We always walk in someone’s footsteps even when we are not aware of that

Dear Pilgrim*,

Here we go again, rolling into the new year, day after day, unstoppable. Despite the pace, let me try to slow you down (just a little) with an idea that has been around my head.

When I go out on a route I often think about the different people that before me walked in that same path. In some places it is easier to imagine the stories and events that precede our point in History. For instance, next summer when we cross the pass of the Grand Saint Bernhard between Switzerland and Italy, I am sure our group will be able to easily dream and visualize the army of 40.000 strong Napoleon troops overpassing the Alps.  

Things get even more interesting when I think about what I don’t know, or at least what is not so obvious. This is when our imagination and awareness can really come up and transform a simple stroll into a journey to the deepest of ourselves. You probably heard before the following quote:

A father said to his son: “Be careful where you walk.” The son responded: ”You be careful, remember that I follow in your footsteps.

We can replace the word father and son with many other expressions and we still keep the meaning of it. It is very hard to see the full impact of our actions, yet having a more clear conscious about it, will go a long way. 

Let me bring to your attention a couple of examples.

Think about the way you look into other people’s eyes. Can you see an opportunity to communicate an authentic – Good morning – or – I wish you well – ?

Think about your behaviour when no one is watching, can you see an opportunity to develop genuinely your character and what you really are?

We often relate the notion of footsteps to what others have done before us, but actually, we also “produce” new tracks everyday, and they are always related with the things we do. Repeatedly we end up following our own footprints, commonly known as habits. Make no mistake about it.

Everything we do matters!

One of my favourite exercises in the new version of the survival kit** is called Connecting The Dots. This is basically a moment that challenges you to identify the association between the key events of your life and understand the cause-effect relationship between them.

The outcome the participants usually experience is formed by a chain of tracks intertwined by patterns, aspirations, dreams and interests. The results are usually profound, because when you refresh your memory of your past it helps you to become better prepared to deal with your future.

That is why it is so important to be aware of the footsteps you are following. Not only the ones created by others but specially the ones we create ourselves. If you think it is time to connect the dots, join me this Spring/Summer in one of our programs.

Keep walking with me

João Perre Viana

Founder of Walking Mentorship

*Pilgrim – A pilgrim (from the Latin peregrinus) is a traveler (literally one who has come from afar) who is on a journey (usually on foot) to a special place.

**Survival Kit – It is the usual name given in each program to the Walking Mentorship methodology.

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