It’s well documented being outside in nature opens our minds. It’s why Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and countless others are known for their walk and talks.
One of the many benefits of being outside is having precious time to think free of distractions and interruptions. Additional benefits kick in when you share a stroll with a colleague, prospect or friend. The opportunity for a richer connection comes naturally.
Walk Your Way to Inspiration
Some of your best ideas may literally be on the path ahead. Out on a walking path is where I came up with the idea to create Harvest Summit, an innovation field trip for leaders outstanding in their fields. Over the course of many months, I walked my way to the launch where innovators of all types gathered in Sonoma County wine country to think, talk, taste and transform their respective views regarding the art, science and craft of innovation.
Taking a walk calmed my mind, sparked new creative ideas and gave me the energy to get through many a tough afternoon or to spontaneously celebrate hard earned victories. It’s hard to feel down watching the sunset or see birds fly at dawn. Walking gave me the mental stamina and fortitude to stomach the roller coaster of getting an idea off the ground and starting a successful new business.
I began to understand why Travis Kalanick, Uber founder and CEO, is reported to walk 40 miles a week on the track at the company’s headquarters in SF. Simply put, he told Fast Company it’s where he goes to think.
Walk the Talk
In creating Harvest Summit, I had to ask C-suite leaders and a diverse mix of innovators to get out of their industry silos away from the typical ballroom conference setting to spend a day outside in Sonoma County wine country to exchange ideas, foster new collaborations and stimulate their thinking of what’s possible. I had to walk the talk. I too had to get outside of my office.
I scheduled walk and talk meetings. I took short strolls before important conference calls. I made time for fresh air and invariably I gained fresh perspective.
As a result, I scheduled two walk and talk sessions at Harvest Summit and pushed the session leaders outside of their comfort zones. No stage. No podium. No power point. Thought leaders had to walk and talk. It was a tough sell but worth it. The delegates loved the interactive experience and reported having real, substantive discussions during the hour and 15 minute strolls. As an executive at Alphabet and one of my main barn speakers remarked, “Harvest Summit is bold and innovative. It is a great way to bring different types of people together from different disciplines in an incredible setting and allows us all to step away from our daily lives to think outside and cross pollinate.”
Aside from the creative and mental health benefits, walking my way to the launch of Harvest Summit was also kind to my waistline. Walk on! May you find your path.
Originally published at medium.com