Great bunch at today's Campfire Catalyst for business leaders. I continue to marvel at nature's ability to support meaningful connections and creative thinking. Some powerful pledges were made. We're starting to have the conversation that needs to be had
Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash
The other day I go for an early 8am coffee with a client. The HR director of a large charity, she has kindly agreed to meet me to explain why they have decided not to go ahead with my proposal for a leadership programme in nature.
Circumstances have changed. They’ve just done a 360. It has thrown up some unexpected stuff and the CEO has decided to go with a different plan.
It’s fine, I understand. And anyway I appreciate that she cares enough to explain this face to face.
Over coffee we have a wide-ranging discussion about culture, and the challenges and tensions of an organisation that has frontline support staff and also a retail arm, with different issues, different needs, and different personalities.
And then she mentions homelessness.
That’s when things take an unexpected turn.
For some reason I’m compelled to tell her what happened the day before. A visit to a meditation class has kickstarted my on-again-off-again resolution to be more generous to the growing number of people begging on the high street.
On my way to get some lunch, there's a toothless guy sitting on the pavement by the Barclays cashpoint, as I drop some coins into his hand, I ask him how it’s going.
Last weekend a bunch of people trusted us to lead them on a blindfolded foraging walk. It was brilliant! Walking slowly from place to place we led the group to 10 edible wild plants and introduced them through touch smell taste and lastly through looking.
Reminding me of celery this innocent riverside plant looks good enough to eat. Smells deliciously sweet too. Nestled amongst edible cleavers nettles and fireweed what is it about the most poisonous plant in the UK - Hemlock Water Dropwort - that's so seductive?
The question that emerged at this Campfire Catalyst was 'what else can we do to make an impact now?' Answers and actions ranged from small to large personally and professionally. Making a difference one step at a time.
I stumbled across this heart stone on a solo sunrise-to-sunset medicine walk around Devils Dyke yesterday. Once I let go of 'the plan' good things started to happen, and I had a totally different experience. So much occurred, I'm still processing all the symbols and insights.
Much gratitude to Extinction Rebellion for being present and making waves: climate change is now higher up the agenda.
What does burnout mean for your organisation and how can you use culture change and the power of nature to help your teams to thrive instead? Here’s a 5-step toolkit to cope with an always-on world.
Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash
In a 24-hour, globally connected world, we are always-on - spending our entire lives connected to technology, with instant access to the world around us.
There are undoubtedly positive benefits to business and organisations from this state of 24-hour connectivity.
You can be more productive by managing projects using cloud based tools; you’ve got the convenience of being able to access everything you need, from meals to travel, with the touch of a button; and you can easily serve international markets during their waking hours, as working across different time zones and having staff based across the globe is becoming de rigueur.
However, it's also becoming clear that it’s not all sunshine and roses.
You may be able to have a gourmet meal delivered at all hours of the day and night, but what is this state of being always-on doing to your mental and physical health, and the health of your team?
Collaboration, impact, and purpose. How our campfires help business leaders develop a plan for the future.
In the last few months, School of the Wild has been convening groups of business leaders to explore what we can do to address global social and environmental challenges, and how to make the world a better place. Here, business coach Neil Pavel explains what he experienced around the campfire.
I have experience of this twice now after Nigel, who runs School of the Wild, invited me to attend a couple of the Leading with Purpose campfire catalyst sessions that he facilitates.
For a few hours, myself and the other people in these groups shared our stories, ideas and insights into leadership and responsibility, and about culture and the future.
Being outside has an immediate impact.
I notice how we all think and behave more-than-slightly differently. There’s an openness to the conversations, less boundaries, and lots of trust.
Having the time and space to reflect on leadership and impact with a bunch of complete strangers allows a wide range of subjects, voices, and opinions to be heard and mulled over.
Being outside has an immediate impact. I notice we all think and behave more-than-slightly differently. There’s an openness to the conversations, less boundaries and lots of trust.
Conversations that matter: culture, impact, legacy. And fireside rapping. Space Doctors team away day in the woods.
Mark and Rosie, key members of the School of the Wild team, get the woods ready before the client arrives.
#teamawayday #schoolofthewild #natureisouroffice
A visual natural navigation challenge. Can you tell which direction the bare feet are facing?
Today we're learning how the moss, shape, and roots of trees can help you find your way. This tree has a different kind of message though.
#schoolofthewild #naturalnavigation #wild #stanmerpark #treesareamazing #specialgroup
How does your organisation stay connected? How can your team have more impact and make more of a difference? Making meaningful connections and having conversations that matter to address these questions at a team building away day in the woods today.
#team #strategy #nature #business #schoolofthewild
Marketing guru and writer-photographer, Lauren Psyk, came to a Leading with Purpose campfire catalyst session. She wasn't expecting it to be so powerful. This is her story.
photo of Lauren Psyk by Saskia Nelson.
In my twenties, I was attracted by the bright lights of London and had ‘trendy’ marketing jobs with media organisations.
From an outside perspective I had what every young professional wants - I worked on partnerships with music and media brands, I got to go to glamorous events and trendy media industry parties and I had a decent enough salary to enjoy the London life.
Back then, nobody talked about millennials, the buzz word at the time was urbanites - and I was living the stereotypical urbanite life; work hard, play hard, spend hard.
Lack of purpose
But despite my initial excitement, within a couple of years it became clear to me that I had set off on the wrong path. Neither my job nor my lifestyle were going to make me happy or give me any sense of fulfilment. Life and work felt meaningless, empty and vacuous - essentially I was lacking any sense of purpose.
So I quit the media life and went to work in Government communications, on a THINK! road safety advertising campaign aimed at reducing deaths and injuries amongst motorcyclists.
My work had meaning and I felt fulfilled. I got a huge sense of achievement from the fact I was doing something with purpose, and which had a positive impact.
Eventually I left London to seek a healthier and more balanced lifestyle by the sea here in Brighton, and I started designing a career that fits around my needs and values.
More recently, I have worked a lot in the charity sector and on projects which give me creative freedom. But purpose, and doing work which has a positive impact is still a core part of what drives me.
Not your usual Friday night. Thank you @natureschildling.
#schoolofthewild #solstice #nightwalk #fullmoon #silence #notorches
Conversations that matter around the fire with another lovely group of business leaders. Noticing how nature supports creative thinking connection and deeper intelligence. Powerful stuff.
How a walk in the mountains turned into a powerful emotional experience.
It's been a deliberately slow start to the year at School of the Wild, so as we wait for warmer weather I’d like to share a curious thing that happened to me over Christmas.
I was in the Spanish Pyrenees staying near the top of a secluded valley, surrounded on three sides by high ridges.
One day I decided to do a Medicine Walk, a ceremony of aimless wandering. The idea: you set off with a question that you ask of the land, and then let go of the question and go where you feel drawn, where seems interesting. Then pay attention to what happens.
Medicine Walks are a mysterious thing, they turn the land into a mirror for your inner world, and can be really helpful in answering life’s questions. I’ve always found them to be surprising, and pertinent, and powerful.
So in the morning I head off from where I’m staying, up to a gap between the ridges.
The track is steep and it takes a while to get to the top. When I get there, out of breath, I sit for a while on a rock overlooking the valley, taking in the view.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.