Nature can guide us out of lockdown and into a new future, so says Natural Capital Consultancy’s Rosie Tomkins, author or N-stinctive

 

People across the globe have benefited from amazing technological advances in countless ways, but as we move towards an easing of the global COVID-19 lockdown restrictions there are questions to answer. “Is our modern way of operating what we really want?” and “Will it have a long-term positive affect on our way of living?”

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. These experts tell us what to eat, how to decorate our homes and how to bring up our children – the list goes on. We have leadership models, take courses on how to manage people, 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”. Maybe it is time to allow nature to guide us down the right path?

Nature can reconnect us to ourselves, the comfort of birdsong, a view of the vast sky and its changing canvas, or the wind on our cheek – each can bring an element of peace. The main powerful ingredient is that it takes us into the present moment. It makes us savour the here and now instead of always striving for the goals of tomorrow. By looking to nature, we can learn new ways of being and thinking. New ways to develop our business and lead our teams; ways that may serve us better in the future and will help us enjoy the present.

Here are The Five Cs – the life and business navigational tools we can learn from nature:

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.

Learning from nature: 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.

Learning from nature: 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.

Learning from nature: Seek to embrace 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?

Learning from nature: 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, even between species that would naturally be at odds with one another, 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. A truly natural form of oral hygiene!

Learning from nature: 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.

If we take nature as our inspiration, use it as our compass we can find a new and different way forward for our own lives and our business. As leaders we can forge an improved future that will serve us better. This won’t be entirely straightforward, but ultimately if (like the tortoise) we stay the course, if (like the penguins and the plovers) we help others and have courage (like the baby chicks) then we will gain strength. Our lives and businesses will align much more closely with what we desire for ourselves and our loved ones.