One of America’s most celebrated summer pastimes is going out into the wild, turning back the pages of time, and roughing it like our adventure-seeking pioneer ancestors. Camping is a fun event for the whole family, as well as a serene getaway for the brave individual. Though many enjoy being one with nature, most of us spend the majority of our time in the comfort of a cool 72-degree office. Still, we can apply the survival techniques we implement outdoors to the sometimes-more-grueling indoors.
Create an Inventory
Every good camper knows before you go out to your favorite campsite, it is important to inventory your supplies so you can be completely prepared to face anything. I don’t know how many times I’ve made it to the middle of nowhere without having an essential item like matches or flint. In the office, it is important to make a list of your most valuable assets, personal strengths, hang-ups, and downfalls. The more real you are with yourself about where your company is, the more equipped you’ll be in handling issues as they arise.
Map Out a Plan
Whether you’re going out into the vast terrain of the Montana Rockies or you’re camping on your family’s land, it is important to plan out where you expect to go and how to get there. No one wants to realize after five hours on the road that they’re lost and have missed their turn. In business, you have destinations to get to and milestones to reach. You can be a better leader when you know where you want and need to go. Plan out the next few weeks or months for your team. Make goals of where you want to be and write down what it will take to get there.
Prepare Your Site
One of the worst things you can do in the wilderness is set up a tent in the dark. It’s important to arrive early and set up camp right when you get to your destination. Laying everything out that you will need, setting up the tent, and retrieving firewood are imperative to a successful camping experience. In the workplace, a great leader makes sure the office is set up for success, aesthetically as well as relationally. Making sure everyone has a particular responsibility in keeping the office in working order gives employees a sense of purpose and helps when inevitable problems arise. Also, everyone has their job to do, and a team’s operation works best when everyone is prepared.
Sometimes it rains, and sometimes it pours. When camping on a Texas beach, I got caught in the middle of a tropical storm. Though I was prepared for inclement weather, nothing could have prepared me for tent-flattening winds and debilitating rain. When leading a team, things can go terribly wrong and unimaginable problems can arise, just look at the economic issues from a few years ago. Whether a top employee quits or a recession hits your bottom line, your employees will be looking to you to effectively navigate the rough waters. Keep your composure, think on your feet, and remember to improvise. Sometimes when it rains during your beach camp, you have to retreat to your car.
Some of our favorite pastimes are grueling and push us to think and act outside of our comfort zones. But once we realize the connection between our office life and off-work activities, we can finally harness the skills learned in the great outdoors to finally conquer the seemingly arduous great indoors.