When you work with nature you need to be able to take the rough with the smooth. Nature can be a dynamic, inspiring and enriching partner for business, for me specifically coaching and coaching supervision.
It's a trade off, it takes preparation and an acceptance that my partner in this can be unpredictable, unreliable and sometimes downright dangerous. This, to me, is a small price for the benefits to mental and physical health in conditions that are temperate and, sometimes, truly glorious.
I coach on wet days as well as when the weather is 'fair'. To me, as long as rain is falling downwards and not sideways, I'll go out. It's not for everyone and it takes the right clothing to be ok with it. I love a woodland as a baffle to lessen the effect of the rain and to provide shade on hot days. I would love to be more coastal. I'm a good way inland, but I can still find big open skies and far reaching views by heading for nearby chalk downs.
I connect with my business partner in a collaborative, immersive way with an aim to take nothing but inspiration and occasional shelter and to give back protection and support where I can.
There are a few ways humans connect with nature.
1. One Sided We can use it selfishly, which is where the resources are taken and used to benefit our lives in some way and once it is of no more use, move on to the next resource. As you can imagine I'm not a fan of this one.
2. Give and Take We can use it collaboratively, we can take from it what we need with efforts to balance biodiversity, wildlife protection and varied plant life. We can garden in a way that balances manicured lawns with wildlife friendly areas, courtyards and window boxes with pollinator friendly plants.
3. Appreciation P1 We love the view, we notice pretty flowers and the sun setting over the sea. We holiday where there are nice things to look at and maybe the sea or a lake to play in and cool ourselves. We are drawn to it without fully understanding why and recharge ourselves with nature's help at a topical and superficial level.
4. Appreciation P2 We can notice it, really notice it. We can notice the true colour palette of things, and watch the teeny tiny ecosystems in our own back gardens or the characters of the birds we might be feeding. We can watch it change through the seasons and notice what shifts in ourselves when we are taking time to fully engage our senses. We garden, we feed the birds and we might help the kids make a bug hotel. We release spiders into the garden rather than reaching for the hoover.
5. Immersive We accept that we are a part of it. Immersion is not living like a hermit in the woods. It's supercharging appreciation beyond the two stages described above. It's adding in that closer look at the plants and creatures that share our lives on a planetary scale yes, but moreover at a local macro and micro level. If we start feeding the birds, do we stop when the weather is a bit icky? We spend time in nature purposefully to notice and connect with the neighbours that share a good chunk of the same DNA. We notice the trees, the clouds and the shifts. We are protective of wildlife and green spaces in our immediate surroundings and beyond.
I admit it, I talk to the trees and the squirrels. I say good morning to the birds and feel terrible if the feeders are empty.
There is wisdom there, a peace and a feeling of calm to speak a truth knowing that these organisms have overheard many truths over hundreds of years. If they could talk, what a sense of perspective they would have. My problems can be put into scale when I consider the same trees witnessed wartime bombing. I imagine them telling me to appreciate what I have and not sweat the small stuff. I consider how I explain my conundrums to them and in the telling, often realise what I am describing is farcical and petty.
Coaching in nature works in the deeper appreciative and immersive spaces. It's recognising the space and clarity it offers, the lessons and metaphors that can be found and applied to life and business. It's noticing systems and the parallels to systems and inter-connectivity that occurs in any organisational structure along with the conduits and conditions for mutual-reliance. It's about understanding the role of the environment on the success and performance of each individual element.
I get a lot from my business partner. Nature is a diva, can be wild but also gentle, can be cruel but also nurturing, can be infuriating and inspiring. I wouldn't change it and I want to share it. I love