Another meeting, another closed door, another chair to sit on. What do you notice before stepping into a meeting? Are you fired up, is your energy depleting, are you dreading it, are you nervous, will you be heard?
What if that meeting took place outdoors? What impact would that have?
Just imagine right now…stepping out onto the street with your colleague or your boss. Do you feel your body physically moving? The air changing? The temperature difference? There is a shift in your energy. Despite the distractions that there may be on the street, the conversation involves just the two of you. Notice children tend to be more open and communicative in a car then around a table at dinner, ever question why? That is because they do not have eye contact with the parent who is driving. Same with meetings.
The fact that there is little eye contact, as you watch where you walk, allows each of you to have more space to think, to be creative and to react at your own pace. When we breathe deeply, we create more space in our bodies, in our minds and more brain function. As a result, we become more efficient and are able to generate new ideas and thoughts.
The dynamics in relationships also change, as you both walk the same pace, at the same time. You are equals. There is no hierarchy or looking at each other across a desk or boardroom.
Lastly, by stepping out of offices, you simply get your heart pumping, your blood circulating and feeding your brain oxygen. Golf is a prime example of such a combination and you “walk the talk and not talk the talk.” In Russia, they offer another perspective, a type of traditional sauna called the “banya.” Everyone sits together naked, equipped with a felt hat (against the intense heat) and a bundle of birch branches (used to whip yourself to ensure better blood circulation). As the sweating begins, so does the talking. Depending on the levels of the talks, vodka accompanies the discussions and before you know it, you have reached an agreement with a towel wrapped around you, feeling re-energized and never forgetting this moment!
So what is holding you back from having you next meeting outdoors?
Budapest has just launched a new English community guide to help individuals, professionals and families live a healthy lifestyle. It is called Active8 and is full of great services that keep your body and mind sharp and fit. There are 8 easy-to-follow sections that span the full range of active living opportunities, Life Skills, being one of them.
“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.”
One evening last week, I decided to go to the Keleti train station, in Budapest, with 13 pairs of sports shoes for the migrants who were stranded outside the barricaded station heavily guarded by an army of police. What could I expect? I was feeling tense, excited, anxious and curious. Driving up to the station, the crowds were astounding.
Before coming out with my bags, I tried to scout out the Aid desk where volunteers were welcome with their supplies. There was such a mass of bodies that it was not easy to find the spot and the feeling became overwhelming. Distribution would have to be done myself. Was this a good idea? Is it safe to do this alone? Would I feel or cause any tension? The unknown was waiting.
Having walked back to the car, taken a deep breath, I hoisted my large bag over my shoulder. A group of families lying on the pavement with many children caught my attention and I asked if anyone spoke English and wanted some shoes. Their looks were skeptical. Another breath, bent down and opened my plastic bag gesturing to them that they could try them on. Within a minute, about 20 people surrounded me and together, we tried to match the correct pairs and sizes. There was no pushing, no grabbing, no yelling and as individuals found their sizes, it was all smiles and thank you.
I spoke with several of the migrants, all of whom were Syrians. They spoke good English, were kind, polite and educated. Although they were stuck at the station without any hints of what could happen next, they seemed ‘happy’ that they made it this far with their families and that the nights were ‘quiet’ without any bombings or fire shots around them. That perspective had an instant impact and again, a reminder how fortunate many of us are.
Without stepping out into the unknown, I would have continued to read or hear about the migrant’s challenges. I would have stayed with my assumptions, focused on my own perspectives, wondered who these migrants really are and maybe be influenced by what others say or judge. Having taken the initiative to go to the station, to share, to communicate, to ask and to listen, my feelings were happy, proud, and grateful for the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and get clarity. Every volunteer has that same opportunity and there are hundreds of them in Budapest, who all commit more of their time to help and they should be acknowledged.
Feel free to share your own thoughts or experiences by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(c) 2017 Anna Jankovich, all rights reserved.