September 25, 2017
Every day I try to walk four miles. I usually aim for first thing in the morning, so I am at my desk by 9 am. But sometimes, due to deadlines, I take my walk at lunch or around dinner. Though I was a runner all through my twenties, an injury forced me to switch to walking and I have come to enjoy my walks. I don’t get the same rush of endorphins as I did with running, but walking has its own benefits. It’s good for the heart, keeps the legs, butt and hips toned and in good working order, and it keeps my brain in shape. I get some of my best thinking done on a walk. In fact today, it occurred to me just how similar my walks were to my approach to work and life. Let me explain.
- Pain – Sometimes, when I am walking, my foot or knee or a toe will start to hurt for no particular reason. No injury, just a sudden pain. By your late forties you come to expect some unexplained, generalized aches and pains in places where before there were none. And you carry on. So, I typically ignore these tinges and keep walking. Sure enough after a few minutes, the pain goes away as suddenly as it appeared and I am fine again. This happens in my work, too. It’s not all butterflies and sunshine. There’s some pain to it occasionally. I find that when I don’t dwell on the pain, but rather move through it purposefully, it does not slow me down or keep me from my goal.
- Trips – Another thing that happens on my walk more often than I’d like to admit is that I trip. Sometimes it’s the curb or something in the sidewalk, and sometimes it’s just me tripping on my own foot. Once the flush of embarrassment passes, I laugh and keep going. Tripping, or making a mistake, is inevitable. We can’t avoid all the twigs in our path and we won’t always see them in time to avoid them. It’s not whether you can prevent the trip, but rather, how you handle it as it happens and the time immediately following. I try to take a moment to note why it happened, so I don’t do it again. Dwelling on a little trip is useless and can ruin a good walk, or a project if you let it.
- Greetings – The last thing I do is make eye contact and greet everyone I pass. We’re in a community together, so it seems right to say hello or good morning. I am always surprised when people, usually runners, don’t acknowledge me. I don’t know why they don’t, but I try not to think about it and I still say hi to them. I feel the same way about networking. The whole point is connecting. Like the people in my neighborhood community who become friends and keep me safe, having a work network does the same. It inoculates me against dry spells, keeps my spirits up and teaches me things. I feel as though, that’s why we’re here – for no other reason than to connect with each other.
What parallels can you draw between your workouts and work?