Heather Waring is a One of many™ certified women’s coach and owner of WomenWalking:WomenTalking. She started her business in 2016 and it has since gone from strenth to strength. Heather helps women through her coaching sessions and walking experiences.
Each year Heather and a select number of her clients embark on an epic journey of self-discovery whilst walking the famous Camino de Santiago. This one-of-a-kind walking & coaching experience allows Heather’s clients to truly focus on their own needs and rebuild their confidence.
Hi Heather, thanks for sharing with us. In one or two sentences, tell us what your business / organisation does?
My business takes women on transformational walking experiences along ancient paths. The space and time provides women with the opportunity to re-discover and re-connect with their true selves and to re-ignite that spark that had got lost. We tap into the wisdom and stories of those who have gone before and in turn to our own wisdom and stories.
What drove you to start doing this?
I got into walking as a student in Scotland and in 1999 I did a walk along the Great Wall of China. I trained myself and a friend spending at least one weekend a month in the lake District. At the time I was in a challenging place at work and walking was my escape saving my sanity and allowing me to put things into perspective. When I returned, I wanted to keep walking and the more I did the more I reaped the many benefits. At last I found an activity that worked for me.
In 2006 walked the Inca Trail and in 2008 decided to start the Camino de Santiago. I couldn’t do it in one go, due to having a young daughter so I decided to make it a 1000 mile walk and start in Central France. It took me 9 years walking a section a year to complete and it got beneath my skin. I burned out in 2013/2014 and was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue and walking played a major part in my recovery. It makes my soul sing and it helped me find me.
I had always wanted to take small groups of women walking on the Camino and that’s what I now do. I look after them, providing this space and time for them so that they can give to themselves. There are deep conversations, tears, laughter, mindful walking, quiet, growth, great food, amazing scenery and history. My burnout was the greatest gift I could have been given and now I get to give to others and to let them see that they can come through and out the other side an even better version of themselves and having found themselves again.
Who do you help, and how do you help them?
I work with women who are 50 plus, who are wondering if this is all there is? They are often at a cross roads in life due to a health issue, redundancy, divorce, health issues etc. My women though, are not willing to settle for second best. the women I work with see that there is so much more ahead and want a life they love and that lets them be their true self and lights them up.
In working with me and leaving the demands of home, the trauma and drama they is often at home, they have permission and give themselves permission to focus on themselves. It’s hard at first for many but in the small groups everyone supports and has each others best interests at heart. There is love and caring and sharing too.
One of my ladies summed it up beautifully in these words –
“The Camino allowed me to focus on myself, which is something that I am rarely able to do as a wife, mother and employee. As a wife and mother I am responsible for keeping my family afloat. As an employee I am responsible for keeping my team afloat. But no one is responsible for keeping ME afloat! I felt like I was drowning before this trip, and now- after 1 week of focusing on no one but me- I feel rejuvenated, refreshed, and more present in my life. I am beyond thankful for this wonderful opportunity. “
As a coach, coaching is available prior to the Camino Experience or after and I also offer shorter 3 day Walk Experiences, one day walks and coaching programmes, all of which have an element of walking contained in them.
What impact have you been able to make through your work?
Women increase their confidence and self belief and take leaps afterwards that they wouldn’t have taken before. e.g one woman decided that she wanted to become a voice over artist and is now pursuing that. One took early retirement. Others step away from the workplace and set up their own business and for many others they now see that they have a voice and bring that into their dealings with others both at home and out-with.
What are some of the biggest myths or misconceptions you encounter?
It’s all downhill now that I’m over 50.
I’ve left it too late.
Who’ll want what I have to offer.
So much of it is lack of belief in themselves so a great deal of the work is mindset.
How long have you been focused on your business / organisation?
I set this business up at the start of 2016 and it’s been growing since then. Things continue to evolve and for me it’s all about providing the best service I can to my clients so much so that those clients want to go out and tell others all about me and what I do.
What have been your biggest challenges in that time?
Belief that I could make a business out of this. Belief that people would pay what it costs.
Every-time I run a Camino Experience it is even better and people are now asking for UK walks too as they don’t want to go to Europe. I have increased my costs ensuring great value and that everything is fully covered and I have stood strong in this.
What have been the proudest moments in that time?
Seeing women increase their mileage and fitness in their training and then out on the trail in France or Spain rise to the challenge and achieve. But also support and bring others with them, such is the power of a small group.
When clients tell others ‘you have to do this’ and when they come on walks and it opens them to whatever they find. I love to introduce women to walking and to parts of their own city that they never knew.
Being asked to write a chapter for a book about the Camino My Camino Walk #1 and for it to become an international best seller. I am now a published author.
What keeps you going when things get hard?
Close friends who get me.
Going for a walk
Giving myself a talking to and reminding myself of what I have achieved.
What sort of support do you have in place to keep you moving towards your goals?
I have a couple of close friends; a mastermind group who meet every 6 weeks and who go away for a 2 day Christmas break every year; my tribes of Boldheart and One of Many; my husband and daughter.
Do you have featured content anywhere that you’d like to share?
I’ve recently made some appearances on Podcasts which you can find below.
What knowledge might you share with someone starting out?
Build yourself a support network as everyone needs one.
Don’t put off investing in you because you will go further faster with a mentor and tribe.
It will be hard at times but tune into your intuition and trust.
Where can people find out more about you and your work?
People in London and the South East can sign up for the Netwalking Women walks.
My Camino Walk#1 is an international best selling book which tells my story and those of 19 co-authors as we walked the Camino de Santiago. It’s available on Amazon or directly from me for £5 plus £2.50 p&p. Email me on email@example.com
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After moving to Bangkok on a whim in 2012 Brett became involved with a variety of non-profit organisations. A self-taught marketing, design and technical expert, he returned to the UK and uses his varied skill set to help good people do more good.