I went walking through the bush with a friend this past weekend and we chatted about my Camino experience and other walks we’d love to do.

She is planning a big walk later in the year and asked me how I managed my feet.

For context, I have plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis and bone spurs in both feet. My feet ache … all … the … time! My feet (unfortunately) seemed to dictate the speed of the walk.

When we arrived in Porto, our taxi driver, an avid walker, gave us the tip to walk for an hour, take a short break, and repeat this until lunch or until we arrive at our next accommodation.

This plan didn’t work all that well for us: it often didn’t line up with somewhere convenient to stop, we felt as though we just got our stride going and it’d be time for a break.

We needed to adjust the plan.

We tried a few other approaches, some more successful than others, until we landed on something completely different. We would get going in the morning and walk for as long as we could, at times many, many hours, then take a really long break. The break would be a minimum of 45 minutes, giving us time to take boots, socks and compression bandages off, and also remove tape. Let the feet and footwear dry out and rest. At the end of the break, I would apply fresh tape, pop the compression socks back on, then put on dry socks, strap on the boots and off we went. The feet felt ‘recovered’, and although our bodies had cooled we soon warmed up again.

When we engage in something that is new, it’s wise to take advice, to learn from those who have gone before. To do some research. To set a goal and make a plan. Obviously, those who’ve gone before have experiences that we can benefit from that can help us avoid making mistakes or taking wrong turns. They can help us craft a plan for the way ahead.

We also need to trust ourselves as we engage in the work, listen to what is happening in real time, then adjust the plan accordingly. Blindly following any plan at the detriment of self, others, resources is not wise.

I had many, many people tell me what to do with my feet, and we had advice on how to tackle each day’s long walk, and when it came down to it, we had to find what worked best for us in order to achieve our goal. Some of wha we did included the advice of others. The final approach we took, probably would not have emerged if we didn’t have others advice to help us get started. So it’s not about ignoring others, we truly appreciated and valued what others shared, it helped us learn and we adjusted and grew as we went along.

How fixed are you on old processes and systems? Some, will not need changing, some must stay unchanged for legal and safety reasons, but some might actually need a fresh approach that just might save time, money and energy. The challenge is not to find the plan that needs adjusting, it’s ourselves and how fixed we might be.

I’d love to know what you think.