Achieve goals Failure Carry on: Creatively increase motivation and productivity through hiking

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Many Company want more productivity from their employees. Creative methods do more than rigid rules: For example, go hiking and test your own limits in the steep Lahn valley.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


How hiking promotes creativity and motivation

There are many creative ways to do everyday things a little differently and thus broaden your gaze, which almost inevitably leads to an increase in motivation. LinkedIn co-founder Konstantin Guericke, for example, holds his hiking meetings and prefers to discuss strategy and personnel issues. But also individual ideas for LinkedIn came up while hiking, like me told in the interview. And TV star Manuel Andrack also actively uses hiking to generate ideas and reports:

The ideas are often detours, sometimes I am literally in the Sachkgasse and the idea is not yet quite clear. Then I literally crawl to her step by step - suddenly she is there. It is also said that detours increase local knowledge, so hiking and creative processes have a lot in common. Therefore, the thoughts flow as you walk.

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Let ideas flow, overcome boundaries

Letting the ideas flow and overcoming my personal limits were also my goals when I planned my hiking tour on the 16th stage of the Lahnwanderweg. And I was immediately warned: The route from Diez to Balduinstein has only 6 KM and could therefore easily be used as an after-work hike if it weren't for two more or less steep climbs of approx. 290 m.

I have to say: I like to climb a mountain while hiking, enjoy the view, hike around on the plateau and regret every time it goes down. A route that goes up the mountain twice is a certain mental challenge for me, I have to learn to overcome my personal tolerance for frustration and to motivate myself again.

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Overcoming obstacles leads to success

In general, overcoming personal obstacles and frustrating experiences is the most important element when it comes to increasing personal motivation. This applies to hiking as well as to the job and life as a whole: Anyone who likes to do something with joy and is committed to the task is more motivated and better.

Those who only do service according to regulations do not do more than they have to. And the result inevitably suffers as a result. Motivation and frustration tolerance are essential for success. And both can be trained.

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Frustration and negative experiences: this is how it affects the brain

The results of brain research support this picture. The Göttinger Professor for Neurobiology Gerald Hüther recently explained in the interview with the Austrian ZeitThe standard why this impression is also confirmed from a neurobiological point of view: The reason for the demotivation of many employees is the negative experiences that many of us have had at work. These experiences would be permanently stored in our frontal lobe. Hüther explains in the very exciting interview:

“This frontal lobe is the area in the brain in which our so-called meta-competencies, our beliefs, beliefs, inner attitudes and ultimately the resulting attitudes are located. They determine what a person thinks, how he evaluates things, how he acts. The point is: we cannot simply change the attitudes that have arisen there. Neither appeals in the notorious Sunday speeches nor admonitions and instructions in employee reviews will really inspire employees to perform better. The inner attitude, the attitude does not change. "

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Employee motivation The managers are in demand

An aspect thatGuide Many people still receive too little attention: trying to force people extrinsically to do something doesn't help. But how can you intrinsically motivate employees? Only by replacing frustrating experiences with new positive ones, says the brain researcher. This requires, among other things, interpersonal closeness and positive feelings for the supervisor.

This is exactly what you can experience when hiking: If you have climbed a mountain once and were rewarded with blisters and sore muscles the next day, you may not try again so quickly. Unless he was rewarded with the positive feeling of a beautiful view and the adrenaline rush to have accomplished something special. Because that's exactly what drives you to do it again next time, in spite of all the pain and toil.

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Learn for leadership tasks while hiking

It shows very clearly how you learn for life when you hike, in which you rarely manage to walk around permanently on the success plateau, because you often have to master arduous climbs and rapid descents. In order to cope with this, the necessary motivation is required.

And, says Hüther, the supervisor can only achieve this himself by leading with passion, not profiling himself at the expense of his employees, and having the courage to take unconventional paths and allow unconventional opinions. Well then, dear managers, you know what to do.

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The Journey is the Goal

So my hike practically becomes personal motivation training and, fittingly, begins in Diez, whose cityscape is dominated by picturesque half-timbered houses and the high medieval Count's Castle, the oldest parts of which date from the 11th century - a lesson in persistence and long-term success, so to speak.

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My first obstacle is to find the entrance to the Lahn hiking trail and without the advice from the local boat rental company Buch I would have overlooked the narrow stairs. The GPS led me astray several times at this point. The Lahnwanderweg leads out of the city on a pleasantly shady forest path towards Fachingen. A viewing pavilion towers high above with a beautiful view of the place, which everyone immediately associates with water. The healing water spring was discovered in 1740 and has been sold internationally ever since. At this nice and quiet resting place, which I have all to myself, I linger a little and get ready for the next stage of my journey.

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Downhill and uphill - like in life

There are stairs down to the train station. Next to the Lahn you hike to the Fachinger base gallery. And then, almost at the bottom, the second ascent begins. In serpentines it is quite steep uphill, sometimes you almost have to climb. But you have plenty of opportunity to reflect on your own thoughts, because even on the holiday you hardly meet anyone up here. That only changes with the Franzosenley, a lookout pavilion directly above the Lahn, which shows the proximity to Balduinstein with its picturesque castle ruins.

Balduinstein Castle was built in 1319. The outer walls, which are up to 1,60 m thick, are still partially preserved. The foundation walls of the three-storey residential building are still standing. In the southwest corner of the castle, remains of a small tower have been preserved. Typical of the castles of the late Middle Ages, Balduinstein Castle also lacks a keep. A beautiful, quiet and pleasant place that invites you to linger and relax.

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Accessibility and food on the go

The big advantage of the Lahn valley for me is the quick accessibility by ICE from Frankfurt or Cologne to the ICE train station Limburg Süd, from here I can take the bus to Limburg or directly to Diez. The quick accessibility makes the region a good destination for day trips if you don't want to stay overnight. A little warning: if you are leaving Limburg again: the bus stop at the main station is a little difficult to find.

The Lahn Valley is a real insider tip for me: Even on public holidays, there is not much going on here on the Lahn hiking trail, especially the cyclists frolic down by the river. Diez impressed me with its old town, it invites you to stroll and stop. The medieval collegiate church with the elaborately designed grave of Princess Amalie von Diez-Nassau lies below the count castle. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to fortify yourself in one of the restaurants before the tour. My choice fell on the Nassauer Hof at the Alten Markt in Diez: a good selection of German and Armenian dishes, exciting vegetarian cuisine which you shouldn't necessarily expect. In addition to a beautiful terrace by the fountain, excellent service, card payment is possible and I could even charge my cell phone. But there are also some restaurants in Balduinstein.

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