Getting a different perspective with like-minds around the fire was worth the investment, and got me some great new clients, says PR and communications consultant, Jill Woolf
When I saw the email come through from the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator for a ‘Mentors Go Wild’ event set in the great outdoors in Stanmer Park, my first reaction was “They’ll never get me in wellies round a camp fire!” I left the email in my inbox and carried on with daily life.
Something about it must have resonated though because I was drawn back to it and reconsidered.
As anyone who knows me well would expect, my initial concerns were over shallow (I prefer the word ‘practical’ – it’s all about personal branding) things like what the weather would do to my hair, and what would be the best thing to wear.
Having assuaged my doubts on these, I focused on the benefits – spending time out of the office, getting back to nature, learning new things, looking at issues from a different perspective, sharing with strangers who didn’t know me and therefore would respond with potentially fresh ideas and views – and suddenly the idea seemed delightful.
No email, no mobile phone, no interruptions for a whole morning. A focus on my own thoughts, plans and ideas. Learning. Listening. Interacting. Sharing. Helping others.
And so I booked myself on, found my wellies and joined in.
The weather turned out to be beautiful. The group included an interesting mix of mentors and entrepreneurs, and we duly divested ourselves of our inhibitions, real-world mobile connections, and handed ourselves over willingly for whatever was coming next.
The morning was a heady mix of discussion, foraging, exploring (mentally as well as in the woods), and coming together of minds.
I had already decided that if I was going to go to the event, I had to open myself up to it and join in with everything, which I did and so did everyone else. It was fun, welcoming, friendly, collaborative, meaningful, and unexpectedly special.
I saw that spending time just ‘being’ outdoors is essential to our wellbeing, and that taking time out (literally) to smell the coffee and be in the moment is life-affirming and fun. That being ‘grounded’ is so important. That we all have doubts, issues, fears, ideas. And that the group dynamic of the day was key to exploring all of those.
I reconnected with mindfulness, which can be pushed to one side with the busy pace of things.
Our everyday life means it’s so easy to get sucked in to achieving everything on our to-do lists and planning activities for the next day/week/month/year. Getting away from all of that is so important.
No, actually it’s essential.
I went away feeling light and happy, invigorated, more ‘alive’ than usual and more connected to my fellow mentors from the Entrepreneur Accelerator.
Unexpected outcomes for me also included a new client from the group for whom I did some very successful media work, and who then introduced me to two potential new clients - so the benefits are still coming.
If you’d like to find out more about Creative Campfires for Business Leaders, or how School of the Wild can help you or your team, get in touch here.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.