“A bit like sex. Alone works. Better with others!”

Andrew was about to admit something.

Something unsettling and game-changing.

We continue the story of the exasperated senior executive, Andrew. And how he ended up having a light bulb moment a few months later. On Day 2 of a Spring walking retreat in the Scottish Highlands.

He had been out walking. Alone.

A temporary relief from a pressured, largely indoors Christmas at the in-laws. New Year a couple of days away. And now out in the fresh air.  A near-deserted beach. Incredibly beautiful.

He called me on his mobile.

“Dave. I’m out walking. Windy as hell. But I tell you what. This wild place is making me think differently. I am not going to try and explain it because that is just the point!

“What I am noticing is that I am noticing! Really weird. Less explaining and more exploring. Does that makes sense? Bit like a rock guitarist working up some new riffs.”

“Unsettling as hell though.”

“This walk and your questions have really turned me inside out. All that stuff about activity versus achievement, and those boxes you asked me to colour in. Been eating away at me!”

“I am scared, and strangely relieved, because I think you have called my bluff as a leader. Or, you have helped me call my own bluff I should say!”

“Standing here looking out over this beach, hearing the seagulls, and feeling the wind on my face, I realise my normal horizons and senses are limited. In fact it is as if I spend all my time looking at my feet making sure my laces are tied and there is nothing on the floor to trip me up. I spend most of my time managing. Don’t I? That’s it. Isn’t it?”

I need some help”

“A bit like sex. Alone works, but better with others.”

An unusual and encouraging flash of humour, I thought.

“Not sure I can develop this conversation with my executive team colleagues yet. It’s a trust thing I guess. Reputation. Fear. What if they’ve spotted this facade, and I am the last to realise it?”

I wished him a Happy New Year and said I would get back with some ideas.

To be continued…

Dave Stewart

Managing Director, The Fresh Air Learning Company