Use Nature As Your Compass For The Journey Out Of LOCKDOWN

By Rosie Tomkins, author of ‘N-stinctive’

Technological advances have brought myriad benefits to mankind. However, around the globe COVID-19 and the lockdown are challenging us with important questions. Is our modern way of operating what we really want? Will recent experiences have a long-term positive affect on our way of living?

Whatever we decide to do in the light of our ongoing experience of the pandemic, and our answers to such questions will have a long-lasting effect, particularly on our younger generation and future leaders.

In order to make the right choices we need to reconnect with our own natural and intuitive knowledge. Our reliance on “expert advice” is ever present in all aspects of our lives and careers. These experts tell us what to eat, how to decorate our homes and how to bring up our children – the list goes on. We have leadership models or archetypes, we follow rules and often observe constraints that no longer serve us, we look to medical technology to heal us and keep us healthy, and we take courses on how to manage people.

Although there is a place for this, there is also a downside; we’re in danger of losing our initiative and our natural flair. We no longer trust our own judgement.

The pandemic provides an opportunity to rethink our approach, to reconnect with nature and our ‘gut feelings’.  We can learn new ways of being and thinking from nature. New ways to develop our business and lead our teams; ways that may serve us better in the future and help us enjoy the present.

Let me share The Five C. These are tools from nature to help us navigate life and business:

  • CONSTANCY – Let nature anchor you in the eye of this storm. Consider that penguins throughout the Antarctic are forced into lockdown– every year! Their natural cycle maximises energy intake in the easier times, foreseeing the challenging months ahead. Penguins survive their harsh winters by huddling together. Those on the outside are quickly rotated into the middle of the pack to ensure that no individual has to constantly bear the biting wind. They endure, they survive, they thrive together.

Nature’s lesson: Hard times don’t last forever and together we can bear the brunt of the worst of it and benefit all. Look to the future. While we journey to a post-COVID world help others and share the burden of travel.

  • CONSISTENCY – We all know the ‘tortoise and the hare’. Take one step at a time, do not race to fake conclusions based on false information – about your work, relationships, or the future.

Nature’s lesson: Now is the time to be more like the tortoise. Trust in the path that you are on and that you will reach your goal. There is no need to rush back and forth, no need to panic and make rash decisions. Stop. Take stock. Think. Trust your instincts.

  • CONGRUENCY – Nature has the incredible ability to keep itself in balance and thrive by adapting to new conditions. Think of the ‘urban fox’. Naturally speaking, these animals are suited to the countryside, yet they’ve learned to balance ‘need and survival’ to make the most of living in cities. Mankind can learn from this by seeking alignment, unity, and harmony with the world around us. Whether that’s keeping our business afloat, or connecting with family, or living with the constraints of lockdown.

Nature’s lesson: Seek to embrace the world and situations around you. Don’t fight them or wallow in the apparent unfairness of situations. Instead find ways to adapt. You will learn to thrive in that new environment, however ‘unnatural’ it may feel.

  • COURAGE – Picture the hatchling that flings itself off a mountaintop. Tacit knowledge is passed down through generations. The young bird doesn’t need to be told it can fly, it has the courage to leap with the confidence that everything will be ok. Imagine having the courage to trust our natural instincts more often, instead of always seeking external validation?

Nature’s lesson: Take inspiration from nature to build your courage and trust your natural instincts. By all means take baby steps and trust that your confidence will grow as you proceed.

  • COLLABORATION – meaning collaboration over competition. There is a lot of competition in nature, whether it be for food, security, or a mate. Yet nature’s ability to collaborate, even between species that would naturally be at odds with one another, is one of its greatest assets. Imagine the classic mutualistic relationship of a plover eating leftover food scraps from inside the mouth of a crocodile. The competitive food chain dictates that the crocodile should eat the bird at the expense of any other benefit, yet it doesn’t. Instead it allows the plover to clean its teeth and reduce the chance of infection. A truly natural form of oral hygiene!

Nature’s lesson: Consider the value of collaboration for mutual benefit. This is particularly important through the current global economic downturn, when we are all seeking the same goals. Collaboration over competition will often help us find a sustainable solution for the future of our business.

We can find a new way forward with nature as our compass. As leaders we can implement a new and better future. Of course, the road won’t be entirely smooth, but by learning from nature and taking note of the lessons that animal provide: staying the course, helping others and having courage, we’ll emerge stronger, with lives and businesses that more closely align with our dreams for ourselves and the people we love.

Rosie Tomkins is founder of the Natural Capital Consultancy and author of ‘N-stinctive’, an inspirational book that introduces an alternative to traditional leadership training by unlocking the power of the natural world to provide strength and confidence to people who are shouldering huge responsibility.

Rosie’s clients include the GB Olympic hockey and England rugby teams, the NHS and multi-national companies in the airline, engineering and pharmaceutical industries.

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