‘Lessons from nature’ to dramatically enhance your skills and career

By Rosie Tomkins, author of ‘N-stinctive’

happy woman working from home, flexible workingHow would it be if you could quickly improve your self-awareness and dramatically enhance your interpersonal skills, without having to take lengthy training programmes or read voluminous training materials?

Imagine creating lasting transformation for yourself and your team…

I believe this is possible simply by using nature’s own processes as a roadmap. We can learn how to mirror the lessons that the natural world teaches us.

To achieve this, let me share six ‘navigational tools’ that will help you to strengthen your skills and your business/career:

NAVIGATIONAL TOOL 1 – “The Prey Predator Model”

Nature is forced to adapt to unexpected changes in order to thrive. It is also harnesses maximum productivity whilst minimising energy loss. In business terms nature seeks the maximum return on investment (ROI) on its energy use versus its productivity. As leaders we can learn from this natural process.

The N-stinctive PREY PREDATOR MODELTM is a diagnostic tool and highly adaptive concept that can be tailored to any audience. I invite you to spend 5 minutes looking at the model below and ask yourself two questions:

  • Whilst trying to take into account both your professional and personal lives, if you were to select one word from each ‘branch’ of the model that most accurately depicts your current state, where do you fit right now?
  • Then, whilst looking into the near future, to achieve your immediate goals in life and business, where do you want to be?

Prey Predator modelHopefully, simply by taking a moment of introspection, you can begin to create a personal roadmap towards a more successful future. Using nature as a guide the ‘navigational tools’ below will help you move forward to that future.

NAVIGATIONAL TOOL 2 – “Stability”

Let nature anchor you. Stay steady. Trust. Accept that we don’t have all the answers, but we as a species we will endure and overcome.

Antarctic Penguins 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, that penguins survive their harsh winters by huddling together in unity and support. They endure, they survive, they thrive.

A lesson we could all learn through these hard times; the challenges don’t last forever and together we can bear the brunt of the worst of it for the benefit of all.

NAVIGATIONAL TOOL 3 – “Connection”

We are not IN nature, we ARE nature.

Nature has an incredible ability to restore the human spirit.  Nature connects us to the present moment and there are plenty of ways to re-connect with nature – even if you live or work in a high-rise in the city.   For example, bring plants into your house or office; on your walk to work notice the birds and their song; go somewhere in nature you haven’t been before; watch documentaries about the natural world; add a beautiful landscape view to your screen saver; support (perhaps with a fundraising event in the office) a nature charity; visit your local nature reserve.

NAVIGATIONAL TOOL 4 – “Courage”

Animals in the wild wake up in the morning to face far more daunting challenges than we do. Thanks to the legendary television programmes and films from David Attenborough and other wildlife experts, we see the tremendous courage of animals defending their territory, their food, their young, and their mates from what seems like a certain death.

We only need to look at nature to be inspired and to understand the hugely motivational stories of animals adapting to new circumstances and surviving despite severe famine, environmental disaster, drought, bushfire, tsunami, loss of habitat, migration and man’s destruction.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could learn from nature in this way, and have the courage to trust our natural instincts more often, instead of always seeking external validation?

NAVIGATIONAL TOOL 5 – “Creativity”

Harnessing creativity to gain an advantage over your competitors – or to add cohesion to a team – is a very powerful tool. There are hundreds of examples of this throughout the natural world. The Japanese pufferfish that creates incredible artwork in the sand to attract a mate. Or the harvest mice that sleep cuddled up inside flowers for mutual protection from predators.

We can all look to nature, and seek our inner creativity, to find imaginative solutions to our challenges at home and at work. Finding the strengths within yourself and those around you (be it art, music, dance, comedy…) can be a brilliant way to solidify your teams and colleagues into a tighter unit. There are no rules here!

NAVIGATIONAL TOOL 6 – “Confidence”

Confidence is about having belief in your own innate ability. It is not static; it evolves over time depending on your experiences.

What is extraordinary about animals is that they never doubt their personal power, not for a moment. Google search “climbing mountain goat”. These animals are able to stand on perceptibly vertical cliffs throughout wind and rainstorms with complete confidence that they won’t plummet into the ravine. This gives them a habitat free from predators that cannot hunt on the sheer slopes. Their confidence is key to their survival.

How does this relate to you? Well, use the analogy to remind yourself in future times of uncertainty that your ability to overcome challenges is not all about your physical attributes (strength, qualifications, experience) but just as much about having confidence in your own abilities to see it through.

By looking at nature you’ll appreciate the powerful tools that are on offer.   By using them you can strengthen your skills, your career and your business. Please share them with your team so that everyone can benefit.

About the author

Rosie TomkinsRosie 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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