Begin Your Journey With a HIKE

Jennifer Simpson
4 min readJan 27, 2024

Humility + Persistence = Progress

Photo by NEOM on Unsplash

Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field. Come meet me there.


In my last article, I wrote about the power of joy and play to shift us from the kind of intractable conflict that feels bad and gets us nowhere into a field of possibility where a kind of happy hopefulness invites creativity.

Whenever we sit out to learn something new, the first thing we must do is unlearn all the things that keep us stuck in our current point of view. This doesn’t mean unlearning everything that we know. It just means loosening our grip on those certain things that have us defend, resist and avoid Positions that might challenge something that we’ve won believed.

When we feel this kind of resistance rise up in us, it’s helpful to look at those places where we have a stance of arrogance or hubris that has us hold on to what we think we know over asking the curious question.

I’ve designed the KOAN method around a series of mantras that are designed to bring us back to our most creative and curious selves and the first of these is the HIKE mantra.

As we know any journey begins with a single step and HIKE serves as a reminder that, as we move from that state of certainty into a state of curiosity, there are steps to follow that can allow us to become more and more open and curious as we go.

HIKE Mantra. Feeling stuck or holding on to a solution that just isn’t working is an indication that certainty is interfering with curiosity. This mantra reminds us that no matter where we are in a learning journey, there is always a first or next step to take.
HIKE Mantra. © 2023. the KOAN method: Breakthrough Leadership for a Divided World

The first step is the shift from hubris to humility. Here we release the need to defend what we already know, and acknowledge that our piece of the puzzle is only one of many. This shift is critical to discovering breakthroughs on any topic but also valuable on the road to becoming a more agile leader, able to adapt and respond to changing conditions.

The second step is the shift from insight to inquiry. Once we have taken these first steps into a new mindset of curiosity, we tend to rapidly develop new insights about a given issue or dilemma. The trick is not to rush to closure too quickly. The…



Jennifer Simpson

An artist, poet, leader, lover, daughter, sister, and mother living in Boulder, Colorado. Owner and CEO at Integrated Work. Author of the KOAN method.