Spring in Munich

By Susanne Taylor

Spring is always a great time to walk around the streets. And when the weather is warm and sunny, it’s a bonus. We gathered in a lovely little marketplace called Elisabethplatz and from there wandered the streets enjoying all the birdsong, flowering trees (those with pollen allergies didn’t seem to suffer too much) and warm sun on our backs.

The group were a lovely mixture of people from all over the world: Kenya, India, Czech Republic, France, Germany. Everyone came with curiosity and a willingness to explore.

When we met back up at the local wirthaus (that’s German for “pub”) the group were still contemplative, so responses to the experience were thoughtful.

“There’s a constant fight for questions in my head. One leads to the next. The walking actually seemed to unlock them.”

“I’m looking for something perfect (job), but should I? Or maybe I should just accept it?”

As one person shared that they had intentionally gone and walked the streets given as boundaries, it inspired a thought in another. “Having boundaries without purpose is freeing – like when we were children and our parents told us to go out and play, but not to go beyond a certain street.”

Still, another was taking up a leadership position for a team that she helped to create. She wasn’t confident that she had the skills to guide them and felt the pressure to make them happy, especially since she had recruited them. After the Street Quest, she realized, “You don’t need an answer, you just do things – be an example. For me, that is just being there, listening to them and seeing what I can do for them.”

In an hour she had come to understand what many leaders I coach struggle with for a long time – that “being” a great leader doesn’t mean you are busy “doing” leadership. It’s about being present and making decisions in the moment.

This thoughtful, diverse group of strangers left the adventure still talking and walking – slowly back to the subway. Each of them had arrived at a calmer, more reflective pace, ready for the week ahead.

My favourite insight, and the one I’ll end with: “Step by step – one way or another – it will lead into a direction.” And sometimes the practice of slowing down and being mindful enables you to end up in the right spot.

By Susanne M Taylor