Sunday 24 December 2017

Purchasing Coach: Advent Window 24: Walking

25 unconventional coaching and facilitation tools to surprise and delight

"Go for a walk, you may feel better afterwards" is something we often say to someone who is stressed about a current situation.

With today's unconventional tool we take the suggestion a little further, and ask ourselves to notice things along the walk that might provide an alternate perspective to the situation we'd like more clarity about.

Aboriginal cultures have done this for centuries - with medicine walks being a feature of many indigenous cultures. It's something I've done for over 20 years in nature in my Landscaping Your Life coaching sessions, and is also taken into the streets in towns and cities globally with Street Wisdom.

What indigenous Americans would do is go on the walk, and then tell the story of the walk afterwards. Which is what's happening here - I took the pictures, perhaps thinking I knew the insight they were trying to convey, and yet a different story has emerged in the telling. A story that makes much more sense than it did when I took the pictures.

Here's my take on the insight to be taken from what I noticed (or in reality, the things my subconscious nudged me to notice) when I met my personal trainer in the local park for a PT session:

It started before I left home, with a sign post I usually don't even see making itself known.

A reminder perhaps to slow down, no need to speed. Not just when driving but in life - release the fear of missing out, and know it's all happening in perfect timing.

From the top of the hill, as I drove towards Kirkcaldy, I noticed that all the traffic lights on the esplanade were green. (I obviously couldn't take a picture).

A reminder that even at 30 mph we can make progress. It's the stopping at red lights that holds us up, not the lack of speed.

I resisted the insight from the next image for some time. I'd parked over the white line of the parking space, and as there was a park run later, decided to move the car so I wasn't taking up two spaces.

A reminder perhaps, along with the speed limit and traffic lights, that some rules are there for a reason. Rules not to be broken but kept.

So long as I felt it was me needing to listen to what others were telling me I had to do I resisted this advice. However, I realise there's a higher power to listen to and that's my higher self ie it's the promises to be me that need to be kept.

Promises to be ourselves at all times - like these trees and hedges - each unique in how or if they lose their leaves, and yet no less perfect because of that.
Which reminds me of my favourite line from The Invitation, which asks "can you be faithless and therefore trustworthy?".

Mid walk, I had reason to send a friend a thumbs up. A thumbs up for resolving something that had been hanging around for some time. Releasing something that no longer served them - allowing them to be themselves, unhindered by the past.

When being ourselves, it's important that we look out for the sign posts - the signs that tell us we're on track and what way to go next.

Signs that tell of the new adventures ahead, just like the image here proclaiming the new day to come.

Remembering that love can be found in the strangest of places.

And every race has a finish - nothing is never ending - we just have to focus on the finishing line.

Later in the day, I was talking to some extreme runners who put this local 5 km run in the park into perspective, with talks of 130 km races. A reminder perhaps that the journey/race could always be longer, and yet we only run the distance we're prepared for.

As we headed back to our cars we noticed a few elves and Santa's arriving for the run, I wasn't brave or quick enough to ask for a picture so this is a stock photo reminding us that even a run in the park can be brightened and made more enjoyable.

Do remember - I'd notice different images if I as thinking about a different situation, or even take different insights from the same images for another challenge. You may therefore notice other insights coming to mind that make much more sense to the situation you're grappling with at the moment. That's how our mind works, and why metaphors are so useful in coaching situations.

What story that you need to hear would these images tell you at this time?

Even better, take yourself for a walk, and notice what you notice. You subconscious really does want to help, and will help you find the clues you need.

Alison Smith
Unlocking procurement potential - using conventional and unconventional tools
Procurement and Business Speaker, Coach, Trainer, & Facilitator +44 (0)7770 538159

Earlier in the year I applied some of the unconventional tools shared in this series of advent posts to common procurement challenges - more here.

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