Keep On Walking

Hiking Success Silhouette, Man Trail Runner In Mountains

I received an email the other day from a good friend who lives in Montevideo. He told me he had lost everything, including his cell phone. He wasn’t really complaining, he just wanted me to know he couldn’t call me.

I paused, and read the email again. I wasn’t sure how to respond. So, I thought about it and decided to tell him to dust himself off and just start walking. I told him to take a step toward something — anything — but just get up and start walking. And, I also told him, while he walks, make a choice. Make a choice to do something, anything, right now.

Oh, yes, my friend made a choice. He dusted himself off, and now is back in a positive frame of mind. He is really thankful, not just for me, but for his many friends. He is a really likable guy, who, like all of us at some time, hit a low point. But it really made me think how important it is to just make the decision to get up and start walking. To start off in any direction and be able to make a choice to do something –without judgement of whether it is right or wrong. Just make a choice to walk in any direction.

Many times, we get into a “low vibration funk”, and ask ourselves, am I doing the right thing? Maybe your boss is on you. Maybe your finances aren’t where you want them to be. And yes, yes, it happens to all of us! But, we can’t allow ourselves to wallow in it. We can pause, accept it and then… We need to wipe the “low vibration” off our brow and off our hands — as if you are wiping goo off of them, right down to the finger tips — each one. Then you stand up and start moving. Just start walking, and while you are walking, you will feel better. You will feel empowered, then you can start making some choices. (Well, it’s really just one choice, to do something!)

Many times, my own choice is very simple. Maybe I go on a hike and really concentrate on what I am grateful for, what’s good in my life. I find that starting with something positive, no matter what it is, or how small it seems in the scheme of things, is a good base to build from. Then my next choice might be writing, visiting a friend, or enjoying some chocolate — that’s really all there is to it.

Now, what if this is not just you in a “low vibration funk”, but it’s your company, your job, your family or a group of friends? Well, in my experience, it’s really the same set of tools. You get the group together, in person, and address your feelings. Talk about the fact that you are all in a “low vibration funk” and that you are bound and determined to get out of it.

So, instead of walking, you start talking. Talk about what everyone is doing that is right, really positive, and good. Build on that, focusing on just one thing that is going right, and stay there. Stop anyone who tries to bring in any negativity. Do this no matter how small the positive thing. And then keep walking forward, until the next positive thing presents itself.

Of the many turn-arounds (of both major and small companies) that I have been involved in,  this is the exercise that I look forward to the most. It takes getting all the senior management around the table and asking them what is going right? I ask them to start by describing the business they are involved in, and that usually gets everything going. And every time, there is a positive morsel that can be built on.

Now, sometimes, it is not strong enough to turn the company around, but just by focusing on something positive, the energy changes. With a positive energy, the company becomes much more viable.

These ideas are centuries-old insights, just like chopping wood and carrying water. The best example of this was when I was in Sao Paulo a few years ago for a global brand summit, and the case study that was presented was about Johnnie Walker Whisky. They showed advertisements from multiple countries, all with the same exact story, just different language and actors. This really drove home to me the premise on which Johnnie Walker has built their brand. For the last 100 years, theirs has been one of the most successful advertising campaigns across the world, because no matter what the language, the message is always the same.

So, remember, whether you are in Montevideo or Brussels, it is a fact that all of us go through ups and downs. And when we are down, the best thing we can do is keep on walking. Dust yourself off and start walking.

And when you are back in a positive vibe, salute with a glass of Johnnie Walker. Yup, doesn’t get any simpler than that!

Walk on–


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