I have been a coach since Sept 2000 when I set up my own business. I have always felt so privileged to get to share in the lives of my clients and help them step forward into what they wish for themselves.
Since late 2015 I have stepped forward into a life and business that I truly love and that sees me walk my talk completely. It wasn’t easy though.
When I first had the idea of combining my passions of walking and coaching it was 2005. I started slowly, building this up as I ran down my career coaching business and then I spent the next two years pursuing 3 different strands to this walking business – one to one coaching and walking sessions; small local walking groups and training women to get fit for the growing number of charity walking challenges.
I had elements of success with each one but it did become clear that building a business around a free activity such as walking wasn’t easy. Because it’s something most of us can do, we don’t think we need anyone’s help. So I set it aside, got on with other coaching but at the same time increasing the amount of walking I did personally. One of the things I started to do for my own walking development was to walk the famous long-distance pilgrim’s path, the Camino de Santiago from the centre of France. The path from this point is around 1000 miles to Santiago.
From my very first section of the Camino, I knew I wanted to bring women out here to walk and with every step taken that vision became stronger. For me walking was my meditation, my ‘me’ time, my planning time. It was when I had my best creative ideas and through walking, I explored…not only my locality but my city and it’s always been my favourite way to see a new place. It leads me to great places to eat and drink and allows me to take photos and to write for travel blogs. It also allows me that reflection time that we, as women, do not always give ourselves permission to have.
When I burnt out in 2013/2014 walking was my sanity, it got me through. It played a major part in my recovery. One way, was how it helped my put life into perspective because when you are on the top of a fell in the Lakes or on the valley floor in Yosemite you realise how small and insignificant you really are.
Walking in nature especially, helped me reconnect with myself and establish my body/mind connection.
It has and continues to be a journey of discovery and I am now so attuned to the cycles of nature and they in turn impact so much on all areas of my life. I am a much better version of me and I wish to give that, to share that with other women.
Women come walking with me to take some time out, to do something for themselves, to step off the treadmill and I feel that giving the gift of space and time for that is so precious. Whether for a few hours, a day or a week, there is so much to be gained.
When I was walking my last section of the Camino into Santiago much of the path was through ancient oak trees. They were beautifully gnarled and twisted and I remember thinking ‘if these trees could speak, what amazing stories they would tell of all those who had walked before’. That really made me wish to dig deeper and walk on ancient paths tapping into the wisdom those paths bring to us as well as our own wisdom and into our own stories. I know from the women who have walked with me that their own stories can develop in leaps and bounds after time on the path. I am now scoping out new UK ancient paths as well and I love the way that being open and following my intuition allows my business to become more of ‘me’.
So what has happened for me to be able to add value to this free activity of walking?
Well if the Camino de Santiago or a similar walk/trek is on your bucket list, I can help you get fit to do it. I can offer fitness training and information about gear and snacks and all other aspects because I have been there and I continue to put my feet on the path.
Walking is a great de-stressor so I am able to offer mindful walking, give women this time out and together we can all share tips and strategies.
We build confidence, clarity, possibility and provide accountability to a wonderful group of women.
For me, walking is the vehicle to share, to deliver my coaching and mentoring, to be a role model and a champion.
When Judith Morgan wrote her beautiful new book My Biz My Way I was so excited to be able to contribute to this Blogfest. Judith and I go back quite a few years and I always get so much joy out of speaking to her. I am grateful for this opportunity to really think about this wonderful business of mine and how I shaped it and share what I do to help others.
My day, when possible, starts with a walk and then I get down to the office work but often I am out leading walks and my office is often the great outdoors. I use walking for my errands and as my transportation. On a walk I get to sample food and wine, to travel and to photograph so I can bring into this business, my many passions. Health, freedom and independence are 3 of my top values and I have ensured that my business embraces them or should I say allows me to honour them fully.
I hope that in this blog post, I have been able to give you some understanding of walking my talk through my business.
If this post has fired up your enthusiasm for walking and you want to hear more of my story then grab yourself a copy of my book “How Walking Saved My Life”.