How to use nature’s nagivational tools to guide us out of lockdown

By Rosie Tomkins, author of ‘N-stinctive’

The world has benefited from amazing technological advances in innumerable ways. However, as we embark on a new phase, the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown there are questions to answer.  Questions about how we want our lives and our businesses to be and what kind of future we want for the younger generations.

In order to make the right choices we need to reconnect with our own natural and intuitive knowledge. Our reliance on “expert advice” is ever present. These experts tell us what to eat, how to bring up our children, how to organise our homes – the list goes on. We have business and leadership models and we look to medical technology to heal us and keep us healthy.

Although there is a place for this, there is also a downside; we’re in danger of losing our initiative and our natural flair. We no longer trust our own judgement.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents us with an opportunity to rethink our approach, to reconnect with nature and our inner ‘gut feelings’.

Nature can reconnect us to ourselves, a view of the immense sky and its changing colours, or the wind on our cheek – can give us a feeling of peace. The main powerful ingredient is that it takes us into the present moment so we can savour the here and now. By looking to nature, we can learn new ways of being and thinking. New ways to lead our teams and run our businesses; ways that will help us enjoy the present and may serve us better in the future.

Let’s look at the life and business navigational tools we can learn from nature, the 5 Cs:

CONSTANCY – Let nature anchor you in the eye of this storm. Consider that penguins throughout the Antarctic are forced into a situation of lockdown for their survival – every year! Their natural cycle is to maximise energy intake in the easier times, foreseeing the challenging months ahead with a well-designed plan for survival. Let’s not forget as well, that penguins survive their harsh winters by huddling together in unity and support. They endure, they survive, they thrive.

Nature’s 1st lesson: Hard times don’t last forever and together we can bear the brunt of the worst of it for the benefit of all. Don’t dwell on the bad, rather look to the future, and while we travel the road to a post-COVID world look at how you can help others and share the burden of travel.

CONSISTENCY – We’ve all heard the analogy of the ‘tortoise and the hare’. Take one step at a time, be surefooted, do not race to fake conclusions based on false information – about your work, relationships, or the future.

Nature 2nd lesson: Now is the time to be more like the tortoise. Trust in the path that you are on and that you will reach your goal, no matter how long it takes. There is no need to rush back and forth, no need to panic and make rash decisions. Stop. Take stock. Think. Trust your instincts.

CONGRUENCY – Nature has the incredible ability to keep itself in balance, adapting to new conditions. Think of the ‘urban fox’, one that has learned to thrive in a city environment.Naturally speaking, these animals are better suited to the countryside, yet they have learned to balance ‘need and survival’ to make the most of living outside their comfort zone. Mankind can learn from this by seeking alignment, unity, and harmony with the world around us. Whether that’s keeping our business afloat, or connecting with family, or learning to live with the constraints of lockdown.

Nature’s 3rd lesson: Seek toembrace the world and situations around you. Don’t fight them or wallow in the apparent unfairness of a situation. Instead find ways to adapt and inevitably you will learn to thrive in that new environment, no matter how ‘unnatural’ it may feel.

COURAGE – This is embodied by the hatchling that flings itself off a mountaintop with the hope that it will fly. This tacit knowledge is passed down through generations. The young bird doesn’t need to be told it can fly, or taught how to fly, it just has the courage to leap with the inherent confidence that everything will be ok. Imagine having the courage to trust our natural instincts more often, instead of always seeking external validation?

Nature’s 4th lesson: Take inspiration from nature to build your courage and trust your natural instincts. By all means take baby steps first (rather than flinging yourself off the cliff) and trust that your confidence will grow with every step.

COLLABORATION – That is to say, collaboration over competition. There is of course a great amount of competition in nature, whether it be for food, security, or a mate. Yet nature’s ability to collaborate is one of its greatest assets. Imagine the classic mutualistic relationship of a plover eating leftover food scraps from inside the mouth of a crocodile. The competitive food chain dictates that the crocodile should eat the bird at the expense of any other benefit, yet it doesn’t. Instead it allows the plover to clean its teeth and reduce the chance of infection. Natural oral hygiene!

Nature’s 5th lesson: Consider the value of collaboration for mutual benefit. This is particularly important through the current global economic downturn, when we are all seeking the same goals. Collaboration over competition will often help us find a sustainable solution for the future of our business.

Nature gives us inspiration and a compass to guide us out of the current circumstances. Using the compass we can find a different way forward for our own lives and our businesses, and create an improved future.  Of course, there will be difficulties along the way but the 5 Cs can help give us the strength to succeed.

Rosie Tomkins is founder of the Natural Capital Consultancy and author of ‘N-stinctive’, an inspirational book that introduces an alternative to traditional leadership training by unlocking the power of the natural world to provide strength and confidence to people who are shouldering huge responsibility.

Rosie’s clients include the GB Olympic hockey and England rugby teams, the NHS and multi-national companies in the airline, engineering and pharmaceutical industries.

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