Seeking wisdom from the streets

A few weeks ago I attended my first Street Wisdom event in Stockport. I’ve been inspired by fellow coach Claire Bradshaw who is coaching outdoors and taking inspiration from surroundings to support development of her coaching clients. I’ve been familiar with research showing why this is so effective, and have seen it in action thanks to Claire, and wondered if Street Wisdom might be a similar concept. It sort of is!

What is Street Wisdom?

The idea behind Street Wisdom is that you take to the streets and observe things in a different way than you might normally. You are encouraged to notice things like the shapes and colours around you, and pay attention to things that are standing out to you. You initially do this in a fairly neutral way, and after a few short exercises to develop these skills and hone into this way of being, you are encouraged to explore the streets with a specific question in mind. At this point you might focus on something that you have been mulling over for a while and you may find that things you notice on your journey inspire you to look at the situation differently or open up alternative options for tackling whatever it is you’re focusing on. Even if there’s nothing specific that stands out, taking the dedicated time to focus on whatever it is you wish to can be a very beneficial exercise and something we often don’t allow ourselves the luxury of doing. At the end of the Street Wisdom event, the group reconvene (usually in a coffee shop!) to discuss what they learnt and share any insights they wish to.

What did I learn?

I didn’t go into Street Wisdom with a particular question, but as a newlywed I suspected the question I was interested in was something to do with my relationship with my husband and what marriage meant to people. I’ve been in a relationship with my now husband for almost 15 years, and married for 5 months (at the time of the Street Wisdom it was about 2 months!). I’d been surprised to find that things did seem a little different since being married, particularly in terms of the perceptions of others. I therefore took to the streets of Stockport to first think about my own thoughts on marriage (taking inspiration from the signs for bridal dress shops and florists, padlocks, doors, and the concept of security).

Once I’d spent a bit of time thinking about my own opinion, I started asking others. I initially asked some people on the street, but they found it a bit weird (I did get a couple of interesting comments though!), so then I went to a bridal gown store (where I learnt some fascinating things about the different types of people who visit and their views on marriage) and a jewellers (where I had an incredibly insightful conversation with the staff, shared my own thoughts and experiences, and even did a bit of coaching whilst I was there!). I really enjoyed my discussion and took a lot from it, both in terms of the content and in terms of the approach.

What next?

I enjoyed my experience with Street Wisdom so much that I was inspired to offer it in my local area. I’ve therefore registered as a Street Wisdom facilitator and have organised my first event. It’s in Newcastle-under-Lyme (a short taxi or bus journey from Stoke-on-Trent railway station) and will take place in the afternoon of Thursday 14th December. It’s free to attend (though you may want to buy yourself a coffee in the latter part of the event!). For more details and to book your place, see:

Hope to see some of you there 🙂