How to use lessons from Nature and use our NQ to thrive through and beyond the current crisis
By Rosie Tomkins, author of ‘N-stinctive’,
The unexpected and unwanted shunt of nature that we are experiencing with Covid-19 is causing a sense of isolation and sadness for many of us. Right now, the energy we all feel is anxiety, uncertainty and a loss of control. Lockdown at home, even with loved ones, does not replace the energy of our business colleagues and contacts and we can feel trapped.
As business owners how do we find some uplift or precious sustenance, for the journey ahead?
My view is that we have to look to nature and utilise the power of Natural Intelligence (NQ). NQ is the positive use of your instincts, insights, and perception. It requires you to be open to the senses, picking up invaluable information, by watching, listening, spotting patterns, noticing energetic transfer, and recognising boundaries – exactly like an animal in the wild. This translates into a dynamic combination of self-awareness, multiple intelligences and highly developed interpersonal skills.
Let me share some ideas to help you understand and access the power of your natural intelligence. Use them in your business and for life in general.
In the wild animals wake up to face far more daunting challenges than we do, daily. Thanks to television programmes and films from David Attenborough and other wildlife experts, we see their tremendous courage defending their territory, their food, and their younger mates from dangers.
We only need to look at nature to be inspired by those qualities and to understand the hugely motivational stories of animals adapting and surviving despite severe famine, environmental disaster, drought, bushfire, Tsunami, and loss of habitat.
Use these stories to inspire you to face the current business crisis and thrive through it – not just survive.
Many of us will have been working night and day in our businesses and risk burnout. Animals in the wild don’t to do this. Animals are experts at expanding or conserving energy as needed. Healthy animals rest more than they hunt; they know how to moderate their outputs and ensure something is left in the tank, should it be needed.
For example, a cheetah, after an unsuccessful hunt, does not leave herself open to attack by depleting all her reserves, she makes sure there is enough fuel to get herself to a safe place where she can recover. She has mastered the art of multilevel recovery; sprint-break-sprint -break.
Take inspiration from the cheetah and work hard for a period, then give yourself a rest – a proper rest. When you work, put your focus into doing the work and being productive, and then stop. When you rest, focus on resting. Don’t trying to work all the time – your productivity will drop, and your chance of burning out will dramatically increase.
It is not the time to fight reality
Perhaps, the most important thing we need in our businesses right now is courage. If you feel you need more courage, then make that your focus. It is relatively easy to lead when times are good and business is buoyant. However, it takes a certain kind of leader to deal with crisis and turbulent times. Those people who are dealing with life and death situations on a daily basis at the moment, have to dig very deep in order to stay focused; this takes tremendous courage. What examples of courage in nature can give us inspiration?
You might identify with the following:
The Ant: There are 10,000+ different species of ant. Among those species their strengths vary considerably. Most ants can carry more than three times their own weight and can survive in water for weeks, if necessary, by forming a living raft.
The Penguin: In 2005 a documentary film ‘March of the Penguins’ highlighted the toughness and resilience of the Emperor Penguin as they journey across frozen tundra in sub-zero temperatures to reach their traditional breeding grounds. Once the female has laid her egg she must delicately transfer it to the male and then make her way back to the distant sea to bring back food to her chick. Imagine the courage required to do this!
The Hummingbird: Hummingbirds build a nest in the same trees where hawks are nesting, confident that they can evade capture by their flying prowess. They know lesser predators will not risk coming close to nesting Hawks. A dangerous, but courageous, strategy.
What is extraordinary about animals is that they never doubt their personal power, not for a moment. Not simply because they have sharp claws and powerful jaws. Look into their eyes and see what comes back at you – and be prepared to be blown away.
You will be stressed, possibly in ways you may not realise, and a stress animal is an unpredictable animal, it doesn’t always help itself. For example, have you ever seen a stressed sheep running into a wire fence? For whatever reason, some prey animals can get stuck in fences around farmland, maybe because they have been frightened by a fox, or perhaps have reached too far for that delicious mouthful. Without wire cutters it can be a difficult job to release them. Even though the wire may be cutting deep, the distressed animal struggles with its rescuers. Logic, patience, calmness, all disappear at this time and what should be a relatively easy release becomes a battle of wills serving nobody.
Never forget we are animals. We can end up entangled in the metaphorical barbwire, and we can panic so much we simply can’t extract ourselves, even if we’re offered a helping hand. So, take a breath, learn to manage yourself, stop and think, pause, take another breath and stay balanced.
Nature is the expert in managing energy. For most animals being aware of energy is the difference between life and death. What can we learn from nature? What anchor can this give us?
Biologically we are great big balls of vibrating energy and it is important to understand how to increase, preserve, nurture and protect this valuable asset – especially at this time. We need to be aware of our own personal energy and how this impacts the world around us. By understanding how to manage your energy you can impact your life in many ways.
The best way to become more aware of this is to observe nature; it is just as important to know how to stop as it is to know how to go. While we acknowledge how powerful the use of high energy can be, we must also recognise there are times when it is vital to use slow energy – to stop, reflect and regenerate our minds and bodies. We live in an always-on society, with the constant noise of information in our work and private lives. Covid19 gives us a chance to stop, contemplate and engage with our energy in a different way.
What is your natural energetic state? Are you a fast person, always moving, never stopping? Or are you slower, finding it difficult to do anything at speed? Recognise which you are, and then consider how you can shift your energy along the spectrum just a little. Imagine the animal that will inspire you to make the move in the right direction.
Looking to nature will help us find the inspiration required to manage and lead our businesses in difficult times and help us to tackle the challenges that keep coming. The lessons nature teaches us, and our Natural Intelligence (NQ) are, and will continue to be, invaluable.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rosie Tomkins is founder of the Natural Capital Consultancy and author of ‘N-stinctive’, an inspirational book that introduces better ways to lead and deliver a competitive edge in today’s fast-moving, increasingly disconnected and uncertain world.
As an alternative to traditional leadership training, Rosie unlocks the power of the natural world to provide strength and confidence to people who are shouldering huge responsibility.
Rosie is passionate about taking leaders and individuals out of their comfort zone and challenges their deeply held beliefs in a way that makes them stronger, more confident to initiate new ways and ideas.
Her clients include the GB Olympic hockey and England rugby teams, the NHS and multi-national companies in the airline, engineering and pharmaceutical industries.
Website – www.n-stinctive.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/n_stinctive
Facebook – www.facebook.com/nstinctiveintelligence/