This was first published on the blog at my other business: Objectivity
I’ve never been to a gym.
Somehow, I know that the good intentions at the beginning will weaken and be scattered to the winds as real life butts in. The abandoned new year resolution is a cliche for a reason!
But I do care about being healthy.
About 15 years ago, as the grey on top advanced and the scales started to nudge upwards, I decided to deploy a new rule in my life:
Always take the stairs.
In the first year or so, I found that I needed to qualify that rule a bit so gradually I allowed some exceptions:
Always take the stairs unless:
- it’s above the 10th floor
- it means that I’ll arrive for a meeting hot and sweaty (yuk!)
- I’ll inconvenience the people I’m with
- security doesn’t allow it
When I started to travel to our offices in Poland (just over 10 years ago) and spent about one week in four living in hotels, I could really tell a difference in my fitness from the beginning of the week to the end.
I tried to encourage my family, friends and colleagues to do the same. We can all exercise every day with no equipment, no appointment and no change to our daily routine. And we’re not wasting electricity with the lift or escalator.
Gradually, some people in our business joined me and told me stories of losing weight and feeling fitter. It was all completely informal and it made me very happy to be part of the small group that took the stairs.
In the winter of 2015 one of our team (you know who you are Kat!) came to me and told me about a programme her daughter was engaged with at school. Her daughter was learning about social responsibility and how people can become the unfortunate victims of circumstance. There was a mother living with a disabled daughter and each night the mother had to carry the daughter to bed up a makeshift ladder because they had no stairs. Kat asked me if there was anything we could do to help. We decided to create the Stair Climb Challenge to raise the money so we could help them get a proper staircase
At my Christmas Party speech in 2015, I announced our Stair Climb Challenge. For every floor climbed, our business would donate a small amount of money (£0.05) to help pay for that family’s staircase.
At first, we put a flip chart by the entrance to the stairwell on each floor and asked our people to write down their achievements. We collected the sheets every day and calculated the amount to donate by hand.
In about 6 weeks we’d generated enough and decided to keep the challenge going and donate the funds raised to more good causes chosen by our people. We select a new beneficiary every month and anyone in our business can nominate a recipient.
Of course we’re a tech savvy company so before long we had our first mobile app that allowed everyone to log their performance. It meant we could have leaderboards and an element of good natured (mostly!) competition came in. Since then, we’ve had a number of iterations of that application and I suspect there will be more.
One of our clients heard about it and asked about using the idea in their own business. Of course we’d be delighted to help anyone that wanted to create their own Stair Climb Challenge, it really helps to achieve something good in our own lives and those who are not so fortunate.
Even though I’m a bit unwell at the moment, I still get as much exercise as I can and it makes me very happy to hear about the different people we help each month.
If you’d like to learn more about our Stair Climb Challenge or discuss how we might help you deploy it within your own business, please give us a call 🙂