself, and spending many months being unable to walk very far, it was exciting and inspiring (as well as gruelling
and painful) to have the energy to walk up and down the South Downs and through the pouring rain along the Thames Path to raise money and help others with cancer.
- Self-Boss Networking Walk. I’ve explored the art, landmarks, pathways and plants of the Olympic Park very thoroughly this year as I’ve created these walks. I’ve enjoyed the alchemy of bringing together a group of strangers who walk, talk, laugh, reflect together and leave feeling connected and uplifted.
- Walking through grief. Death and grief were sadly part of 2017 for my family. We walked together as part of funeral, memorial and every day grief. It was bittersweet to use walking to move together and reflect on life and death.
- Walking adventures. London is my usual stomping ground but my walking shoes also ventured to the countryside,mountain, beach, towns, a variety of cities, Greece and Spain. El Retiro Park in November in Madrid was particularly special. Such a wonderful city and felt like the beginning of all sorts of travelling and adventure possibilities.
- Walking in protest. Threatened with further cuts, our local school teachers, parents and children participated in a protest march. As we walked we bonded as a community and joined walkers from many schools in the area. Our voices were heard and walking together we made a difference.
- Walking with loved ones. Historically I have spent many hours drinking tea or wine while catching up with myfamily. Now we walk and talk for many hours. This year I also walked with my little brother on his crutches as he recovered from a broken hip, my country mouse aunt took her first proper London walk and my Mum who resisted taking a winter walk with me, enjoyed it so much that she took on a walking marathon with us in the summer.
- Team walks. I walked and worked with a number of teams. It was a pleasure and very
rewarding to get teams moving, connecting, reflecting and creating action plans. At the end of the day, the participants look around and see their team anew and leave with an energy and focus. My favourite moments are often receiving feedback from those who were not looking forward to the day and have been surprised to find the experience really positive and useful.
- Coaching while walking. To walk alongside someone while enabling them to share their story, unwind, discover and feel a whole new sense of possibility continues to be magical for me. This year I walked all over London and beyond being part of moving conversations.