We never thought that being homebound for over 2 months with no jogging or leisurely walking allowed would make us develop an appreciation for the outdoors. All of a sudden I was clocking my steps through a shopping bag clasped around my shoulder as I made my way to the local supermarket to buy food. Walking seemed to be the only way to cope with the whole bunch of unknown that we were facing.
Several months later we are still dealing with adjusted levels, social distancing, death and curfews so to boost my love for walking I recently joined a Facebook hiking group. I have been totally blown away by the pictures people are sharing from their hikes. The routes vary from province to province and of course depending on who is on the hike, each has its own personality, and I am impressed at how everyone seems to be learning from each other regardless of race. Now you are most probably wondering why I’m bringing up such an arb consideration such as race, but this is South Africa unless you make a concerted effort not to focus on race it remains a defining marker used to determine how people interact with each other. In 1997 when I started hiking at school, hiking was largely dominated by white people who used it as a leisure activity to relax and enjoy nature. I found myself continuously as the only non-white person in these groups. Fast forward to 26 years later and I see how this pandemic has allowed non-white South Africans to really express their love for nature through hiking.
Being outdoors in nature has been encouraged over being in malls and closed spaces, “being outdoors reduces your chances of catching Corona” it seems this was the prompt that was needed because people have ventured out looking for spaces to go walking and enjoy nature. Straight of the bat you can see that people are really enjoying themselves, the smiles are huge, the sweat a great indication that they are having a good workout and the sharing of the time with others in a socially distanced and open space at least is allowing them to enjoy the benefits of being around other humans.
There are also other benefits that being out in nature presents, my favourite simply being it improves your mood, studies over the years have indicated that spending even as little as 20 minutes in nature is important for improving your mood and assisting you with getting in vitamin D from the sunrays allowing you to have a sunny disposition instead of feeling under the weather. Being outdoors also allows you to get fresh air, let your thoughts run free and inspire creativity.
I could go on all day, but I would love to hear what your experience has been with being outdoors whether you just recently started or have been hiking for a few years now.
In 2019 I had the fortune of finding myself in a lecture room at WITS business school this time as a guest lecture not as a student. I was here to share my learnings as a women in business, prior to this moment I thought back on everything that has created the person who stood in front of these women about to share her learnings. What were the influences in my life? What has made me choose this particular path? What are the daily struggles I have had to work through in order to become a better person?
I found myself in a reflective state for weeks prior to this moment and I realized that I have always loved sharing, learning from each other and most importantly teaching. It’s this spirit that lit the fire within me to collect and edit the stories that now make us “Those who travel meet Themselves”. Transformation and healing involves learning from the past, present and future, opening up to possibility and allowing will to be the driver of possibility.
After I finished my lecture I had time to engage the phenomenal women who were in the room, we talked and engaged for 15 minutes before they had to return to class. I left this space fulfilled and knowing that I wanted to continue on this path to continue learning, teaching and growing together. So you can imagine in the height of Lockdown when I was asked if I would guest lecture again in this time from a online platform. I was absolutely delighted at the opportunity to participate again.
This time the topic was Gender Identity in leadership and in preparation I reached out to the wide network of women I know who have done their time in corporate and asked them for their lessons learnt. I received so much input, and I thank each and every person who contributed from around the world. Please visit the resources page to download the lessons learnt.
For 2021 I would like to put it out to the universe that I look forward to more opportunities to teach and learn from each other, no matter where you are in the world I am here if we have synergy let us create together. I AM OPEN. I AM READY.
P.S. Check out the free 75 lessons from leading woman in our resources section.
Michelle shares stories of the journey " Those who travel meet Themselves" has taken. This book has travelled to more countries than Michelle has.