Here I go again banging the drum of the great outdoors. In today’s article, I will be focusing on “Keeping it real” which is about being real about situations and yourself, not so much because it sounds like what a cool dude might say as a way of saying goodbye. While the current Covid-19 situation we find ourselves in is very real, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what we are currently missing out on - the outdoors - and the benefits that the outdoors has which have become even more apparent when locked to the confines of my house.
From my experience, outdoor adventure and activities offer a great platform for keeping it real. When you are gripped, uncomfortable and in a perceived risky situation, it’s pretty hard to be anything other than real. The situation doesn’t need to be anything too crazy, just enough, everyone will have their own versions of it. When you are in a familiar environment, comfortable and safe, it’s possible to put a front on and not express our true feelings.
When taking part in outdoor adventures, however big or small, I feel more inclined to speak and think openly and honestly. For example, when I’m sat on the top of a mountain with a group of people, I feel more comfortable sharing thoughts and feelings than I would when sitting around a table in a meeting space. Maybe it’s just the way I’m wired but when I think about why I value the outdoors so much; it boils down to these 3 key things:
The environment lends itself to it.
Personally, being outdoors and in nature inspires me, boosts my mood and encourages creative thinking. I seem to approach things in a slightly different way compared to when I’m in the office or at home.
The experience that gets you there.
Quite often, especially in our work at Eclipse, the way activities are set up is for development. To explore feelings and actions, work together, do something different as a group and then learn from all of these through reflection, discussion and feedback. So key learning often comes off the back of activity, a journey or project. The hardship, enjoyment and challenge of outdoor adventure is a vehicle itself for learning and development. I often attach my thinking and feelings to an experience, especially when I am out and about, on top of mountain summits, surfing at sunrise, or riding my bike through a forest.
You show up as your true self.
As mentioned earlier, it feels like there is nowhere to hide when you are pushed in the outdoors in terms of emotions and character. Often, we see true characteristics shine through in moments of hardship and challenges in life, it’s no different when pushed in high pressure or challenging activity, journeys and projects. I’m not suggesting that this is the only way to see who people really are, just that these environments offer a great opportunity for it. Roles, hierarchy and status can be levelled and your true self can shine.
Keep it real…..
Josh Williams is a Development Coach at Eclipse Performance. You can connect with him here.