Special places – Part 1

The Fresh Air Learning Company creates game-changing leadership journeys for individuals, teams and organisations. We dare them to dream, to lead, to do. Bold, challenging, and sometimes uncomfortable!

Place and social setting have a powerful impact on how people behave and learn. Add expert facilitation and the outcomes can be dramatic.

Here are seven great reasons to work outdoors: clients’ experience, changes in biochemistry, burnout recovery, boundary removal, inspiring metaphors, story creation, and cost effectiveness.

This blog looks at the first three.

1.   Experience…
Very few executives have told us they do their best thinking in their office!

“Looking back it was such an obvious thing to do – to get out into some remote and beautiful countryside, and simply walk and talk.”

2.   Biochemistry…
Our body biochemistry changes as we move through natural landscapes. Blood pressure drops, mood lightens and self-esteem rises. We become more open to fresh ideas.

“It wasn’t long before our initial reticence and anxiety dissipated and a surprising spirit of engaged curiosity and sense of well-being crept upon us!”

3.   Burn out recovery…
We have two systems of attention. One, “directed attention” is used to solve problems. This focused faculty appears to have limited capacity, and without rest can lead to “burn out”.

The second, “involuntary attention”, is used to maintain awareness of our environment and does not seem to deplete. Stimuli-rich natural environments can strongly engage this latter form of attention, so creating an opportunity for our directed attention to rest and recover.

“I arrived tired and rattled, a difficult week with lots of unresolved issues still weighing on my mind. I left refreshed with clear, doable priorities. But more than that I left with a new way of thinking, a richer sense of awareness and curiosity, and with new learning about vitality and sustainability in the context of my leadership style.”

More next time…

Dave Stewart
The Fresh Air Learning Company