The way someone walks can define the gravitas they carry.
It is a symbolic predictor of their behavior — showing self-esteem, confidence, and pride. I have seen champions walk in a way that exemplifies uniqueness. Whether it is a generational founder, a star athlete, or a chess champion the walk is often the defining characteristic of an individual.
Take Beth Harmon from the Queen’s Gambit — I know I know it is a fictional story. But, the walk she carried as she rose reeked of a champion before she ever became one. She walked with her head held high, making every tap of her shoe heard — making her presence noticeable to the crowd and opponent before the match, during the match, and even after the match.
Beth also had a criss-cross walk. The left foot moved diagonally right rather than straight then the right moved the same way. The criss-cross walk symbolized the intertwining of ideas. Something that great athletes and professionals do well — always finding unique adjacencies from other fields to improve their game. Beth’s criss-cross walk brought out a feeling of prophesizing her own endless future success. She would always find ways to get better by developing new and creative ideas.
But most of all the walk was one of confidence. The walk made confidence an externality rather than a feeling. Beth knew she would win every match and the walk almost made the unthinkable always come true. I think this way of looking at confidence makes the case that one must learn to be confident before one can become a champion. Beth used to say that to her mother and it came true.
The other iconic walk is from a generational founder that made an Indian business house at an unthinkably large scale. He is a generational talent and is the master of building massive businesses over and over again — by finding hidden synergies.
This founder has a walk where his head is held high but it is slow and steady. Whether it is entering an office for a day of work, meeting children at a CSR event, or walking up to a stage to give a speech in front of a heavy-weight crowd full of formidable stalwarts the walk is always the same pace — slow, arms by side, head held high with poise.
I think this walk symbolizes the founder’s spirit of never being in a rush. Great founders always have time, they are manufacturers of time and are the masters of their calendar.
Next time you are meeting someone — observe their walk — see how they observe the world on their feet, see the pace of their walk, see how they tap their feet. Their walk may just tell you more about the person than an entire conversation.