Are you struggling to find new ways to motivate your work team? Are you brainstorming a marketing strategy or quarterly plan and feeling fresh out of new ideas? If so, it may be time to take a step outside.
When people think about adventures in the great outdoors, they probably disassociate those activities from the daily grind of the corporate office. Many people don’t realize, however, that nature can teach the most essential life lessons, especially when it comes to business. That’s right—from an overnight white water rafting trip to a days-long hike up a steep mountain, nature is an underrated mentor when it comes to business.
If you are a business owner or leader who is looking for new ways to collaborate and innovate with your team, consider taking a trip to the Rocky Mountains or Yellowstone National Park. The fresh air may not only help you out of your creative rut, but it can also provide inspiration for better collaboration and communication.
From my experience, here are four lessons Mother Nature can teach you about business:
1. Learn how to adapt quickly.
Many industries are in the midst of major shakeups right now. Business professionals, especially leaders, need to know how to adapt to change as quickly as possible in order to stay on top of changing needs and trends. By its very essence, nature teaches all who enjoy it how to respond to unforeseen circumstances. For example, if a tree has fallen and obstructed the trail you’re following, you must find another route. Or, if it starts to rain, you may need to explore creative ways to seek shelter. Business, like nature, can be chaotic, so it’s important to be flexible and stay humble.
2. Put “waste not, want not” into action.
If you went camping or hiking with a limited food supply, you probably wouldn’t waste any food or materials. Like expert outdoorsmen, great business leaders avoid wasting resources at all costs. They know how to work within a budget, and if there is a surplus, they allocate those resources to another need or project. They can assess current resources and make them last, which is especially important in shaky economic times.
3. Gain a new perspective.
Have you ever hiked to the very top of a tall mountain and looked at the world below you? If so, you probably gained a new perspective. Enjoying these activities in nature can help you see things differently when you are stuck on a problem at work that seems difficult or impossible to solve. If you are facing some type of professional obstacle, perhaps it’s time to look at the problem from a different angle to find the right solution.
4. Appreciate small details.
When you take a sailing trip or venture out to see a waterfall, you may notice a stunning sunset or a rainbow where the light glistens in the cascading water. These seemingly simple things can enhance your time outdoors and cause you to pause in gratitude. In business, it’s easy to get so busy that you forget to say “thank you” for the smallest things. Taking the time to notice the simple details in nature can encourage you to pause at work and recognize the things your employees or colleagues do exceedingly well that make a huge difference professionally.
While it may seem difficult to draw parallels between the typical workday and an excursion outdoors, Mother Nature can teach you many valuable lessons. It doesn’t matter if you are outdoors for a few hours or a few days. All you need to do is take a step outside, look around, and listen.
Contributed to EO by Patrick Sipp, the owner of Flying Pig Adventures, who helps his clients get back outdoors, where the spray of the river, the warmth of the sunshine, and the immensity of the world around are clear and present. Patrick is a family man who has turned his passion for the outdoors into a gateway for his guests to experience an adventure unlike anything else.