Need a new way to build connection with people you work with?
With friends or family? Looking for a way to combat Zoom fatigue?
Take a Serendipity Walk with your team, colleagues, family or friends!
You can do it in-person OR virtually!
Let me tell you about my first Serendipity Walk
I belong to a global community of facilitators called NeverDoneBefore. One morning last fall, at 7am EST, I went on a walk with new facilitator friends and colleagues from around the world. We were joining from Maryland, Amsterdam, South Africa, the UK, Norway, Singapore, and a few other places I can’t remember.
Our facilitator for the activity (and creator of this unique Zoom experiential workshop), Lily Higgins, led us on a 45-minute walk where we connected with nature, our surroundings, each other, and ourselves – both personally and professionally. She helped us notice things about our surroundings, and ourselves, we might have never noticed before.
We started with a check-in from our homes on Zoom – simple 4-minute pairs in breakout rooms, each answering the question “How are you? … Really?” It’s the “Really” part that makes you think, really think, about how you are feeling in the moment. The responses can get real and go beyond “I’m fine, how are you?”
After the check-in, we put on our shoes, coats, hats, and/or whatever we needed to have a safe and comfortable walk in our own neighborhoods. It was about 35 degrees Fahrenheit in Maryland where I live. Some folks were walking in 90 degree weather and others were walking in near 0 degree weather. Some were in the city and others were in very rural areas.
We were all on Zoom on our mobile phones. We began with cameras on – showing our respective neighborhoods – showing something interesting, something unexpected, or something colorful. Then, we all put headphones on, put ourselves on mute and turned off our cameras, placed the phones in our pockets, and simply listened to the facilitator guide us on our walk.
We even attempted to walk in sync with each other.
(Try this sometime – with someone you’re talking to on the phone. Stop walking. Now put your feet together. Next, take a step with your right foot, now your left foot, now right, and so on, as someone calls out the cadence “right, left, right, left”. Try to stay in sync with your friend(s). Imagine walking with 10 people who are in other parts of the world, walking in unison with you.) It was fun to imagine that the folks on the other side of the world were walking upside down from me in this round planet we all live on!
What a great way to use Zoom differently!
And a wonderful way to connect with each other. This activity can increase engagement in any meeting – virtual, hybrid meeting, or in-person!
Take a Serendipity Walk with YOUR team or a group of friends in various locations.
Come up with your own prompt questions to guide the walk – here were a few of the ones from Lilly’s walking workshop:
- “Think back on yourself one year ago. If you feel like mostly the same person, in the same place, turn right at the next intersection. If you feel like a different person, turn left.”
- “Find a place on your walk where you can lie down, but not a conventional place that was designed for lying down, but an unconventional place – maybe even the ground. Now lie down if you can do it safely and look up at the sky. Think about how it feels to do something unconventional, to be spontaneous, to do something others might think odd if they see you. How do you feel and how might you do something unconventional or spontaneous to spark new ideas for yourself or your work?”
- Stop for a moment. Turn around – all the way around. Look all the way up. Look all the way down. What is something you see that you have never noticed before? Why do you think you noticed it today when you’ve never noticed it before?
Make it your own by creating your own questions!
And then create a few questions that will start leading people back towards their own homes – and at the end of the walk – or in the last 5-10 minutes of the allocated time, reflect on what people’s experiences were. What did they notice? Were some of the prompts more difficult than others? Why/why not? Did anyone have any new ideas? Did anyone have any feelings or thoughts they might like to share?
Create your own prompt questions to make this your own! Find ways to connect it to the group you are walking with – your friends, your team, your family, etc.
For me, it was a wonderful way to start my work day and to feel inspired and energized to tell you about it! And everyone gets a little exercise!
You could try this in-person or on a Zoom call. Then tell me how it went!
(Image by Anna Palinska from Pixabay)