During my final year at Occidental College, I was invited by my academic advisor to go camping in Yosemite with a group of other Exercise Science classmates. Since I had never gone camping before, I was a bit nervous about the prospect of answering the call of certain excretory processes by squatting in the woods, as well as the idea of sleeping in a sleeping bag on the cold forest floor in a tent. It turned out that my concerns were unfounded, because my advisor chose a campsite at Upper Pines, very close to restrooms and showers, and the sleeping bag which I borrowed was incredibly cozy, comfortable and warm.
We went on our camping trip in April of 1992, and though we were rewarded with relatively sunny but brisk days, the evenings were quite chilly, and we also experienced sudden torrential downpours during a couple of very random points during our trip. The landscape was ostensibly breathtaking, and the hikes we went on were strenuous and fun. We also had a great time cracking jokes while eating breakfasts and dinners back at the campsite. On one particular morning, we were all eating our breakfasts, when a sudden heavy downpour of rain befell us. Instead of us running for cover, every single one of us remained seated at the picnic table and continued to eat, allowing the raindrops to fall upon us.
The shower abated quickly, so we were able to go hiking that day, albeit on more level terrain so as to avoid slipping down any embankments. We returned to the campsite shortly before dusk, and prepared dinner. Once we finished dinner, a classmate and I decided to take a walk around the nearby area. We became so engrossed in chatter that at one point, we found ourselves on a paved road, but it was completely empty. My classmate said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we just decided to lie right on the asphalt and look up at the stars?”, to which I replied, “Let’s go for it.” She and I then proceeded to lie down on the asphalt, which wasn’t too uncomfortable since we were wearing parkas, and we turned our attention to the sky.
In all my years on the planet, there have only been a handful of times during which I was able to see such a shocking display of stars, and that night was one of those times. We were absolutely blown away by the massive collection of stars in that inky black sky, and saw constellations we had only learned about in textbooks. It was mesmerizing and magical. We enjoyed the moment, which lasted a good ten minutes, until the headlights of a pickup truck startled us and made us rise from the pavement!
Entrepreneurs: The Outdoors Might Be Your Best Teacher
By Camille Johnson of Bereaver.com
There are few things more relaxing than spending time in the open air. Being outside, whether you are hiking, biking, camping, or gardening, is great for your health and can improve your mental well-being. Surprisingly, your time in nature can also teach you a lot about yourself and the world so that you can be a better entrepreneur, whether you’ve been in business for many years or are just getting started. Today, StaceyNaito.com covers a few of these lessons and offers insight on how to get the most out of your outside excursions.
Before you set out for an adventure, get your business prepared to run without you. Tips here include:
- Hire the right staff. If you’re just planning a night or two over the weekend, you can probably skip this step. However, to get the most out of your time, you’ll want to be immersed in a natural environment for at least a week. Find the right staff to keep your business running even when you are unavailable. This begins by determining what functions need to be filled and thoroughly reviewing applicants. While most experts will recommend choosing only the most qualified applicant, don’t count out those eager to learn your industry.
- Streamline your invoicing processes. Don’t leave town without making sure that you can send invoices and get paid on time. If you have not already, invest in a cloud-based invoicing tool that lets you send bills from anywhere. This is helpful if you do not yet trust your employees with sensitive information, such as customer credit card numbers. If you have recurrent invoices, look for software that will let you schedule your billing ahead of time and will also ping you when payments are made. Utilizing cloud technology also allows you to stay involved as long as you have an internet connection.
- Make sure you’re available at least some of the time. Speaking of staying involved, set aside a couple of hours each day to field questions or handle tasks that your employees cannot. For this, you want to make sure to pack your laptop (Quantum Technologies recommends traveling with a locked case), a Wi-Fi hotspot, and an additional battery backup as you may not be able to charge your phone or devices.
You’ll also need to prioritize safety, especially if you’ve never been much of an outdoorsman before. Things you can do to keep yourself and your travel party safe are:
- Let someone else know where you are going. Even if you’re planning to travel with a group, let somebody know where you are and when you are expected back.
- Pack appropriately. While you do need to pack some of your professional essentials, make sure that you have room for all of the equipment you’ll need to stay safe and healthy while you travel. If you’re camping, for example, REI suggests making sure that you have a tent, pillows, sleeping pads, and a camp table if no picnic facilities are available. Further, pay close attention to the weather and dress in layers if significant temperature spikes are expected.
- Know your destination. Even if you already know where you are going, spend some time really getting to know the area before you go. While this isn’t so important if you plan to stay close to home, when you’re traveling outside of your comfort zone, you’ll want to know everything from the location of the local police station to exit routes on your hiking excursion if you need to turn back.
What The Outdoors Can Do For You
Now that you are prepared to go, it’s time to take a look at the benefits of being outdoors. Obviously, it’s great exercise and a fun way to vacation. But, spending time in nature can also equip you to be a better business owner by teaching:
- Patience. If you’ve ever talked to a child that went to summer camp, you know that a nature-centric experience can teach patience as these kids have to learn how to wait for the bathroom or to help with younger peers. As an adult, you will learn patience by having to wait out the weather, wildlife, or slower members of your party.
- Team-building. There are plenty of outdoor team-building activities that can help you be a better boss and team player. Activities like swimming relays, target practice, and sailing are great ways to get your team to learn how to work together more effectively. Two other significant benefits of team building outdoors are learning to identify stronger potential leaders and establishing trust between your employees.
- Preparedness. Anytime you’re outdoors, you have to be prepared for everything from rain to wild animals. As such, your adventures can also teach you how to prepare for all situations and to adapt if you’re not prepared. Things, like knowing which medical supplies to pack or having an additional set of oars available if you’re kayaking, might seem like insignificant touches, but if you need them, they can be lifesavers. You can apply the same set of principles at the office by having a plan in place in case an employee leaves, a vendor is late, or a high-value customer pulls their business.
- Conservation. When you first step out into the big wide world, it’s easy to believe that the resources you see are infinite. They are not, and it is up to us to preserve the world around us for future generations. Air, soil, and water pollution, all of which are the direct result of human activity, take a toll on the natural world. As you get deeper into your adventures, you may notice things that you did not before, such as plastic bottles along the lake shore or animals looking for a home as deforestation drives them out of their natural environment. This can help you be a more responsible business owner by reminding you to preserve what you have and to be less wasteful every day.
- Your own backyard. You don’t have to travel to take in the outdoors – just look out the window of your home. Consider creating an outdoor getaway in your own backyard. Remove tired landscaping and dead trees, install a deck or patio if you don’t already have one, and make a paradise of your very own. Some projects are best left to the pros, however, so bring them on to get the job done right. For instance, removal of a tree stump is no easy task, so go online and search service directories to find local contractors. The typical cost for such work ranges from $170 to $522, a worthy investment for hiring a company with the right equipment and experience.
There are many benefits of being outside, whether you’re planting a garden, spending a month-long sabbatical hiking the Appalachian Trail, or enjoying a week-long camping vacation. But, don’t forget to pay attention to the lessons that you learn that can help you as a business owner. You also want to make sure that you plan ahead by hiring the right staff and making sure that you can continue to get paid so that you can enjoy and make the most of your time outdoors.
Image via Unsplash
Dr. Stacey Naito of StaceyNaito.com offers customized meal plans, exercise regimens, and natural hormone balance to people who don’t want to compete but just want to lose weight, gain weight, or get toned. Contact Stacey today for more info!
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