After a few tragic deaths in her family and a shady loan shark holding her hostage, Sharon (not her real name) came to my office in desperate trouble. Her business wasn’t supporting her base needs for food and shelter, even when coupled with her part time job.
She was exhausted, at her wits end, and had spent her last few hundred dollars on business seminars that generated no immediate return on her investment, having dashed her hopes (as these seminars often do for hundreds of struggling entrepreneurs).
Breaking in compassion, my heart sighed for Sharon. She had previously run a few successful businesses, like so many of my clients now starting their second or third business. Their realization of our changing marketplace coupled with no-longer-feeling-invincible, smart, yet unappreciated-over-age-40 knowledge conspired against these worthy, yet struggling business owners.
As Sharon opened up to me about her business needs, goals and challenges and her set-in-stone reasons for her inability to achieve them, I had a crazy urge to start jumping up and down. She flatly shut down every single tactic I presented to help her rebuild her business.
Instead of jumping and screaming, I thought it slightly more rational to suggest a walk to discuss this so we could get some fresh air and discover if the environment on this sunny, spring day would inspire some clever ideas.
Almost as soon as we hit our stride, chatting about the underlying depth of pain and unfairness of Sharon’s current dilemma, we both started to feel a lifting of the horrendous dirge of sadness. We could almost see this grief pulling her business into the rut of her belief: “It won’t ever work for me again”.
We rounded a corner to the ocean where pelicans skimmed the shoreline hunting dinner, and giggled at the ducks bathing in mud puddles along our walking path.
I proposed a few options that I thought might be affordable and easily manageable to start Sharon clarifying her offerings to attract clients for building business quickly. Surprisingly, she started to become excited about these ideas which she had just ten minutes prior shut down when I had suggested them inside the office.
THE POWER OF WALKING?
I wondered: what made Sharon suddenly receptive to essentially the same marketing strategy outside that she’d dismissed as impossible indoors?
It took me a few dozen more walks to realize that taking a business out for a walk is far more powerful than any basic consultation, coaching, therapy or meeting indoors. It wasn’t just the stimuli of the blue sky vastness of our natural setting, nor simply the awakened endorphins from this moderate exercise. These walks had an impact that kickstarted the left and right sides of the brain connecting in ways they just can’t when we’re not moving bipedally (walking).
Of course, Sharon embraced the strategies I presented during our walk and even embellished ideas with some spicing of her own. She’s now viably building a thriving business she is passionate about. Many other clients have had this same response, which I’d wanted to believe was from my vast, experienced, intuitive advising.
Truth be told, the quality of my advice is the same inside or out, but clients are able to actually “embody” (pun intended) the idea about how to make changes to their business far more quickly when walking, rather than stuck with their butts in seats.
While I encourage walking to solve problems, I also know from my own experience that we all get patterned from failures when trying something that doesn’t bring wild success the first time we test it.
We learn to doubt our often brilliant ideas. We fear trying something new. We feel safer doing what we know rather than learning what we don’t. These are shared experiences with CEO’s I’ve interviewed at some of the top Fortune 500 companies, as well as solo entrepreneurs who haven’t a dime to waste. Innovation can really be fearful. When it’s necessary, action must be taken. Therefore, walking is the perfect analogous answer!
[pullquote] Walking with an experienced advisor will help you expand or corral your ideas into realistic opportunities to ensure a stronger likelihood of success. [/pullquote]
WHAT WALKERS EXPERIENCE
Each person’s issues and experiences differ, but the commonality lies in the value of expression, embodiment of ideas and letting go of those patterns that hold all of us back at one time or another. Here are a few typical experiences:
“Valuable, relevant, and surprising insights emerged during the session – I was able to implement an entirely fresh approach to promoting my business the very next day!”– Laurie C., President
“The best of both worlds: exercise and enterprise at the same time! This walk offers an expansive vista to help me dream big and targeted professional guidance to facilitate those visions becoming a functional business. Highly recommended.”– Margo Rose, Body Aware Grieving (more of Margo’s review)
“We got so much done that we couldn’t possibly have accomplished sitting around a desk. . . a clear strategy to focus to make my business and exactly what to do over the next few months.” – Uli Mueller, Executive Leadership Coach (more of Uli’s review)
“[These walks are] a wonderful opportunity to take your mind and body outside the constraints of the office and, with her skilled help, goose your outside-the-box thinking. . . [to] explore ideas for bringing in new business. I left our session with renewed enthusiasm for implementing new plans.” – Douglas Herring, Douglas Herring & Associates (more of Doug’s review)
AN ALTERED EXPERIENCE
Sure, we all know that we get better ideas walking, but the experience is significantly altered when you have a consultant break the patterns to explore fresh answers based on actual experienced results.
After dozens of clients had breakthrough epiphanies from our walking consultations, I launched this as one of our regular business services for those who are visionaries (all entrepreneurs or leaders) or those who just want some exercise while gleaning other points of view.
So far, there’s always been a spark of genius that results from our “2 heads are better than 1” Walks with Bliss.
How could a consultative-guided walk bring an epiphany to your business?
I invite you to share your ideas in comments below. Or contact us to schedule a walk in the Bay Area.