Walking could be the key to your next business breakthrough, especially if you walk with someone side by side. The Washington Post recently ran a great piece on so-called "walking therapy" for teens: Clinical therapists are recognizing the power of walking, particularly in bonding with others and inspiring broader ideas.

Uncertain futures, unstable power, and shifting personal identities -- are we talking about teenagers or entrepreneurs? Our lives aren't that much different.

Here are some key points.

Walk side by side

According to The Washington Post, therapist Jennifer Udler "finds that teens are more comfortable walking alongside her rather than sitting face-to-face."

Think about the last confrontational conversation you had. Was it face-to-face? Likely. And did it have the results you desired? Perhaps not.

Walking changes the power dynamic. First, it establishes you and the other person as equals -- not peers, but equals. He or she may feel more comfortable being honest with you.

Second, it creates a separate focal point. You can't just focus on the conversation, or you're likely to trip over or run into something. It also helps ease the tension, particularly if you are in beautiful surroundings.

Walk to shift your thoughts

"Though there is a large body of research supporting the separate therapeutic benefits of talk therapy, nature, and exercise for mental health," The Washington Post states, "there is little research on the effect of all three together ... But there has been 'real increasing interest in recent years in walk-and-talk therapy,' which may lead the APA to develop research-informed guidelines and training opportunities."

Walking incorporates the power of nature, the strength of talking, and the wisdom of exercise, even if you are talking to yourself.

The late Anthony Bourdain extolled not only working hard, but when to put your work away. As I said recently:

You're not going to have a creative breakthrough staring at a page or fumbling at a blank PowerPoint. It will happen in the shower. It will happen when you're taking a walk. It will happen when you aren't thinking about it.

Steve Jobs famously walked a bunch, often having his most important meetings on his feet. In her TED TalkThe Power of Onlyness author Nilofer Merchant shares a bunch of walking benefits. For myself, I've found walking to be the perfect vehicle to get out of my head (and out of my own way).

Published on: Jun 6, 2019
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