I am an avid runner. For me, running is as much a mental exercise as it is physical. I find that I do much of my best thinking and problem solving on a run. In fact, I think that my time spent running is when I’m most creative.
I have a bit of a problem though; I can be a creature of habit. When I find a favorite restaurant, I tend to go there pretty regularly. When I find a favorite item on the menu, it's not unusual for the waiter to know what I’m going to order before I say a word. While I absolutely love trying new things, it often takes a conscious effort to break a rut that I get started.
Being that creature of habit has recently started affecting my running, at least in terms of my “thinking space”. So, I will share what I mean, and you may find it a little peculiar - maybe this is a therapy blog : ).
I tend to leave “thought deposits” along my training routes.
What in the world is a “thought deposit”?! Obviously, it’s a term I made up, but I feel it is very accurate. When I reach very specific places on my running routes, I am immediately reminded of a previous breakthrough or idea that struck me at that exact spot.
At the foot of one hill, I had a specific idea for our sales system. At one particular intersection I always recall a specific blog idea developing. Down one stretch in a park, I am reminded of a prospect strategy. At one particular turnaround point, I always think about my dad. It’s weird. It’s like those thoughts now reside there and just wait for me to come by for a visit.
While I always enjoy reliving those ideas, thoughts, and breakthroughs, my running route has become a bit cluttered. Which, unfortunately, doesn’t leave me any room for new ideas, thoughts, and breakthroughs. So, it’s time for me to clean out my thinking space, break out of my running route rut, and add some new routes. I don’t know what ideas are out there, but I look forward to finding them.
What about you? Where do you go to do your best thinking? If you don’t have a place, find one. If you do, make sure you keep it an inspiring, fresh, and uncluttered thinking space.
Photo by Kate Ter Haar.