'Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.' Albert Camus
May is National Walking Month. I love walking - it is one of the key ways that I process thoughts and ideas. My most recent walk tackling the Seven Sisters, the clifftop walk up and down the coastline, cleared my mind and gave me a sense of perspective. It made me remember how essential walking is to wellbeing, particularly if it's away from the busy city and the distracting lure of wifi. In ThinkWell, we talk about ways of releasing stress and in every single session, a young person has mentioned walking. Walking is amazing and I'm not sure how I managed to forget its restorative power. I'm so excited about my re-found passion that I'm talking about walking. A lot.
I used walking poles for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I'm so enamored with them that I'm always looking for an opportunity to talk about them. Did you know that walking poles make it 30% easier to scale hills? Brilliant! And they have natty clips. Luckily, I've discovered that lots of friends are walking fans as well which is ideal. Walking with other people is intimate. I have had conversations while walking that never would have happened over dinner. In walking, silence seems to work and the sound of steps is therapeutic. I think walking brings us back to basics- it's one foot in front of the other- when other things in life are challenging- those of us who can, always have footsteps. I have just set up a social walking club, Foot Forward, that thinks of that idea of how walking propels us, physically and emotionally. If you're interested in joining then we meet first Saturday of every month, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
But, there are of course, other ways of walking. The kind of walking being described by Albert Camus. So along with my chatter on actual walking, I have also been reflecting on how many incredible people are walking besides me. Since we launched ThinkWell in January, I have been privileged to meet with a range of talented, inspirational people. From civil servants to NHS staff, to actors and data experts, graphic designers and teachers. In every case, I have been touched by how many people are not only willing to walk besides me but to take the altogether braver choice of walking beside Pixel Learning. We are a start-up- this is exciting- it means that we can be agile and innovative but it also brings an element of uncertainty. Embracing uncertainty is scary - walking beside a start-up is to overcome the very human desire to keep safe and stay with what you know.
I am endlessly touched my how many truly brilliant people are involved in Pixel Learning- take a peek at the Team page for some stellar biographies. A couple of weeks ago, the ThinkWell team went into an academy and worked with 180 young people. There were 6 workshop leaders and 2 therapists with sessions running simultaneously along with a film crew. I was observing and was truly impressed by the professionalism, passion and panache of the team- not only as individuals but as a group. One of the absolute perks of my job is seeing how kind and supportive the team are to each other as well as the young people. It can be very lonely as a Managing Director but I am proud to have the privilege of an exceptional team walking beside me.