Berger Leadership Blog

Feb 28, 2014

Taking lessons from the outdoors to the office

Fly-fishing for tarpon
Fly fishing for tarpon.

I thrive in the outdoors and enjoy the adventures it offers my family and me. One of my favorite hobbies is fly fishing. It provides me with the chance to unwind and disconnect from all distractions.

There is always something to be learned from the great outdoors: survival and navigation skills, patience, how to maximize the resources available to you and, of course, the ability to cope with the unpredictable, sometimes challenging, environment around you.

The best part about all this? Many of these lessons can be directly applied to one’s business. Your business plan – no matter how carefully crafted – is not immune to the unpredictable, challenging landscape in which it operates.

National Geographic’s Adventure Blog highlights five key lessons – or an “MBA from nature” – that you can apply to your business:

Practice, fail, learn: You learn more from failure than success.

  1. Disconnect to connect: Get rid of distractions.
  2. Lead from everywhere: Not just from “on top” or as “the boss.”
  3. They are not your minions: Your employees are your team.
  4. Stuff happens: Develop “tolerance for adversity and uncertainty.”
Hiking in WV
Hiking in West Virginia.

Your work environment can sometimes feel like an overgrown forest, challenging your ability to chart a path forward. Maybe your path looks clear until that rushing river of unforeseen results – it could be a new competitor or a loss of a key income stream – stands between you and success. Learning to survive tumultuous times, wherever and whenever they hit, will make you a better leader. And another benefit of playing in the outdoors: rejuvenation and balance, something that we all need. So go and get outside!