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 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.
Jill Woolf is the Managing Director of leading PR, marketing and communications consultancy Chimera Communications.
She is also a Vice-President of Brighton Chamber, a mentor at the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator as well as the University of Sussex Business, Management and Economics School and the University of Brighton Business School.