Tag Archives: Hiking

Hiking and writing

Hiking and writing are similar. You start with a regular writing practice and move on to more elaborate content afterward. One of the challenges of the writing process is that we are not always in the mood. Well, I’d like to compare it to hiking. Maybe you are not always in the mood for hiking either, but when you have been outside even for just half an hour and you moved your body, breathed fresh air you will enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after your hike, your muscles are warm, your brain works better and you can handle more stress.

With writing it is similar. Once I completed my early morning writing I feel a lot more accomplished and ready to tackle the day. Mostly those pages are random. They are not worth reading again. They sometimes just list lose ideas and connect the associations in my head. Often I express a wish or two for the next day.

I stood on the Uetliberg (that’s the house mountain of Zurich) when I noticed that sometimes we walk up a mountain without knowing where the top is. We have no clarity how far the top is and what the top will look like.

We are not sure, what we will find there. For example, I expected there to be a restaurant but I did not expect it to be so full that I would walk out again right away without even considering a bio-break. Or I did not expect a water fountain up there where I could fill my water bottle, which was helpful.

If you consider your first year on an international assignment to be an uphill hike which takes your breath away and makes your heart pound faster than a “Geigerzaehler”, then you probably cannot wait to reach the top.

From the top you expect to have a view and your pace will be easier. You expect to walk along the top plain or you could just hike down. During my last hike I noted a few concepts that helped when I hiked up. I would like to share them with you for your support. Your current challenge could be that you don’t have a job in market you don’t understand or you have started a new role or you don’t know what 2018 will bring to your current role.

Stand at a safe space and look back down

We tend to forget what we have already managed, been through and survived when we only focus on the mountain top. Once in a while allow yourself a break and look back how far you have come already. What helps here is the weekly reflection exercise I recommend in the RockMe! App. You could also just take an A4 sized paper and write down “What is better than one year ago?”. 

You still need to hike at the top

Even when you are at the highest point of the mountain and would like to walk along the plains you still need to keep moving. As a manager you will still need to deal with people’s issues, as a Global Mobility Leader you will still manage special VIP cases, as an Expat Spouse you still have to take care of your partner and children.

You might expect too much of others

Expectations and disappointments are a normal part of human nature. If you want to move away from other people’s expectations and pressures, then you could try to write down and speak out wishes instead. Because with a wish you never know if it will be granted to you. And it’s ok to make a wish related to another person but it’s not okay that you expect anything of another person.

Hiking makes your muscles sore

If you are not a fitness-freak you might feel your muscles for a few days after you hiked the mountain. I also think it is the same when we have achieved an important aim. We often feel the after effects a few months later. Sometimes it is necessary that you remind yourself what you have achieved and you could allow yourself a small celebration too.

I recommend to celebrate with a Bratwurst at the top but that’s just a small instant wish. For your new team management, new project or first year on the international assignment you could celebrate. Invite your spouse, partner or best friend to a weekend treat.

Hike on!

Angie

PS: If you feel you need time out to reflect your experience and work on your next career or life steps in a safe environment, I recommend you enroll in our RockMe! Retreat.


[tweetthis]Walking is not only exercise. It also helps you to download and sort the information bytes that your brain sparks out like fireworks.[/tweetthis]

 

Do you sometimes feel that your brain is overloaded with information and that you need to outsource parts of it in order to function? Some of us hire an assistant or get married to have another person to support us with all the little details modern life entails. Despite smartphones, apps, calendars, productivity seminars and personal optimization, we still have moments where a little error disturbs our manicured perfectionism.

 

Often in other countries and in transition we feel those little errors more. We are pushed out of our programming. Some errors are dangerous, others are just purely stupid, still others cost us a lot of money. Have you ever noticed that decisions taken under stress (or the influence of alcohol) are not the best decisions in your life?

 

I travelled on a funicular the other day and while I paid I was chatting to my mum and also making jokes. I took back my credit card and a receipt. When we arrived on top I thought the receipt would be ticket but it did not fit into the ticket slot of the machine. I saw other people had real tickets. I went to the conductor and told him that I must have forgotten to take our tickets. My mum wasn’t even paying attention. He called the person at the bottom. Somehow, this person could not remember what happened to our tickets.

 

Meanwhile, I was getting angry at myself and tears kept creeping up. I felt like a child of 10 who had made a stupid mistake. The conductor was very friendly and said it wasn’t an issue but I felt so stupid. You might have similar experiences especially when you are new in a country. Your natural ability to function and get things done is interrupted continuously. Being self-reliant and independent is a strength I feel very proud of. I hate it when I am dependent on others (one of the worst experiences for me was being hospitalized even just for four days around 10 years ago.). Interestingly, when I was younger this experience would probably have ruined my mood for the whole day. Here it was a reminder to stay humble and be alert. We were in a different country after all. Even though in South Tyrol almost everyone I met was a German speaker.

 

After hiking away for about 2 km I had forgotten the incident and focused on the surrounding. It was amazing. Beauty all over. I enjoyed light conversation, a cup of coffee and we walked on in a zig zag. Rain did not stop us. We also had a bit of trouble with orientation. I blame it on my inner state of mind. I was seeking direction but took a few turns, detours and sometimes I felt like we were going in a circle. At the end of the hike, we heard a thunderstorm coming up and while I am a big fan of facing your fears, I frankly did not need to sit in an outside chair lift with the prospect of lightning.

 

The afternoon was full of ruins, castles and churches. My mind was opened up like a beer can. I could enjoy the beauty of old buildings and wooden altars from the 14th century. The more I walked over the next two days, the more I felt that baggage dropped, puzzle pieces moved into empty spaces like Jenga stones and my strength developed from inside out. With every new walk, I gained clarity.