I’ve always been a hiker, biker, skier and explorer and have been fortunate to reap the benefits of communing with nature. With Earth Day, I was reminded how my time in nature has positively shaped my leadership and life.
I was also reminded of the importance of taking care of our planet so nature can continue to serve as a restorer of my wellness, a reliever of my stress, and a doorway to my greater awareness and creativity.
I’ve written a lot about the importance of goals, vision, values, mission, and pushing your limits to become a better leader and to achieve what you want in life. While those are all key drivers to lead a bigger life, they are also areas where you must expend energy.
And where energy is spent, it must be replenished. This is a key point which I know I have lost at times and where many of my clients fail as well.
In order to expend great energy to achieve, you must also restore and nurture yourself and this is where nature can play an integral part in your leadership and life.
“There is new life in the soil for every man. There is healing in the trees for tired minds and for our overburdened spirits, there is strength in the hills, if only we will lift up our eyes. Remember that nature is your great restorer.” – Calvin Coolidge
So inspired by Earth Day, I’m going to share 5 ways in which nature has helped me improve my personal leadership, refill my energy tanks, inspire my creativity and why it is critical towards leading a bigger life and achieving your goals.
5 ways nature will improve your personal leadership
1. Relieve stress
As a leader, professional, entrepreneur or a business owner you deal with great amounts of stress. There is stress in building your company, managing your team, balancing your life and staying healthy. Allowing yourself to spend even a few quality moments outside in nature will relieve the daily tension and stress that comes with high performance. So take a walk at lunch or go for a run afterwork and breathe in deeply to release the stress of day.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” – John Burroughs
2. Create awareness
Becoming aware of yourself is a critical component to personal leadership, to perform at your highest level and to obtain what you want in life. Nature has a wonderful way of holding up a mirror to who you are. In nature, you are disconnected from the world without a computer, television or radio to occupy your attention. In nature you have the time, space and place to become more aware of yourself, your thoughts and your feelings and how they impact your life. So after you take in the beauty of nature’s sights and sounds, be quiet and give yourself the gift of awareness.
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse
With awareness comes the ability to stop and truly reflect on your leadership, your life, your dreams, your aspirations and your goals. It’s a time to take stock on where you’ve come from and where you are going. Again, let nature hold up a mirror up so you can see and appreciate your talents, strengths and gifts. If you’re ever having one of those tough days, step out in nature, breathe and allow it to show you how great you are.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
4. Get inspired
You want to get inspired in a heartbeat? Be out in a natural setting and let your mind focus on the artistry of the natural world. Take a moment and see how the intricate branches of a tree grow. Look at a flower and examine the incredible color and detail. Listen to a bird’s song and hear the melody. Let nature inspire the next great idea, the next great business or the next great project. Allow the beauty and awe of nature to feed your creativity.
“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” – Aristotle
5. Improve wellness
Overall wellness is crucial to your leadership and optimal performance. Managing your mental, physical and spiritual health to optimize your ability to perform is critical if you want to stay on top. Nature has a beautiful way of helping increase and balance out these dimensions of yourself. Commit to being out in nature and allow it to restore your wellness, relieve your stress and open your mind.
Go for a run in the woods, go for a hike in the mountains or simply take a walk down a quiet street and allow your mind to settle into the sights and sounds of nature. Let your body and mind feel the elements as you cover the trail and allow yourself to fully drift into nature and feel its resiliency, power and beauty.
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran
Leave no trace
As you take inspiration from this post and go outside please be conscious and take care of the natural world. When outdoors, practice Leave No Trace, pickup garbage you find on the trail and leave the natural space better than you found it.
Nature and man are a symbiotic relationship and as nature can restore and inspire man, we must take efforts to keep it pristine and healthy.
Let nature help shape you and serve you towards leading a bigger life. A life where you goals are achieved with balance, happiness, fulfillment and joy.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir
I’d love to hear from you
Now in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you. How does nature restore and inspire you? How can you enjoy nature in the midst of daily life? Make your comment specific as your stories, ideas and experiences help us all. Thanks for being here, for contributing — for listening and for being a part of my journey.
Commit to leading a bigger life to live in a better world!