I’m not being melodramatic when I say that Fresh Walks has changed my life. So much good has come out of me going on these networking walks in the Peak District.
I’ll admit for my first walk back in July 2015 I was super nervous as I walked up to Glossop Station to join the group. I was used to holding my own at a networking event, but that was always with the safety net of:
a) being able to escape whenever I wanted
b) having a nice dress and make up on to hide behind
But going on a 12 mile hike meant I couldn’t slip off if I got bored or didn’t like the people. And I was in sports gear. Not how I wanted to meet people I might potentially do business with.
However, I quickly got over myself and got involved. Petting dogs accompanying the group was always a good distraction when I was at a loss for conversation.
It was a gloriously hot day and we did a big circular route up into the hills and back to Glossop.
I met truly fascinating go-getting people, and the group was alive with energy and laughter.
There were many wonderful outcomes to that day, but one of the best was meeting my friend Helen Dibble. Helen runs her own marketing company and we found we had a lot in common and she’s since been a big influence on me starting my own business.
Although it’s not exclusively an event for freelancers and small business owners, the majority of people were. I loved the drive and passion of the people I was meeting who were in charge of their own destinies (for better and worse sometimes). It planted a seed for me, I wanted a piece of that freedom and it helped me to be very confident later in the year when I decided to take voluntary redundancy from my job of ten years.
I have been on eight Fresh Walks in total – in sunshine, torrential rain and snow. I even sampled the new Fresh Walks in the city version which is packed into a lunch break and is led by a tour guide. I did the historic and rather beautiful ‘Ancoats and Angel Meadows’ walk.
And as I launch my new business as a social media coach I know Fresh Walks will be a great source of support, inspiration and business opportunities. And thrown into the bargain I get beautiful scenery, exercise and a good sprinkling of endorphins.