When I think about the year that now ends, it reminds me of a movie where the main character is driving blindfolded. The car keeps accelerating, and the only way to navigate is to follow the instructions given by a co-pilot that happens to be deaf-mute. The name of the movie is easy to identify, 2020 the crazy ride:)
And what a ride!
In January, I remembered to look at the calendar on the office wall and feel incredibly proud that after five years of climbing the “mountain range” Walking Mentorship, I was finally approaching the top. Programs, routes, partnerships, and participants were ultimately lined up. In front of me, I could see 12 months of much-desired maturity becoming a reality.
Then it came March, and all plans scheduled to happen were either canceled or postponed until further notice.
For some time, I hesitate between being depressed or admit that I had no clue about what was going on in the world. Fortunately, I choose the third option, which automatically took me to the road less traveled.
The incredible journey of 2020 offered me the opportunity to walk with some fantastic human beings, making it even more transparent that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
Without the possibility of being outdoors with our groups, we turned our attention to digital and online platforms. We spent most of April rewriting scripts and learning how to communicate in front of cameras. Luckily I came across just a few days before the Pandemic with a good old friend, Pedro Falé, that owns an outstanding TV studio named Movielight.
The stars were aligning again, and I guess if you do not work hard, you’ll never know how lucky you are. A month after our first recordings, my partner Nuno Fernandes and I looked like we have been doing this all our lives.
On top, we had the fortune to partner with Ana Corte-Real, Associate Dean of Executive Education at Católica Porto Business School. Together with her team, we created and distributed innovative mentoring programs and kick off the school year with Walking Mentorship experiences.
The summer was finally approaching, and the hope to go out again allowed us to do a couple of group programs: our classic Parents and Kids and a new dreamed route named Gaia. Both felt like a blessing despite all the challenges to make them a reality. I will keep the words from a young participant in my heart, saying that life was back to normal after a few days of walking.
There is hope, I thought and next year we plan to go again.
In the meantime, a new partnership was forged. Since the beginning of the health crisis, we could sense that Corporate Leaders would be in the eye of the hurricane; we were just not sure about how to contribute and help to minimize the situation. A challenge posed by Joana Proença de Carvalho, a Senior Partner at Signium, turned into what is today the program Forward. An incredible experience that mixes Walking Mentorship with Coaching. The results are very encouraging, and more companies’ requests to work with us tell us that we are on the right path.
The ride continued, and by August, we had the impression that a few years already passed by since January. Maybe they did.
Since itchy feet have a hard time staying idle, we cooperated with Movielight one step further. And launch a project that was already for some time in the hoven waiting for the right temperature. The Keep Walking With Me podcast series took us on a marvelous path with people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world and are actually changing it.
We kept a beautiful conversation (with music in the mix) with Galeo Saintz (Chair of World Trails Network), Gerard van den Berg (Founder of the x-plorer group), Dan Rubinstein (author of Born to Walk), Jane Murray (Founder of Peacebeam) and Alex Pang (author of Shorter and Rest).
You should listen in repeat, because there is so much food for thought. I am sure you will agree with me that there is hope for the world. In 2021 we will continue walking and talking with more beautiful people on our podcast.
After a specific moment, we felt that we indeed reached a tipping point. The problems and challenges around us were the same, but our response to them was a lot more positive. We do what we can, with what with have and what we know. And that is more than enough.
So, what did we learn from 2020?
- Humans have an incredible capacity to learn (again and again) and adapt, no matter their age, geography, or bank account. We did a crash course on A/B testing on almost everything we created, and we can confirm the theory.
- We were disappointed when we had to cancel so many programs. But without the tsunami that fall upon our head, we would never be inspired (sometimes forced) to challenge our way of working and thinking. We are grateful for everything that took us one step further.
- Today, we are better prepared than ever to bring our mentoring programs to anyone, anywhere. We have tested and adapted our methodology to use the best of both worlds (physical and digital).
- Change can be scary, but if you move forward without losing your purpose’s core elements, you have good chances to stay on track. Use it as a compass.
- No matter how interesting the new digital “normal” might look like, we will always keep walking in nature even if we need to carry on with our mobile phone in one hand and a couple of power banks in the pocket.
We live in exceptional times, and some of the challenges are not yet visible; nevertheless, when I look back, I am sure of one thing, miracles are just good people with kind hearts. Stay close to good people.
What is our plan for 2021? Easy. Keep walking towards the best version of ourselves.
Our next guest on the podcast – Keep Walking With Me – is Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. Alex studies people, technologies, and the worlds they make. His latest book SHORTER explains how companies all over the world, in a variety of industries, are shortening their working hours while improving productivity and profitability. You can listen to the audio version in Anchor or click the image to watch the video version.
If you are ready to take the road less traveled, check the upcoming dates on our website.
Should we walk together?
Walking Mentorship is a passion project. A labor of Love that we hope helps you gain deeper insight and equips you to create a meaningful impact in your life and the ones around you. How can we work together? At WM, we try to keep things simple by offering Individual and Group mentoring programs, see what is the best fit for you.
Keep walking with me,
João Perre Viana
Partner of Walking Mentorship
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