Thinking on Your Feet - How walking enhances your personal growth journey

The dictionary describes the term ‘Thinking on Your Feet’ as;

to have good ideas and make decisions quickly in a difficult situation’

As a ‘Walk and Talk’ Life Coach the term ‘thinking on your feet’ means so much more to me than just making quick decisions or being able to fire fight in situations. Thinking on your feet to me is a very powerful process and I have witnessed first hand the amazing transformation that people go through when they give physical motion to their ideas and plans and include their body in the thought process.

“Our true mind is actually our whole body, not just our brain” - Serge Benhanyon

So where do you do your thinking?

More often than not, we do our thinking in a seated position. It could be when we sit at a desk or in a car or on a train. Or we might be sat on the sofa with the TV on in the background. When the body is static the head mind goes into deep thought, attempting to solve problems, analyse situations or make a mental to do list. It can be almost a day dream like state and we are not usually in full control of the thoughts, as they will invariably ping pong from one subject to the next in an almost involuntary process.

The problem here is that we are trying to work everything out from our head and drawing all of our attention and energy away from the body. The body becomes merely a vessel for the brain and we cut ourselves off from the abundance of information, resource and intelligence that lies within it from the neck down.

The concept that we have 3 brains (the head, heart and stomach) has become widely known and rightly so. I think we’ve all had thoughts that we can say we feel in our hearts or have had a ‘gut feeling’.

Qualities such as intuition, creativity and compassion cant be accessed by the head brain alone. Intuition comes from a feeling, a sense of knowing that may not be possible to prove in that instant, but is something you feel and know strongly within your body. Creativity and inspiration doesn’t come from sitting in a chair and staring at a screen all day. They can arrive in unexpected ways and actually flow much more freely when the analytical brain gets out the way.

It doesn’t stop there though. Your body is full of energy centres and when they are awakened or in flow they have an impact on the way you feel. This has an impact on the way you perceive and then on the way you think and how you act.

So when you walk and talk, walk and process, or walk and plan you’re putting energy behind those thoughts, feelings and ideas and are physically and mentally putting them into motion. You are embodying the idea that to create change in your life you are going to have to move forwards from the place you are currently in. Intentions have so much more power behind them because with each step your body is in line with your brain and you are walking intentionally towards desired outcomes.

Walking increases blood flow to the brain and by moving the body. You get a rush of endorphins and dopamine which puts mind and body into a much more awakened and sharper state of being. You are able to think more clearly, have a wider perspective and connect more directly with your creative and passionate self to generate ideas and plans that are much more aligned with who you really are. The ego has a lot less opportunity to generate limiting beliefs and thoughts because your energy is elevated and your confidence and self esteem get a natural boost.

When you walk with someone else, be it a coach, counsellor, work colleague or friend, there is this wonderful sense of having someone by your side. They are walking with you and beside you with every step, so there is a sense that your journey is supported.

Having a conversation with someone side by side is so freeing as the need to make constant eye contact is removed. When you are side by side you have the opportunity to look out ahead of you into the distance. You can broaden your view and with that you widen your perspective. You are not confined to four walls, you have vast space around so it's natural for your thinking to become bigger, wider, more open to new possibilities.

When you work with a coach it's very likely that you want to create some kind of positive change or growth in your life. You may have tried to create this change alone but found it difficult to stay motivated or focused and lost track. That’s when people make the decision to get a coach, a motivator, a cheerleader, someone to be accountable to, someone to LISTEN and someone to challenge you when you begin to shrink and play small. The coaching process tends to be present & future focused, it calls you to look at where you are now and where you want to be and begin to visualise a future self and life that you want to step into. It encourages you to step into a new way of being and take mental and physical steps to move you towards your desired outcome.

You might agree then that moving through this transition whilst walking at the same time enhances the process because you are embodying a new state of being and teaching your body to move forwards in your life. Both the mind and body are in motion, your cogs are turning and your feet are moving. You are thinking on your feet and thinking with your body and the soul is waking up. All working together in wonderful harmony.

As a walking coach I wouldn’t really walk anywhere other than enveloped in Nature, because on top of all the benefits above, walking in Nature has a multitude of benefits all of its own. My recent blog on Forest Bathing explains all of this and once you understand this then walking and talking in Nature is like a super power for well-being and personal growth.

Haven't got time for it? Then you will likely continue to think in the same way and continue to produce the same results. Perhaps it's time to shake up the system a bit. Personal growth doesn’t just happen in the mind. In order for it to become a new state of being you have to embody it, experience it and live it.

So when are you going to get off your seat and onto your feet to start your mental AND physical journey towards a greater self?


I offer walk and talk programs from my home area of West Kent and in Surrey, Sussex and Greater London. I can also arrange 1 day intensive walks to kick start a personal development journey and open the mind up to new ideas and ways of thinking. Brilliant for getting unstuck, igniting creativity and inspiration. CLICK HERE to contact me for further details.

Spot of barefoot thinking on my feet…..

Spot of barefoot thinking on my feet…..