What Dane learned from his 100 Streets Challenge

Our Charity Ambassador Dane Thomson was one of the first to complete this year's 100 Streets Challenge for 

Here is the uplifting Blog he wrote about his experience on LinkedIn....

The challenge which was successfully piloted in 2016 by Scotland and British Lions rugby great Scott Hastings and his wife, Jenny, was reimagined and recreated in a novel way by me for its first outing in 2017.

My 100 Streets challenge, #ImStillDane saw me walk 100+ streets over a planned route between Edinburgh, the Lothian's and Fife continuously from Monday 10th July to Monday 17th July with a strong purpose …

The purpose being on having open and frank conversations about mental health, in a fun, uplifting way with an engaging twist … I had each person I met (whether passers-by, acquaintances, close friends and family) sign my T-shirt with their name, a message or smiley face - whatever they wanted! This was to signify that they too supported open and frank conversations about mental health and how poor mental health can affect any of us.

I’m pleased to report that my challenge was a MASSIVE success! It raised 10x my beginning financial target - raising a staggering £1,070 (and STILL rising!) total for Support in Mind Scotland. The challenge captured the hearts, social media pages and £s from my close and wider Fife, Edinburgh and the Lothians loved ones, supporters (David Sole OBE) and professional circle (Arts & Business Scotland, Fife Chamber of CommerceEdinburgh Chamber of CommerceBMG OfficeThomson Cooper Accountants - to name but a few!). I am forever grateful to them all (and you reading this!) for the unwavering, continuous support. THANK YOU!

The challenge had lots of rich personal and professional learnings for me, which I’d like to reflect on and share with you now.

1)   Looking after myself is key

I am well on the road to recovery now since I wrote my last article. I feel more positive, optimistic and driven. These are the fruits from the (hard at times!) labour of me taking better care of myself. What I have learned about myself is that when it comes to a challenge, a personal or work-related project, the thing that upsets me more than anything is letting people down. I knew that specifically for this challenge, I had to make some positive lifestyle changes to possess the stamina to complete and excel these 7 full days of walks.

Live challenge example

Modifying my diet

I ensured my diet particularly that week involved me eating my '5 a day' fruit and vegetable counts. I incorporated fresh fruit for breakfast, plenty of water and time allocated for small, proper meals during the day. I noticed that on the days I strayed or had less of these, my energy levels plummeted and there were times I felt faint. I did however take a sensible approach. I took regular breaks, I replenished and then carried on. I really learned that week (and it sounds cliché) … ‘you are what you eat’.

2)   Thinking on my feet

I’ve always been a ‘think on your feet’ person. If a problem presents itself to me, I adopt an open question approach asking, “what can I/we do to solve this?” and then my mind bubbles away with ideas and I then get to work to solve the problem …

Live challenge example

T-shirt Signature cancellations/rescheduling at last minute

I was very lucky that during my challenge, there were very little signature cancellations. When they did happen (which was fine, I completely understood), I thought sharply on my feet and made full use of social media ‘checking in’ functions to let my network know where I was, how long I was there for and subsequently planned visits on the spot. Through this action, I ended up with even more signatures - some from people I hadn’t seen in years! Had I not made full use of social media, I could have been in places just wandering around aimlessly wasting time.

3)   Keep things simple – don’t do too much at once!

I’ve learned as I grow as a person and in professional experience, the simplest of ideas and things really do work the best. Why complicate things?

Live Challenge Example

#MySignatureStory

For the #ImStillDane 100 Streets Challenge, I worried that it would sound too much about me, so I created the #MySignatureStory as a platform within the challenge for people who I met to share their stories and experiences about mental health. Effectively what happened was that the conversations we had were so touching, poignant and (at times) precious, that they’ll never be shared beyond our moment on the challenge. I think that’s what made it so special and why people connect with me as well as they did. They knew they had a safe space to just talk about whatever they wanted to.

You can contact Dane at: danethomson27@yahoo.co.uk or tweet him @daneybash88